Want to do something good for your health just by drinking an inexpensive drink that gives you radiant skin, keeps your digestive track running smoothly, and may help you loose weight? It sounds too good to be true or like a gimmicky weight loss shake, right? Well think again. You can reap all these benefits and more just by drinking lemon water.
This drink has been popular with health nuts for millennia, but it’s made a resurgence recently in the health and fitness scene. But does lemon water really pack all the health benefits people say it does or is it just another health fad? Let’s take a look.
IN SUMMARY, here’s what you’ll discover (Click any of the links below to jump to each section):
- Lemon Water Nutrition Facts
- The Science Supporting Lemon Water
- Interesting Facts about Lemon Water
- Lemon Water Benefits
- How to Make Lemon Water
- Lemon Water Tips and Tricks
- Buying the Perfect Lemons
- Other Lemon Water Recipes
- Who Shouldn’t Drink Lemon Water?
- Lemon Water Conclusions
Many doctors and nutritionists tout the benefits of lemon water and lemon juice. What do they know that the rest of us don’t?
Well not only does it pack a wallop of vitamin C in each serving, but this citrus fruit packs tons of nutritional punch. It helps flush the body out with its shot of fiber and the antioxidants help neutralize damaging free radicals in the body.
The nutrition info for 1 cup or 244 grams of fresh squeezed lemon juice is as follows according to Self Nutrition Data:
- 61 calories
- 3 grams protein
- 6 grams sugar
- 0 grams fat
- 112 mg vitamin C (187% daily value)
- 303 mg potassium (9% daily value)
- 31.7 g folate (8% daily value)
- 1 gram fiber (4% daily value)
- 14.6 milligrams magnesium (4% daily value)
- 0.1 mg Thaimin (5% daily value)
- 0.4 milligrams vitamin E (2% daily value)
- 0.1 gram vitamin B6 (6% daily value)
- 31.7 mcg Folate (8% daily value)
- 17.1 mg calcium (2% daily value)
- 14.6 mg magnesium (4% daily value)
- 303 mg potassium (9% daily value)
So you can see this very low sugar fruit has tons of nutritional benefits with tons of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for very low calorie cost.
Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C. Numerous studies have shown the excellent health benefits that vitamin C has to offer including: protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and skin wrinkling.
One study, comparing the combined work from over ten years time, added additional benefits that include: cancer prevention, eye health, and immunity to help you live longer. The study also cites that having copious amounts of Vitamin C in your blood counts is a good predictor of your overall health. (1)
What’s more, the same study indicated that the daily recommended value is probably not enough. Increasing your intake of Vitamin C rich foods, such as lemon water, is a great first step to getting all the health benefits from this powerful vitamin. (2)
The Cleveland Clinic also points out one benefit of drinking lemon water is hydration. Lemon water naturally makes you want to drink more, which only helps in staying hydrated throughout the day.
Some benefits of hydration include:
- Overall Health – proper hydration helps your skin, your hair, and general health.
- Firm Your Skin – well hydrated skin has reduced wrinkles and fine lines compared to dehydrated skin.
- Add Radiance – Skin that is well hydrated from the inside out is more radiant.
- Reduce Cellulite – Similar to reducing fine lines and wrinkles, skin hydrated from the inside out is less likely to display cellulite. (3)
Interesting Facts about Lemon Water
The history of lemons and lemon water dates back several centuries. Interestingly enough, lemons were used primarily for decoration purposes up until the 10th century. Somewhere between the 10th and 11th century, Crusaders started to bring the lemon plant back to Europe where it eventually made the trans-Atlantic crossing to America in the latter half of the 1400s. Sailors coveted lemons, and other Vitamin-C rich foods, because of their ability to prevent scurvy on long voyages. Today, the top lemon producers of the world include: Spain, Italy, Greece, the United States, and Turkey.
And though lemon water is a great way to use lemons, some other popular applications of lemons include:
Natural Deodorizer and Cleanser: The deodorizing effects of lemons can be used in multiple ways around the house, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom. Adding a cup of lemon juice to a bucket of water makes a great home-made cleaner deodorizer that not only makes things smell good but also helps disinfect. For another deodorizing method, you can put lemon peels, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a pot of simmer water to spread a delightful scent throughout the house.
Lemon Essential Oil: There are a number of great ways to use lemon essential oil. For example, you can add some to coconut oil and baking soda to create a home-made, natural teeth whitener. It can also be used to help soothe a sore throat when added to tea. Finally, lemon oil can help you get rid of tarnish on silver before your company gets there.
- Boosts energy. Trade your daily cup of coffee for an energizing shot of lemon water. Lemons are a naturally energizing food because of their negatively charged ions.
- Soothes sore throats. Lemon water can relieve sore throats. The lemon breaks up irritating mucus. Combining it with honey and hot water adds an extra soothing quality to remedy even the worst sore throat.
- Relieves coughs. Cough drop manufacturers are onto something when they manufacture honey lemon cough drops. Lemon is a natural cough suppressant. Half a lemon added to hot water with honey soothes coughs.
- Breaks up mucus. Lemon water’s strong shot of citric acid dissolves mucus and phlegm. Antioxidants and a strong shot of vitamin C helps kill the virus causing the mucus in the first place. To reap the benefits, add a good squeeze of lemon to hot water and honey.
- Fights colds and flus. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking vitamin C prior to a cold can help shorten the duration of the cold symptoms. Drinking lemon water daily gives you that boost of vitamin C that will help speed up a cold. Studies show consuming vitamin C decreases the severity of cold and flu symptoms and fights the viruses that cause these ailments.
- Boosts the immune system. Research proves that vitamin C gives the immune system a beneficial boost. A vitamin C deficiency causes you to be increasingly susceptible to virus and infections.
- Reduces infections. High doses of vitamin C used to be given regularly to treat infections according to the Riordan Clinic. Lemon not only has tons of vitamin C but natural antimicrobial properties that make it a powerhouse for reducing infections.
- Promotes wound healing. While adding lemon to a wound sounds painful, drinking lemon water can help promote wound healing. Research presented in the International Journal of Science and Research shows that lemon juice does speed up wound healing due to its antibacterial properties.
- Replenishes electrolytes. Post workout, don’t reach for a lemon sports drink full of artificial sugars to replenish your electrolytes. Instead, choose lemon water to restore electrolytes. With lemon’s abundance of vitamins and minerals, it is easy and cost effective to make your own post workout drink. Add the juice of a lemon to a cup of cold water with a shot of sea salt and honey.
- Alkalizes the body. According to Web MD, foods that alkalize the body may benefit you in many ways. Having a slightly alkalized body may help prevent kidney stones and keep your bones and muscles in top shape.
- Eases asthma. Many of the vitamins and minerals in lemon including vitamin C, magnesium, choline can help reduce the severity of asthma symptoms. (4)
- Regulates blood sugar. According to Harvard Health, lemons can slow the conversion of starch to sugar. The slower this conversion happens, the less dramatically blood sugar levels rise, which is a boon for diabetics and for anyone looking to stabilize sugar levels to avoid sugar highs or weight gain.
- Feeds the brain. Lemons have tons of potassium, which is great for the brain.
- Balances pH. If the body becomes too acidic, it can’t operate as well. For example the intestines can’t properly digest food in an overly acid environment.
- Naturally detoxes the body. The citric acid in lemons along with the fiber helps to break up bacteria that accumulates in the body. Drinking the extra water flushes these broken up toxins out of your system
- Fights cancer. While lemons are not a cancer cure all, there is truth that lemons contain lots of cancer fighting properties. Lemon’s beneficial properties are showing promise in some cancer studies. (5)
- Neutralizes free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to the body. Vitamin C and Vitamin E, both contained in lemon juice, both help reduce and reverse any damage caused by free radicals.
- Supports heart health. Lemon water’s potassium helps support heart health. The potassium strengthens the heart muscle, along with all the other muscles in the body, and helps it keep blood flowing freely. (6)
- Decreases high blood pressure. Vitamin C may help relax blood vessels. When blood vessels are more relaxed, blood pressure naturally decreases. Studies show a 5 millimeter reduction in pressure in patients with essential hypertension who consumed 500 percent of the daily requirement of Vitamin C.
- Hydrates the lymphatic system. The lymph system is twice as large as the arterial system that houses the veins and arteries. This behemoth system flushes waste products out of our system. Keeping it hydrated with alkalizing lemon water makes it run smoothly and efficiently.
- Promotes regularity. This combo helps keeps your digestive track running smoothly and your bowels regular. Water alone softens stool and lubricates the gi tract but the citric acid and fiber in the lemons helps move undigested waste from the colon. In fact hot lemon water is recommended by medical professionals to help cure constipation naturally. (7)
- Improves eye health in diabetics. Many diabetics deal with deteriorating vision as a result of a build up of sugars in the blood vessels in the eyes. Studies have found that the flavonoids in lemons helps prevent blindness and cataracts in diabetics.
- Prevents kidney stones. According to Web MD, the citrate present in lemon help inhibit oxalate crystals from forming. These crystals create one of the most common kidney stones. Drinking lemon water increases the amount of citrate in the urine, which prevents the stones from forming.
- Reduces uric acid levels. The potassium and citrate in lemons prevents uric acid from building up in the body. Too much uric acid in your body can cause swelling, gout attacks, infections, and kidney and bladder stones. Because lemon water acts as a diuretic, it flushes out this unwanted fluid. In fact, many gout sufferers drink lemon water prior to eating to prevent the uncomfortable attacks. (8)
- Prevents and treats urinary tract infections. Drinking lots of water helps prevent UTIs and may help to treat some of the symptoms. Water dilutes the urine, which makes going to the bathroom less painful when dealing with a urinary tract infections. Plus, lemon juice’s natural antibacterial properties help kill the bacteria inside the bladder.
- Treats and prevents scurvy. Scurvy is a disease directly resulting from vitamin C deficiency. While the availability of produce makes this disease more rare than in the past, it does affect up to 10-14% of adults in developed countries. With its high concentration of vitamin C, lemon water can help treat and prevent this condition. (9)
- Improves digestive health. Drinking water before any meal helps break down waste and move it through the system. This is particularly true when drinking warm water prior to your first meal of the day. Editor of Yahoo Health, Michele Promaulayko, validated this theory to ABC News. She says it slows down digestion enough to allow your body to properly break down the food, which is exactly what your body needs for optimal digestive health.
- Replaces unhealthy beverages. Many people reach for soft drinks or sugary juices because they don’t like plain water. Jazzing water up with refreshingly tart lemon can add enough zing to water to make more people reach for it over a soda or sweetened juice.
- Boosts metabolism. Being well hydrated keeps the metabolism running smoothly according to Women’s Health. Lemon adds the boost of fiber and citric acid that helps digest food properly, keeping the metabolism operating on high.
- Prevents overeating. Lemon water can help you stop overeating. A shot of flavor from lemon water can squash cravings while the water fills up your belly and prevents you from confusing thirst with hunger. Plus the shot of fiber from the lemon’s pectin satisfies you with little calories. (10)
- Promotes weight loss. Between the pleasant boost to the metabolism, the killed cravings, and the filling fiber, it’s not surprising that drinking lemon water can help you loose weight. Plus lemon’s natural diuretic properties help you beat bloat and loose water weight. (11)
- May fight depression If you wake up each day to the fresh scent of lemon in your tea, you are probably already familiar with how the citrus smell reinvigorates you. Research indicates that lemon water can help suppress depression symptoms more effectively than some anti-depressants. (12)
- Encourages hydration It is widely agreed upon that good hydration is essential to your health. But if you are like most people, getting the recommended daily allotment is challenging. Lemon water’s taste, anti-oxidants, and vitamins makes drinking it easier, which promotes hydration. (13)
- Repairs cartilage Move over calcium, Vitamin C needs some recognition in helping to promote cartilage health. Consuming more lemon water each day can get your body the necessary amounts of Vitamin C to boost cartilage health. (14)
- Supports strong bones. Since Vitamin C helps with cartilage, it is not surprising that some research indicates this powerhouse vitamin promotes bone health. The Vitamin C is essential to your body’s ability to keep your bone and teeth strength up, so you should focus on not just getting enough calcium, but also increasing your Vitamin C intake, which lemon water can easily help with.
- Makes skin glow. If you are looking for healthier looking skin, lemon water can promote this too. Lemon water helps to clear out toxins that affect how your skin look and feel. And it also promotes collagen production, which is the chemical responsible for keeping away wrinkles and making your skin springy and taut. (15)
- Can protect skin from sun damage. Skin cancer is a leading cause of death in many people who are constantly exposed to the UVB radiation. Studies indicate that the anti-oxidants found in Vitamin C helps to protect the skin cells from the harmful radiation. This has the added benefit of fighting the signs of aging and wrinkles that prolonged sun exposure can cause. (16)
- Supports the liver. There is evidence linking Vitamin C deficiency to liver disease and lost liver function. That said, it’s reasonable that upping Vitamin C intake by drinking lemon water would support liver function. (17)
- Ups potassium intake. According to Medical News Today, potassium is an essential micronutrient. The body requires 100 mg per day to support basic functions, but upping the potassium intake reduces risk of death from all causes. An increased potassium intake also lowers risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, preserves muscle mass and bone density, and reduces the formation of kidney stones.
- Helps manage diabetes. Research suggests that the polyphenols in lemons can help prevent fat from being stored in the abdominal area. A reduction in abdominal fat is linked to less insulin resistance and better diabetes management. (18)
There are several ways to make lemon water. How you make it is totally up to you and depends on what you have available and whether or not you want to drink it warm or cold. To make lemon water try the following:
- Wash and slice up 3 lemons and add them to a pitcher of water. Refrigerate overnight prior to drinking.
- Squeeze one lemon into a cup of warm but not boiling water and enjoy hot.
- Try a lemon juicer to juice lemons more efficiently.
Selecting lemons is easy when you know what to look for. Choose lemons that are fully yellow. Lemons that are not fully yellow or are partially green are not ripe yet and won’t be as juicy. Avoid lemons that are hard or have a thicker rind. Consider choosing organic lemons for optimal health benefits.
Healthy Honey Lemon Sorbet
- 2 cups water
- 1.5 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- the zest from 2 lemon
- Combine the water, honey and lemon zest in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm until the honey is dissolved, stirring constantly.
- Remove the pot from heat before the liquid gets hot and add the lemon juice. Stir to combine/
- Refrigerate until cold in sealed container.
- Pour the lemon mixer right into a metal loaf pan and freeze it for 2-4 hours. Every half hour scrape down the sides of the container with a spoon to aerate the mixture.
Lemon Chicken Soup
- 4-5 cloves of garlic pressed
- 1 onion
- 3 cups of low sodium chicken stock
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cup of lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into piece
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Chop the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Press garlic into onions and stir.
- Add the cut chicken to the onions and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until chicken starts to brown stirring constantly.
- Add the broth, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes.
- Finish with salt, pepper, and chopped parsley.
- Serve hot.
In general, lemon water is safe for most people including pregnant women because it has very few negative side effects. However, lemon does have the following drawbacks:
- high acid content may damage teeth if drinking an excess amount of lemon water
- the acid in lemons may aggravate stomach ulcers
- those with cold sores in the mouth may find lemon water painful to drink
If you have very damaged teeth or have a stomach ulcer you should avoid lemon water. Likewise, you might want to avoid lemon water if you have painful cold sores in the mouth but you can resume drinking it as soon as they heal.
Drinking lemon water is one of the easiest things you can do to live healthier. It has very few drawbacks, is inexpensive, and has a multitude of health benefits with almost no side effects. While lemon water does have many wonderful benefits, it is not a cure all and is not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise. To get the most out of adding lemon water to your life, make sure you are living a healthy lifestyle by eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep and exercise, and avoiding unhealthy habits.