Have you wondered if there are benefits to lemon water or if the claims are simply popular myths? Here is my simple, non-professional answer – independently, both water and lemons are wonderful for our bodies, so YES, there are benefits to drinking lemon water. We don’t need studies to prove all of them. Again, this is my simple, non-professional opinion, which I feel pretty strongly about. 😉
What is Lemon Water?
All of us have been asked if we want lemon with our water while eating out, but I would wager a shiny penny that an extremely high percentage of those restaurants are offering them simply for the flavor, which means, “lemon in your water.”
“Lemon water” is something different. It typically refers to lemon juice from ½ or a whole lemon squeezed into a 10-12oz glass of warm water and enjoyed first thing in the morning. It has become popular over the past several years due to its many benefits: promotes hydration, enhances mood, source of vitamin C, aids in digestion, supports weight loss, improves insulin resistance, improves skin, aids in liver function, and helps with kidney stones.
While I don’t accept the lemon wedge in restaurants, I consider myself a fan of all things lemon. I loved anything lemon way before I learned of their benefits or understood “real food.” Now I love all things “natural lemon” while appreciating them at the same time!
For those who have a hard time getting their daily adequate intake of water, starting your day with 10-12 ounces helps tremendously, regardless of your daily intake goal.
Studies have shown that the scent of lemon may improve mood. It can promote concentration and calmness and decrease anxious and angry feelings.
Source of Vitamin C
Lemons and lemon juice are a source of vitamin C. They’re not a substantial source; however, drinking lemon water first thing in the morning allows your body to absorb the vitamin effectively and gives you a little immune boost. The antioxidants in Vitamin C can prevent or slow free radicals that cause cellular damage.
Supports Weight Loss & Improves Insulin Resistance
There have been studies on mice showing lemon polyphenols1 suppress weight gain and body fat. They also show improved insulin resistance, which is a key component of type 2 diabetes.
While the results in humans may be subjective, the evidence is strong that lemon water supports weight loss. It could be from the properties of lemon juice or merely because drinking more water causes feelings of satiety. With all the other benefits, why not chugalug?!
The vitamin C in lemons may help in the synthesizing of collagen, which can help reduce skin wrinkling and reduce aging. In addition, the extra water, improved digestion, and the potential aid in liver function may also improve skin complexion.
Aids in Digestion
Warm lemon water can act like a mild daily laxative for some people. Even without the lemon, warm water may help get the digestive system up and running. In addition to the warm water, acidic qualities of lemon juice are similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach, which prompt the stimulation of digestive juices helping break down the food making it easier to move through your GI tract.
Aids in Liver Function
Your liver is part of your body’s built-in filtration system; it is its own detoxification system. While it works quite well on its own, lemon juice can aid when it needs a little boost.
Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salt in our kidneys and must be passed in the urine either whole, broken down, or dissolved. Citric acid in urine helps break down, dissolve, and/or prevent other stones from forming, and lemons are a great source of citric acid and provide an easy way to get it. Furthermore, the water will help flush them out.
Lemon Water Instructions
- 10-12oz of warm filtered water
- Juice of ½ lemon2 (preferably organic)
- The water dilutes the lemon juice to protect your teeth.
- After drinking, swish with plain filtered water to remove the acid from your teeth.
- Even though you rinse, I recommend not brushing your teeth right away. If you drink your lemon water first thing and save your brushing for the end of your morning routine, this one shouldn’t be difficult.
- Use a straw to bypass some of your teeth altogether. This may also make it easier to drink for some people. If you haven’t already, invest in some reusable straws. It’s way past time we spend more effort caring about our land, waters, and all the amazing creatures living on and in them.
1 Polyphenols are a group of chemicals that naturally occur in plants. Together, they are known as phytochemicals. There are several health benefits and many of them come from their antioxidant properties, which fight cellular damage.
2Zest the lemon first and store the grated zest in the freezer for later use.