People have been drinking lemon water for ages. The combination of lemon and water has been known for its health benefits since ancient times. Many people prefer to drink lemon water first thing in the morning. For others, it is the perfect drink to refresh them after some vigorous exercise or sports. Though there is not much scientific research to justify the numerous health benefits of lemon water, there has been some research on the health benefits of lemons and water separately.
Read on to know more about this popular health drink and health benefits of lemon water.
What is lemon water?
The juice of lemons mixed with water is known as lemon water. The amount of juice added to water differs according to personal taste. While some prefer to have this drink with warm water, others find it more refreshing as a cold drink. Lemon rind, ginger, cinnamon and mint leaves are some of the other additions that make this drink interesting.
Health Benefits of lemon water
Lemons have many nutritional benefits. They are rich in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and copper. You will be surprised to know the numerous benefits of lemon water.
1. Aids in digestion
Many people drink warm lemon water early in the morning to aid the digestive process. Lemon juice is similar to the gastric juices of the stomach. This helps to kick-start the digestive process and helps the food to move in the digestive tract.
Lemon water also aids the body in absorbing the nutrients from the food. It also helps the liver in flushing out the toxin from the body.
Lemons are rich in a fibre called pectin, which is prebiotic that improves gut health (1).
2. Helps to stay hydrated
Experts recommend that women should have at least 2.7 litres (91 ounces) and men should have approximately 3.7 litres (125 ounces) of water per day from all food sources (2). While this includes all form of drinks and food intake, water is the most accessible form of hydration.
- Suggested read: How Much Water Should I Drink a Day?
For those who do not like the taste of plain water, drinking lemon water is the easiest and highly nutritious way to stay hydrated.
3. Good source of vitamin C
Freshly squeezed lemon juice contains a healthy dose of vitamin C. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of raw lemon juice contains 38.7 mg of vitamin C (3).
Lemon water helps boost your vitamin C intake. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and it protects our cells from damage by free radicals. Vitamin C helps to boost our immune system and keeps coughs and colds away. It also helps to reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease and helps in lowering blood pressure.
4. Keeps your skin healthy
Lemon juice contains antioxidants that help to keep the skin looking healthy and young. The vitamin C found in lemon water reduces the skin wrinkles and blemishes. Vitamin C helps our body to produce collagen, which is essential for smoothing out lines from the face. The water in the lemon water keeps us hydrated, so this prevents the skin from drying out and being more prone to wrinkles.
According to the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, people who consume more vitamin C have healthier skin, with fewer wrinkles and dryness (4).
Benefits of lemon water are not unknown from people who are looking for ways to shed a few pounds of their weight. Lemons contain pectin, a fibre that helps you feel fuller for longer. Also, we often confuse thirst with hunger and can end up munching on snacks. Lemon water helps us stay hydrated and thus prevents unhealthy snacking.
6. Freshens your breath
Your mouth can get dry in you eat spicy food, drink alcohol or smoke. Lemon water stimulates saliva and helps prevent dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath caused by bacteria growth. Drinking lemon water creates an acidic environment in the mouth that makes it harder for bacteria to survive.
7. Prevents kidney stones
Doctors usually prescribe potassium citrate for people prone to kidney stones. Lemon juice is full of natural citrate. Drinking sugar-free lemon water increases citrate in the urine and prevents kidney stones.
According to doctors, citrate in the urine prevents calcium from binding to other constituents and causing kidney stones. According to UW Health, you must increase your citric acid intake to reduce your risk of kidney stones (6).
8. Helps to reduce stress
Dehydration can lead to stress and fatigue. When we feel stressed, our adrenal glands release a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol can lead to weight gain, sleep deprivation and high blood pressure.
The vitamin C present in lemon helps to reduce the effects of cortisol in the body. The water in lemon water helps to keep you hydrated and hence you are energetic through the day.
9. Helps to improve liver function
Studies have found that the flavonoids in lemon juice can protect the liver against toxins and also help reduce the fat in the liver and hence prevent fatty liver disease. In other words, lemon water helps liver do its job of being the body’s filter.
10. Good source of potassium
Lemons are an excellent source of potassium (7). Deficiency in potassium can lead to muscle weakness, cramping and fatigue. So, having lemon water is a convenient way to reduce cramping.
Potassium is an electrolyte which helps conduct electricity through the body. So, lemon water also helps in healthy skeletal muscle function.
11. Might cure a hangover
One of the most common benefits of lemon water is in curing hangover state. Lemon contains citric acid, which can help in changing your body’s acidic condition to alkaline condition. Overall, lemon juice changes your body pH level and thus can help you with hangover symptoms like headaches, etc.
Also, alcohol dehydrates you and drinks like lemon juice can help in making up for the fluids loss inside your body.
Side effects of lemon water
Although, there are numerous health benefits of lemon water, still, it can have a few side effects as well.
Can erode tooth enamel
Tooth enamel can get eroded by acidic substances. Lemon juice also contains fruit sugars, so these can break down and cause further damage to the teeth.
Can cause heartburn
The acidic lemon juice can irritate the lining of your stomach and cause heartburn or acid reflux.
Can cause frequent urination
Lemon water can increase urine production due to its vitamin content, and this can lead to dehydration. So, increase your water intake to stay hydrated.
Can cause migraines
Citrus fruits like lemons can trigger migraines in some people. These fruits contain tyramine, a protein product, which is known to trigger migraines.
How to make lemon water
To enjoy all the health benefits of lemon water, always use the fresh lemon juice and not the artificial variety that comes in a bottle. Squeeze half a lemon into eight ounces of water (boiling, warm or cold). Mix well and drink it up.
You can add two or three sprigs of mint, ginger and cinnamon for that added flavour. To add some sweetness, you can add a teaspoon of maple syrup or raw honey.
To make this process faster, freeze lemon juice and put a few cubes in a glass of water whenever you want to drink lemon water.
Final words on benefits of lemon water
Whether you drink this health drink in the morning or throughout the day, lemon water can significantly benefit your health. It helps in weight loss, boosts your immune system and can prevent kidney stones. So, start drinking this refreshing drink regularly and enjoy numerous health benefits of lemon water.