Lemon water has health benefits, including adding vitamin C and antioxidants to your diet. This option can also help you reduce your intake of sugary sports drinks and juices, which are not as healthy for you.
Lemon water is all the rage these days. Some people start their day with lemon water instead of coffee or tea. There’s no doubt that lemons are great for adding citrus flavor to foods and drinks, but are there any benefits to adding lemon juice to your water?
What are the benefits of drinking lemon water?
Most of the evidence for the health benefits of lemon water is anecdotal. While lemons contain nutrients, such as vitamin C and antioxidants, the nutritional value of a glass of lemon water depends on the amount of lemon juice it contains.
A glass of lemon water containing a 48 gram lemon, squeezed, contains:
18.6 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, or 21% of the daily value (DV)
9.6 micrograms (mcg) of folate, or 2% of the DV
49.4 mg of potassium, or 1% of the DV
0.038 mg iron, i.e. < 1% DV
0.01 mg of vitamin B-1, or 1% of the DV
0.01 mg of vitamin B-2, or 1% of the DV
0.06 mg of vitamin B-5, or 1% of the DV
Here’s How Your Body Benefits From Lemon Water
Making sure you drink enough water every day is crucial for overall health, but not everyone likes the taste of plain water. Using lemon juice to add a little flavor to your water can help you drink more of it.
Drinking water helps prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause:
Good source of vitamin C
Citrus fruits like lemon contain vitamin C, a primary antioxidant that helps protect cells from damaging free radicals. In addition, vitamin C also plays a role in collagen synthesis, iron absorption, and hormone production by the body. Also, insufficient intake of vitamin C can lead to symptoms such as:
increased susceptibility to infections
dry mouth and eyes
loosening of teeth
Although lemons are not at the top of the list of citrus fruits rich in vitamin C, they are nevertheless a good source. By squeezing the juice of one 48 gram lemon into a glass of water, you will get 21% of the daily value of vitamin C.
May promote weight loss
Drinking lemon water can help you increase your water intake, which is often recommended as a weight loss strategy. However, there is little evidence to back it up.
In a 2018 study, researchers found that participants who were asked to drink water before having a test meal ate less than when they were asked to eat the test meal without “preloading.” with water. When participants drank water before having a test meal, they did not feel significantly less full, even though they ate less. The study authors conclude that drinking water before meals may be an effective weight loss strategy, although the mechanism of action is unknown.
An easy alternative to sugary drinks
Sugary drinks, such as juices, sodas, sports drinks, sugar water and energy drinks, are the main source of added sugars in the Western diet.
Regular consumption of these beverages is associated with a range of health problems, including
type 2 diabetes
If you regularly consume sugary, fruit-flavored beverages to quench your thirst, opting for lemon water could help you reduce your sugar intake without sacrificing flavor.
Citric acid helps prevent kidney stones
The citric acid in lemons can help prevent kidney stones. Citrate, a component of citric acid, paradoxically makes urine less acidic and can even break up small stones.
Lemon juice contains citric acid, but large amounts may be needed to raise the pH of urine. One can mix 120 ml of lemon juice concentrate with water as a complementary dietary remedy to other drugs for the prevention of kidney stones.
May aid digestion
Drinking lemon water before meals can promote and improve digestion. In fact, the citric acid in lemon juice has been shown to stimulate the secretion of gastric acid, a digestive fluid produced in the stomach that helps the body break down and digest food. In a 2021 study, participants drank 300ml of water or lemon water before meals for 4 weeks. The researchers took stool samples before and after the test period and the participants’ gut microbiota were analyzed.
The study authors found that drinking lemon water before meals seemed to aid digestion and peristalsis, which are the wave-like contractions that help move food through the digestive tract. However, more large-scale studies are needed to fully understand the effects of lemon water on digestion.
How to prepare lemon water
To make lemon water, squeeze half a lemon into 240ml of warm or cold water.
You can add more flavor or health benefit by adding
a few sprigs of mint
a teaspoon of raw honey
a slice of fresh ginger
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of turmeric
You can also add slices of other fresh produce, such as limes, oranges, or cucumber slices. Always wash them well before cutting them.
Having lemon ice cubes on hand is a great way to quickly add lemon to your water. Just squeeze fresh lemon juice into ice cube trays and freeze them. Drop a few cubes into a glass of cold or lukewarm water as needed. You can start your morning with a cup of warm lemon water and keep a pitcher of infused water with a few slices of lemon in your fridge to drink throughout the day.
Lemon Water Side Effects
Lemon water is generally safe to drink, but be aware of some potential side effects. Lemon contains citric acid, which can erode tooth enamel in the long run. To limit this risk, drink the lemon water with a straw and rinse your mouth with clean water afterwards. Also, citrus fruits are known to increase stomach acid production and can cause heartburn in some people.
Lemon water is a refreshing drink and an easy way to add some vitamin C and antioxidants to your diet. Adding a squeeze of lemon to your water can make it more appealing, which could help you reduce your intake of sugary sports drinks and fruit juices.
Although more research is needed, lemon water may help improve digestion and even promote weight loss.