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Lemon water is claimed by many Internet sources to have profound health benefits, from weight loss to improved digestion and prevention of kidney stones when consumed regularly. (1)
Lemon water is just water with added lemon juice. Recipes of the exact amounts of either ingredient vary depending on taste preferences and tolerance of the acidity of the mix.
Health Benefits of Lemon Water
Lemon water is suggested to provide the following health benefits.
1. Provides hydration
Water is the best beverage for hydrating the body as it has no additives and no calories.
Some people do not like the taste (or rather the absence of it) of water, and adding lemon juice makes water palatable.
The juice of half a lemon has only 9 calories and less than 1 gram of sugar, (2) making lemon water an excellent low-calorie refreshing drink.
ALSO READ: How to Increase Your Daily Fluid Intake
2. Aids in digestion
Although no scientific evidence supports this claim, some people report that lemon water helps their digestion by promoting regularity. This effect may be true since constipation often results from dehydration.
A glass or two of lemon water added to the daily routine may fulfill a person’s daily water needs and may relieve constipation.
3. Reduces oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is caused by the body’s internal processes and by external factors, such as environmental elements and the food you eat.
Oxidative stress promotes aging, inflammation, and disease. To fight it, you need antioxidants, such as vitamins C, A, and E. Lemon juice is one such rich source of vitamin C. (3)
4. Increases iron absorption
Dietary iron has two types – heme iron from meat and other animal products and non-heme iron found in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, and some nuts.
Heme iron is easily absorbed by the body. However, it comes with a possible burden of overconsuming meat, which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. (4)
Non-heme iron is not so bioavailable by itself, but it can be made easily absorbable by consuming it with foods containing vitamin C, such as lemon and its juice.
5. Helps to lighten dark spots and freckles
Lemon juice contains vitamin C, which is a potent lightening substance for skin blemishes.
However, applying lemon juice straight to facial skin may cause irritation. Mixing it with a little water dilutes its potency and makes it more tolerable.
It takes a few weeks of lemon water applications to start noticing lightening results. Make sure to protect your skin from sun damage as lemon juice may increase sensitivity to the sun.
6. Helps prevent kidney stones
Citric acid, or citrate, is a compound found in lemon that is a potent inhibitor of kidney stone formation. It does so in two ways:
- It binds to calcium in the urine and reduces its saturation.
- It binds to tiny crystals of oxalates that form the stones. (1)
Increasing water consumption also aids in the dilution and excretion of the minerals implicated in kidney stone formation.
7. Promotes weight loss
Generally, increasing your water intake may help you lose weight. (5) Also, anecdotal evidence suggests that finishing meals with lemon water helps prevent overeating and reduces the desire for a sweet meal “finisher.”
The fresh citrusy taste of lemon water curbs the appetite and cravings for something sweet.
8. Boosts metabolism
Lemons contain polyphenols, which are potent antioxidant micronutrients.
In one study, lemon polyphenols were found to upregulate levels of certain enzymes in mice, leading to improved lipid metabolism and suppression of diet-induced obesity. (6)
Given the general health benefits of polyphenols, similar outcomes of lemon consumption in people may be speculated.
9. Improves sweet taste sensitivity
Before adding sweetener to your morning coffee or oatmeal, sip on lemon water and mindfully add less sugar than usual.
You will realize how much less of it you need to reach the same taste satisfaction – Just a little hack to keep your sweet tooth at bay.
10. Provides potassium
Potassium is necessary for healthy heart function and normal blood pressure levels through the relaxation of blood vessel walls. (7)
Many people do not get enough of this electrolyte due to poor diet quality, increased sweating through physical activity, or work-related reasons.
Lemons contain potassium, and adding lemon water to your daily intake will help in reaching a potassium-sodium balance.
11. Helps form good habits
This may not be a direct health benefit but it surely helps cement good health habits.
Adding lemon juice to water not only gives you a vitamin, mineral, and polyphenol boost, but it can also be a healthy part of your morning routine, which, if repeated daily, can become a strong good habit.
Training your brain to form good habits, one activity at a time, is a proven path to build neural connections to effortlessly do things you want to do but find it difficult to stick with.
How to Make Lemon Water
Squeeze the juice of half of a lemon into 1½–2 glasses of water. Have one glass in the morning, and save the rest for after meals throughout the day.
What Risks Are Associated With Drinking Lemon Water?
High lemon juice concentrations may cause sensitivity or even erosion to tooth enamel. Therefore, do not overdo it by having only lemon water all day.
Drink a glass in the morning and a few sips after meals, and then consume plain filtered water throughout the day.
Lemon water refers to diluted lemon juice. Due to the various bioactive compounds present in lemon, including vitamin C, citric acid, and antioxidants, consuming lemon water can be highly beneficial to your health.
Lemon water not only helps prevent health problems and aids in weight management, but it also gives a boosted start to the day.