People all over the world, from your grandma to Jennifer Aniston, swear on the health benefits of lemon water. There are even diets based entirely on lemons! But does lemon water truly have these powerful health and weight loss benefits everyone seems to claim it does?
First off, what IS lemon water? Lemon water is just lemon juice mixed with water, plain and simple. The amount of lemon used depends on personal preference, as well as if you like it hot or cold. Other people add mint, ginger, honey, and other ingredients to strengthen the flavor.
It’s most popular as a morning beverage, usually made as a replacement for coffee. Some of the benefits of drinking lemon water in the morning include improving your mood, energy levels, immune system, and metabolic health.
If you’re interested in testing these claims or if you just want to replace your caffeine intake with something a little healthier, here are several ways your body can benefit from lemon water:
“Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day” is a common adage that’s rarely followed. Surprisingly, not a lot of people consume the recommended daily intake of water required for proper hydration.
While water is a refreshing thirst-quencher, it’s definitely not as satisfying to consume as say, an ice-cold Coke or a sweet iced tea. Adding lemon to your water enhances the water’s flavor, which may help you drink more instead of reaching for a sugary drink or soda.
Vitamin C is a primary antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radicals. Citrus fruits like lemons are high in C nutrients, and are a great source for getting your daily fiber intake. Though lemons don’t exactly top the list of fruits with the highest amount of vitamin C in them, they’re still preferable as lemons have a low amount of sugar in them.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the juice of one lemon provides about 18.6 milligrams of vitamin C. The recommended daily amount for adults is 65 to 90 milligrams. So a glass of lemon water already gives you a third of your recommended daily amount!
Vitamin C also has a host of other benefits, like lowering your blood pressure, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and preventing or limiting the duration of a cold.
Evidence suggests that drinking water, especially lemon water, can help you maintain a healthy weight. Drinking more water alone increases metabolism, helps your body to burn fat and carbohydrates, and reduces your food appetite. But adding lemon to your water could benefit your weight loss significantly more.
A study found that polyphenol antioxidants found in lemons significantly reduced weight gain in mice that were overfed in order to induce obesity. While the same results have yet to be proven in humans, anecdotal evidence is strong that lemon water aids with weight loss.
In Japan, it is customary to drink 2-3 glasses of water first thing in the morning, as it provides higher energy levels and improved digestion throughout the day. This is true in other parts of the world, as some people drink lemon water as a daily morning laxative to help prevent constipation.
Plus, when you’re sleeping, you’re not hydrating for 7-8 hours. Drinking warm or hot lemon water first thing in the morning not only helps flush your digestive system, but re-hydrates your body to get you energized and ready for the day.
One of the benefits of drinking lemon water is getting clearer, healthier skin. Lemon water improves digestion and flushes waste out of the body, leaving skin free to absorb essential nutrients and minerals left behind. Lemon water also contains a good amount of vitamin C, which boosts collagen production, reducing wrinkles and signs of aging. Hydration is also a key factor for healing sun-damaged skin and keeping it from premature aging due to dehydration.
If you feel like your skin needs a little pick-me-up, just reach for a glass of water!
Have you ever rubbed a lemon on your hands to get rid of the smell of garlic or some other strong odor? The same folk remedy applies to bad breath caused by eating food with strong smells—things such as garlic, onions, or fish.
You might avoid bad breath by drinking a glass of lemon water after meals and first thing in the morning. Lemon is thought to stimulate saliva, while water helps prevent a dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath caused by bacteria.
The citric acid in lemons can help prevent the formation of kidney stones, which are solid mineral formations that collect in the kidneys. Kidney stones are often painful and hard to pass through your system, with the most common type of kidney stone made of a substance called calcium oxalate. These kinds of stones are typically treated with a compound called citrate.
Citrate, a component of citric acid, paradoxically makes urine less acidic. Increasing the amount of citrate in your urine helps to prevent calcium from binding with other compounds. In short, citrate restores the urine's ability to prevent kidney stone formation.
Lemon water contains high amounts of citrate, and numerous human studies have found it can successfully help treat kidney stones. Lemon water also helps you hydrate enough to prevent or flush out stones without much pain. Though a compound called potassium citrate is usually the prescribed solution for kidney stones, lemon water has shown to be a good alternative for those who don't tolerate potassium citrate as a first-line treatment.
Aside from vitamin C and citrate, lemon water contains other beneficial substances, such as plant compounds called flavonoids. Flavonoids have antioxidant properties that help protect your cells from damage. Not just that, but flavonoids from citrus fruits are linked to benefits for blood circulation, insulin sensitivity, and other aspects of metabolic health.
During sleep, your organs are extremely active, as your body begins to restore and regenerate while you’re sleeping. Drinking enough water, especially first thing in the morning and before bed at night, helps make sure that, once your body enters sleep mode, your internal organs can perform their processes effectively.
Some studies have shown that lemon water can help stimulate proper stomach acid production and bile production, which is beneficial to your liver and lymph system. To maximize the benefits of lemon water on your organs, make it a habit to drink 1-2 glasses of lemon water at night before going to bed.
Caffeine addiction is common among adults, and usually goes unnoticed for years. A dependency on caffeine has a host of negative side effects, such as migraines, irritability, poor bowel movements, and fatigue when not enough caffeine has been consumed. While a cup of coffee in the morning is nothing harmful, needing more than 2 cups a day can be bad for your health.
If you find yourself caffeine-dependent, many people swear that hot lemon water helps curb caffeine cravings, especially in the morning. The warm water and vitamin C boost help energize you, and provide a healthier, low-calorie alternative to coffee, which is usually accompanied with tons of cream and sugar.
Lemon water is a fantastic, flavorful alternative to regular water. Research has shown that lemon juice has a ton of health benefits. Plus, being properly hydrated is critical for good health, and adding lemon to your water helps you drink more of it throughout the day, making for a win-win situation all around.
While lemon water is certainly no miracle cure, it’s a much better alternative to caffeinated drinks and sodas, and provides a healthy amount of vitamin C to your diet. If you want to make some small changes towards a better lifestyle, then drinking lemon water may just be the best place to start.
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