Quantcast

Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

Food

Lemon water is claimed to have powerful health and weight loss benefits. In fact, many celebrities swear by it and there are even diets based entirely on lemons.

But does it live up to the hype?

Lemon water is claimed to have powerful health and weight loss benefits.

This article uses scientific evidence to explore the benefits and myths of lemon water.

What is Lemon Water?

Lemon water is simply the juice from lemons mixed with water.

The amount of lemon you use depends on your personal preference and this drink can be enjoyed either cold or hot.

Some people also choose to add lemon rind, mint leaf or other ingredients.

Lemon water has become a popular morning beverage, since it's been claimed to help improve your mood, energy levels, immune system and metabolic health.

This is what a glass of lemon water looks like:

Bottom Line: Lemon water is simply water mixed with fresh lemon juice. Additional ingredients can be added.

Lemon Water Nutrition Facts

For the purpose of this article, the definition of lemon water is one glass of water mixed with the juice from half a lemon (1).

This is the nutrient breakdown for one glass:

  • Calories: 9.
  • Sugars: Less than 1 gram.
  • Vitamin C: 25 percent of the RDI.
  • Folate: 1 percent of the RDI.
  • Potassium: 1 percent of the RDI.

One glass does not seem to provide a lot of nutrients, but drinking lemon water is a low-calorie and low-sugar beverage that can boost your vitamin C intake.

For comparison, if you replaced half a lemon with half an orange, it would double the calories and sugar in your drink (2).

Additionally, remember that the exact nutritional value depends on how much lemon juice you add, as well as any other ingredients.

Bottom Line: Lemon water is high in vitamin C, relative to its calorie and sugar content. It also contains trace amounts of folate and potassium.

Lemon Water Contains Antioxidants

Lemon water contains other beneficial substances and is a source of plant compounds called flavonoids.

Many have antioxidant properties that appear to help protect your cells from damage.

Flavonoids from citrus fruits are often linked with benefits for blood circulation, insulin sensitivity and other aspects of metabolic health (3, 4, 5, 6).

Lemon flavonoids also have the potential to reduce oxidative stress and damage, at least in rats (7, 8, 9).

All that said, there are no human studies to support these findings, so they may not be as useful in real life.

Bottom Line: Lemon water contains compounds that may protect your cells and improve metabolic health. However, human studies are needed.

Lemon Water May Help Treat Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are solid mineral formations that collect in the kidneys.

The most common type is made of a substance called calcium oxalate and is typically treated with a compound called citrate.

Increasing the amount of citrate in your urine is thought to prevent calcium from binding with other compounds and forming stones.

In short, citrate restores the urine's ability to prevent kidney stone formation.

Lemon water contains high amounts of citrate and numerous human studies have found it can successfully help treat kidney stones (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15).

It appears to be most effective when used alongside potassium citrate, the supplement form of citrate. However, lemon water may also be a good alternative for those who don't tolerate potassium citrate as a first-line treatment (10, 13).

Bottom Line: Studies show that lemon water can help treat kidney stones. It appears most effective alongside conventional therapy, but may also be a useful alternative treatment.

Lemon Water has the Benefits of Regular Water

Lemon water is water with a bit of lemon added, which means it has all the benefits of regular water.

Drinking plenty of water is known to have benefits for:

  • Mental health: Optimizes mood and memory.
  • Digestive health: Helps relieve constipation.
  • Exercise performance: Improves athletic performance.

Here's more information: 7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water.

Bottom Line: Drinking enough water has many health benefits. It can help you lose weight, feel great and improve your athletic performance.

Read page 1

Common Myths About Lemon Water and Health

There are many additional health claims surrounding lemon water, but most are not supported by any scientific evidence.

In fact, some have even been disproved. Below are six of the most common myths.

Myth 1: The Fiber in it Helps You Lose Weight

Lemons contain a type of fiber called pectin, which helps reduce your appetite and calorie intake.

However, lemon water is basically filtered, heavily diluted lemon juice, which leaves it with only trace amounts of pectin. Even a whole lemon only contains 2 grams of fiber in total (1).

There is no evidence that lemon water has any more benefits for weight loss than plain water.

Myth 2: It Alkalizes Your Body

According to proponents of the alkaline diet, foods leave an “ash" in your system that influences the pH of your body—how acidic or alkaline it becomes.

Lemon water is said to be alkalizing. However, neither the pH of your blood nor cells can be altered by what you eat (16).

Myth 3: It Fights Cancer

This claim emerged from the alkaline diet myth and is built on the premise that cancer cells cannot thrive in an alkaline environment.

While cancer cells do prefer the cells around them to be acidic, studies show they can grow in alkaline environments as well. Also, cancer cells create their own acidic environment and eating alkalizing food doesn't stop it (17, 18).

Myth 4: It Cleanses and Detoxes

Water helps eliminate waste from your body through urination and healthy bowel movements. However, nothing in lemon water improves this process.

In fact, most claims that foods or beverages cleanse or detoxify your organs are simply untrue.

Myth 5: It Raises Your IQ

Drinking water—lemon-flavored or otherwise—may help you feel more focused in the morning, but it cannot increase intelligence.

Myth 6: It Has Natural Diuretic Effects

This may be true to a small extent, but it's so misleading that it's worth mentioning.

Any food that contains potassium can potentially increase urine output—that means virtually all fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products.

Additionally, the more water you drink, the more you will urinate.

Bottom Line: The majority of the health claims are speculative and exaggerated. In some cases they have been proven to be false.

Does it Have Any Harmful Effects?

Lemon water is perfectly safe to drink.

However, the acid in lemons can damage your tooth enamel over time, which makes your teeth more prone to cavities.

You can manage this easily by drinking lemon water with a straw whenever possible, to avoid contact with your teeth.

Also, you should rinse your mouth with water afterwards. However, it is best to wait an hour before brushing your teeth. Brushing while your tooth enamel is an an acid-softened state can lead to damage.

If you're taking the lemon water with breakfast, then it's a good idea to brush your teeth before breakfast.

Bottom Line: Lemon water is safe to consume. However, it may damage your tooth enamel if you drink if often.

Does the Temperature of Lemon Water Matter?

The best temperature to drink lemon water is a highly debated topic.

For example, some claim cold water helps burn extra calories. Others believe warm water helps improve digestive health.

There is very little research to support either side and it's highly unlikely the temperature makes any meaningful difference.

Therefore, it simply comes down to what you feel like at the time.

Bottom Line: There is no strong evidence showing that the water is best consumed either hot or cold. Choose the temperature you enjoy most.

How to Make Your Own Lemon Water

Most recipes suggest using the juice from half a lemon mixed with a glass of water. You can tweak the amounts from there or add other ingredients.

Take Home Message

Lemon water is a healthy drink that can add a good amount of vitamin C to your diet.

It's a fantastic, flavorful alternative to plain water that has several health benefits.

However, if you already eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of fluids, then lemon water will be of no nutritional benefit.

You should drink it for the taste rather than the health benefits.

This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Which Cooking Oils Are the Healthiest?

12 Awesome Ways to Use Avocados

Why You Should Drink Oolong Tea

8 Tips for a Successful Detox

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Hedges, 2019 © Hugh Hayden. All photos courtesy of Lisson Gallery

By Patrick Rogers

"I'm really into trees," said the sculptor Hugh Hayden. "I'm drawn to plants."

Read More Show Less
BruceBlock / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Thanks to their high concentration of powerful plant compounds, foods with a natural purple hue offer a wide array of health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Environmental Investigation Agency

By Genevieve Belmaker

Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.

Read More Show Less
Jessica Kourkounis / Stringer

The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.

"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.

The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.

"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."

The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.

"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."

Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.

Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.

That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.

Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.

If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.

"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."

To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.


"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."

Pixabay

By Manuella Libardi

Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
XL CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY / THE OCEAN AGENCY

Hope may be on the horizon for the world's depleted coral reefs thanks to scientists who successfully reproduced endangered corals in a laboratory setting for the first time, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less

Last week we received positive news on the border wall's imminent construction in an Arizona wildlife refuge. The Trump administration delayed construction of the wall through about 60 miles of federal wildlife preserves.

Read More Show Less
PhotoAlto / Frederic Cirou / Getty Images

Drinking water treated with fluoride during pregnancy may lead to lower IQs in children, a controversial new study has found.

Read More Show Less