But does it live up to the hype?
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Weight loss: Increases feelings of fullness and boosts metabolism slightly, which can help with weight loss.
- 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.
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
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
Maryland will become the first state in the nation Thursday to implement a ban on foam takeout containers.
- New Jersey Legislature Passes 'Most Comprehensive' Plastics Ban ... ›
- Canada to Announce Ban on Single-Use Plastics - EcoWatch ›
- The Complex and Frustrating Reality of Recycling Plastic - EcoWatch ›
- Dunkin' Says Bye to Foam Cups (But Bring Your Own Thermos ... ›
- Maine and Vermont Pass Plastic Bag Bans on the Same Day ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ajit Niranjan
Leaders from across the world have promised to turn environmental degradation around and put nature on the path to recovery within a decade.
- Destruction of Nature Is Triggering Pandemics, Say Leaders of WWF ... ›
- The UN Wants to Protect 30% of the Planet by 2030 - EcoWatch ›
- New WWF Report Calls for Protecting Nature to Prevent Future ... ›
Just days after a new report detailed the "unequivocal and pervasive role" climate change plays in the increased frequency and intensity of wildfires, new fires burned 10,000 acres on Sunday as a "dome" of hot, dry air over Northern California created ideal fire conditions over the weekend.
- California's Iconic Redwoods Threatened by Wildfires - EcoWatch ›
- California Wildfires Destroy Condor Sanctuary, at Least 4 Birds Still ... ›
- 7 Devastating Photos of Wildfires in California, Oregon and ... ›
- David Attenborough Calls For Ban on Deep-Sea Mining - EcoWatch ›
- Sir David Attenborough Set to Present BBC Documentary on ... ›
- David Attenborough Gives Stark Warning in New BBC Climate ... ›
Kevin T. Smiley
When hurricanes and other extreme storms unleash downpours like Tropical Storm Beta has been doing in the South, the floodwater doesn't always stay within the government's flood risk zones.
New research suggests that nearly twice as many properties are at risk from a 100-year flood today than the Federal Emergency Management Agency's flood maps indicate.
Flooding Outside the Zones<p>About <a href="https://furmancenter.org/files/Floodplain_PopulationBrief_12DEC2017.pdf" target="_blank">15 million</a> Americans live in FEMA's current 100-year flood zones. The designation warns them that their properties face a 1% risk of flooding in any given year. They must obtain flood insurance if they want a federally ensured loan – insurance that helps them recover from flooding.</p><p>In Greater Houston, however, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2012.01840.x" target="_blank">47% of claims</a> made to FEMA across three decades before Hurricane Harvey were outside of the 100-year flood zones. Harris County, recognizing that FEMA flood maps don't capture the full risk, now <a href="https://www.hcfcd.org/floodinsurance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends that every household</a> in Houston and the rest of the county have flood insurance.</p><p>New risk models point to a similar conclusion: Flood risk in these areas outstrips expectations in the current FEMA flood maps.</p><p>One of those models, from the <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/2020-national-flood-risk-assessment-highlights/" target="_blank">First Street Foundation</a>, estimates that the number of properties at risk in a 100-year storm is 1.7 times higher than the FEMA maps suggest. Other <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaac65" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">researchers</a> find an even higher margin, with 2.6 to 3.1 times more people exposed to serious flooding in a 100-year storm than FEMA estimates.</p>
What FEMA’s Flood Maps Miss<p>Understanding why areas outside the 100-year flood zones are flooding more often than the FEMA maps suggest involves larger social and environmental issues. Three reasons stand out.</p><p>First, some places rely on relatively old FEMA maps that don't account for recent urbanization.</p><p>Urbanization matters because impervious surfaces – think pavement and buildings – are not effective sponges like natural landscapes can be. Moreover, the process for updating floodplain maps is locally variable and can take years to complete. Famously, New York City was updating its maps when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 but hadn't finished, meaning flood maps in effect <a href="https://projects.propublica.org/nyc-flood/" target="_blank">were from 1983</a>. FEMA is required to assess whether updates are needed every five years, but the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/cis/nation.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">majority of maps</a> <a href="https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2017/OIG-17-110-Sep17.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are older</a>.</p><p>Second, binary thinking can lead people to an underaccounting of risk, and that can mean communities fail to take steps that could protect a neighborhood from flooding. The logic goes: if I'm not in the 100-year floodplain, then I'm not at risk. Risk perception <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab195a" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">research</a> backs this up. FEMA-delineated flood zones are the major factor shaping flood mitigation behaviors.</p><p>Third, the era of climate change scuttles conventional assumptions.</p><p>As the planet warms, extreme storms are becoming <a href="https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/" target="_blank">more common and severe</a>. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at a high rate, computer models suggest that the chances of a severe storm dropping 20 inches of rain on Texas in any given year will increase from about 1% at the end of the last century to 18% at the end of this one, a chance of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1716222114" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">once every 5.5 years</a>. So far, <a href="https://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/195.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">FEMA hasn't taken into account the impact climate change is having</a> on extreme weather and sea level rise.</p>
Racial Disparities in Flooding Outside the Zones<p>So, who is at risk?</p><p>Years of research and evidence from storms have highlighted social inequalities in areas with a high risk of flooding. But most local governments have less understanding of the social and demographic composition of communities that experience flood impacts outside of flood zones.</p><p>In analyzing the damage from Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, I found that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aba0fe" target="_blank">Black and Hispanic residents disproportionately experienced flooding</a> in areas beyond FEMA's 100-year flood zones.</p><p>With the majority of flooding from Hurricane Harvey occurring outside of 100-year flood zones, this meant that the overall impact of Harvey was racially unequal too.</p><p>Research into where flooding occurs in Baltimore, Chicago and Phoenix points to some of the potential causes. <a href="https://www.nap.edu/read/25381/chapter/4#16" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In Baltimore and Chicago</a>, for example, aging storm and sewer infrastructure, poor construction and insufficient efforts to mitigate flooding are part of the flooding problem in some predominantly Black neighborhoods.</p>
What Can Be Done About It<p>Better accounting for those three reasons could substantively improve risk assessments and help cities prioritize infrastructure improvements and flood mitigation projects in these at-risk neighborhoods.</p><p>For example, First Street Foundation's risk maps account for <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/flood-model-methodology_overview/" target="_blank">climate change</a> and present <a href="https://floodfactor.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ratings</a> on a scale from 1 to 10. FEMA, which works with communities to update flood maps, is <a href="https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1521054297905-ca85d066dddb84c975b165db653c9049/TMAC_2017_Annual_Report_Final508(v8)_03-12-2018.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">exploring rating systems</a>. And the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently <a href="https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2019/03/new-report-calls-for-different-approaches-to-predict-and-understand-urban-flooding" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">called for a new generation of flood maps</a> that takes climate change into account.</p><p>Including recent urbanization in those assessments will matter too, especially in fast-growing cities like Houston, where <a href="https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1boBRyDvMFW6W" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">386 new square miles</a> of impervious surfaces were created in the last 20 years. That's greater than the land area of New York City. New construction in one area can also <a href="https://scalawagmagazine.org/2018/01/city-in-a-swamp-as-houston-booms-its-flood-problems-are-only-getting-worse/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">impact older neighborhoods downhill</a> during a flood, as some Houston communities discovered in Hurricane Harvey.</p><p>Improving risk assessments is needed not just to better prepare communities for major flood events, but also to prevent racial inequalities – in housing and beyond – from <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/688786177/how-federal-disaster-money-favors-the-rich" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">growing</a> after the unequal impacts of disasters.</p>
- Overlooked Flood Risk Endangers Homeowners - EcoWatch ›
- Florida Coastal Flooding Maps: Residents Deny Predicted Risks to ... ›
- Flooding Risk for U.S. Homes: Millions More Are Vulnerable Than ... ›