Lemon water is a huge fad right now, but you may be wondering if it can live up to the hype. It has been touted for everything from weight loss to cancer prevention, and while we can honestly say that no single beverage can cure every physical ill, this drink is pretty darn good for you.
One of the best things about drinking lemon water is that the recipe is up to you. You may use as much or as little lemon as you prefer, and even include additional ingredients like mint, honey, or other fruit. Lemon water may also be consumed warm or cold according to preference.
However, according to nutritional experts, the ideal way to drink lemon water in order to reap the most benefits is warm with at least ½ a sliced lemon included, peel and all. You don’t need to eat the lemon slices, but the peel contains valuable polyphenols, which are antioxidant compounds that can aid in weight loss. Adding lemon slices to warm water helps to extract more polyphenols than cold water can.
So what are the potential benefits of drinking lemon water every day? There are many, and some of them, like #3 and #7, make the habit worthwhile all on their own. Along the way we will bust a couple of myths about lemon water, too.
1. Get Fresher Breath
If you are sick of chewing gum or chomping on a mint every time you have to speak closely with someone, lemon water could be the answer. When you think about the sheer number of products that contain lemon scent, this starts to make sense. The citrusy odor of lemon is able to neutralize odors, whether that is on your countertops or in your mouth.
Drinking some lemon water after a meal that included onions, garlic, fish, or blue cheese can wipe out the lingering evidence. Lemon is also great for stimulating saliva production, which itself cleanses the mouth. A dry mouth, such as the one you wake up with in the morning, actually smells worse due to excess bacterial growth.
2. Keep Your Skin Looking Younger
When you drink lemon water each day, you are already adding critical hydration to your skin care routine. Hydrated skin looks smoother and tighter, reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. When you are fully hydrated your body also has more opportunity to expel toxins through sweat.
The addition of lemon to your water boosts your intake of vitamin C, a powerhouse nutrient that plays a strong role in the production of collagen and elastin, the elements in skin that keep it strong yet flexible. Some studies indicate that a diet high in vitamin C will also reduce wrinkling, something that everybody wants.
3. Take In More Vitamin C
As long as we’re talking about vitamin C, let’s delve a little further into its many health benefits. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals before they do cellular damage.
Therefore, making sure you get your daily recommended amount is thought to lower the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. And because our bodies don’t synthesize vitamin C from other nutrients, we need to get that RDI from food. Lemon water can help you reach the suggested level of 60 mg per day.
4. Experience Easier Weight Loss
We can tell you up front that lemon water is not a miracle weight loss product. Drinking it every day is not the only thing you need to do in order to successfully shed pounds. However, people who do drink lemon water tend to report easier weight loss overall. It is not totally clear why, but it’s possible that drinking more flavored water can help you feel full and satisfied between meals.
But let’s not forget those polyphenol antioxidants in lemon that have been shown to support weight loss in mice. Studies found that lemon reduced weight gain in mice despite a high-fat diet, and insulin resistance was also improved. Human studies are needed to follow up these promising results.
5. Stabilize Your Moods
The same invigorating scent that neutralizes odors can also reduce your stress and keep you feeling calm. That’s why lemon oil is a common ingredient in aromatherapy oils. When you drink lemon, you get the same stress relief plus the benefit of potassium in the fruit. Potassium is critical in the regulation of blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a key factor in your experience of stress.
If you drink your lemon water warm, you’ll experience additional soothing effects. But however you consume it, try reaching for some lemon water before you resort to wine after a particularly difficult day.
6. Avoid Kidney Stones
Even if you have never had a kidney stone personally, chances are you’re aware of how agonizing they can be. Most kidney stones are essentially calcium deposits, and you can reduce your risk of forming one by getting more citric acid in your diet.
Lemon is a citrus fruit that contains a lot of citric acid – in fact, just ½ cup of lemon juice contains as much of it as medications prescribed for kidney stones. Keeping good and hydrated is also an important part of kidney health, so daily lemon water can be an awesome preventative measure when it comes to kidney stones.
7. No More UTIs
And speaking of agonizing conditions, urinary tract or bladder infections are incredibly painful as well. It’s honestly like peeing tiny knives when you have one, and unfortunately, they are easy to contract. One way to minimize the occurrence of these infections is to keep your urine alkaline. Though lemons are acidic in their whole form, citric acid produces alkalizing byproducts when it is digested.
Daily lemon water helps maintain an alkaline-leaning pH in the urinary tract. It doesn’t affect the pH in your bloodstream, however. Your kidneys do that work, and diet is not connected to the process. Don’t be taken in by claims that lemon water can alkalize your whole system.
There are lots of reasons that daily lemon water is a good habit, and all it takes is 7 days to see the difference. On top of everything we have already mentioned, proper hydration alone is so important for good health. When your water is more palatable due to the addition of lemon or other citrus flavors, it can be a lot easier to down the ideal amount of 91-125 ounces each day.
We encourage you to experiment with lemon water and see how much better you feel on a daily basis. Just don’t expect it to blast off extra pounds, detox your system (the body does this just fine on its own), or raise your IQ. But for all the great things lemon water can do, we recommend it!