Lemon water is pretty popular. It’s offered as a free upgrade to regular water at pretty much all restaurants. Some people drink it simply because they prefer the taste, but some are devotees of the purported health benefits. In truth, not a lot of studies have been done on lemon water specifically, but we do understand quite a bit about lemon and water separately. Both are very good for you.
And, there is a ton of anecdotal evidence from people who swear by lemon water for a variety of health boosts. Taken daily, you should be able to tell if it helps you within about 7 days. Here’s what may happen if you take up the lemon water habit.
1. Easier weight loss
Studies in mice indicate that the polyphenol antioxidants in lemons can reduce weight gain despite a high-fat diet. Insulin resistance was also improved in these mice. More studies are needed to determine if the results can be duplicated in humans, but anecdotal evidence is favorable.
People who drink lemon water regularly report easier weight loss, though it is unclear if the combination of lemon and water is the fundamental driver. It could be that drinking more water helps dieters to feel full and avoid overeating.
2. Better hydration
Proper hydration is key to good health. In general, you should take in between 91 and 125 ounces of water per day. Some of this can come from food, but the rest needs to be deliberately drunk. Water isn’t very exciting to drink on its own, and some people actively dislike the taste of plain water.
Adding lemon to water is thought to enhance the flavor enough to encourage people to drink more, and be better hydrated as a result.
3. Get enough vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that has a ton of health benefits. It can only be gotten from food as our bodies don’t synthesize it alone. Getting your RDA of vitamin C can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Vitamin C is good for your skin and bonds with free radicals that accelerate aging.
Vitamin C may even shorten the duration of the common cold, but studies on this are conflicting. It sure can’t hurt. Lemons aren’t the highest in vitamin C, but they’re a great source nonetheless. Adding it to your water regularly can only help you reach the recommended daily amount of 60 mg per day.
4. Younger looking skin
Hydrated skin is happy skin, so drinking more water is already a great start to achieve that dewy look from the inside out. Not only does hydrated skin stay tighter and smoother, it also has the opportunity to expel toxins via sweat.
he vitamin C in lemons further helps to reduce wrinkling that makes you look older, as well as support the production of collagen and elastin. Lemon water can be a powerful tool to preserve a youthful appearance.
5. Faster metabolism
Some people swear by warm lemon water first thing in the morning to get the digestive system going. In fact there is no real evidence that adding lemon to water makes a big difference, but water in general on an empty stomach can help to get your metabolism going after a period of rest.
It stands to reason that after going eight hours without a drink, it’s important to get rehydrated right away. Getting enough water is also crucial to staving off constipation. So if adding lemon makes you more likely to drink water as soon as you get up, go for it.
6. Fresher breath
There is a reason that lemon is a common scent in all manner of cleaning products. It helps to neutralize odors. The same principle applies when you need to abolish bad breath from lingering foods like onions, garlic, blue cheese, or fish.
Lemon also stimulates saliva production. That’s important because a dry mouth smells worse due to excess bacterial growth. Think about your morning breath and you’ll know what we mean.
7. No kidney stones
Kidney stones are basically calcium deposits, and experts recommend getting more citric acid to reduce the risk of developing them. As a citrus fruit, lemon is a great source of citric acid. More water is also important to keeping your kidneys healthy, so the combo here is a good bet for people who are prone to stones.
Drinking just ½ cup of lemon juice over the course of a day will net you the same amount of citric acid as in prescription medications for people with kidney stones.
8. Stabilized moods
Studies have found that smelling lemon scent reduces stress hormones that regulate mood. Lemon oil is commonly used in aromatherapy products for that reason. Drinking lemon offers this benefit as well as the vitamins and potassium in the fruit.
Potassium plays a huge part in regulating blood pressure, and high blood pressure is related to stress, so not getting enough potassium can certainly affect your mood. All in all, lemon water can be a soothing beverage.
9. Balanced pH
It is healthier to have an alkaline environment inside our bodies because diseases like cancer prefer an acidic one. It sounds counterintuitive because lemons are so acidic, but eating them can actually help achieve the right alkaline-leaning pH balance in our digestive systems. The reason is that citric acid, once metabolized, produces alkalizing byproducts.
Note that eating alkaline foods does not necessarily affect the pH balance in our blood, but mostly in our urine. The kidneys do the work to manage pH in the bloodstream. Still, bladder health is important! Ask anyone who’s ever had a urinary tract infection, or even worse, bladder cancer.
In the end, drinking water is never a bad call, and there is absolutely no reason not to add lemon to it (unless you’re allergic). Drinking lemon water provides some helpful nutrients and antioxidants along with crucial hydration. And just because the evidence for the health benefits is largely anecdotal, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. It just means that the issue hasn’t been officially studied enough.
Drinking lemon water, especially in the morning, has been an Ayurvedic practice for thousands of years. Ayurveda is a sort of natural health care, largely practiced in India, focused on balancing energies to avoid illness. Whether or not the idea of holistic medicine appeals to you, rest assured that though drinking lemon water is kind of a trend right now, it is anything but a flash in the pan. Give it a try! There is nothing to lose.