There’s been a lot of hype around lemon water over the past several years but is there any evidence as to whether or not it actually does anything for the body? Let’s dig a little deeper into why lemon water has been so popular and any health benefits or side effects to drinking it.
What is it?
To put it simply, the drink is just lemon juice and water. People tend to drink it in the morning before food or after food. They have it hot or cold, adding in things like honey or herbs to make it taste a bit nicer. The water itself might be the biggest player in the list of benefits but lemons also provide the body with some important nutrients like Vitamin C and potassium.
Some of the health claims for drinking lemon water every day include better skin, weight loss, and better digestion.
Benefits of lemon water
According to the AUSNUT food database, 100g of lemon juice has 48mg of Vitamin C. By adding the juice of half a lemon to a large glass of water you could be getting between 20-30% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) (45mg).
Getting enough Vitamin C can help reduce blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and fight off scurvy. Potassium is required by the body for proper nerve function, and muscle and heart contractions. Without it, fatigue, muscle weakness, and cramps can occur. Although half a lemon’s worth of juice won’t get you to your daily requirement right away, combining it with other healthy Vitamin C rich options like citrus fruits, tomato and capsicum will get you there.
Taking Vitamin C supplements or drinking lemon water has not been proven to lead to weight loss. However, if you tend to have lots of sugary drinks during the day, swapping some of these out for water will help with weight loss. Infusing your water with fruit overnight will help add more flavour to it and make it more enjoyable!
Hydrating your body is essential, especially in the morning after being asleep for your recommended 8 hours. Drinking enough water helps keep our body working the way it should—keeping cells hydrated, organs functioning and fluid constantly being replaced and replenished throughout the body. If you are feeling a bit sick with cold or flu symptoms, drinking lots of warm or hot liquids (even adding in lemon) will both physically make you feel better and also tricks your brain into feeling less of those cold/flu symptoms. Being adequately hydrated is also one of the biggest, if not the biggest nutritional factor which impacts skin health, so if drinking lemon water helps you consume more water, it is a win from that angle.
There is a bit of a myth that lemon water will help improve digestion. Our stomach’s cells excrete lots of acid to break down the foods we eat every day. Adding lemon to your water won’t help the stomach do a better job than it already does, but drinking enough water will help some of the vitamins in your foods be absorbed more easily and also helps further down the digestive tract with healthy and regular bowel movements.
Side effects of lemon water
It’s not recommended to drink water with lemon all day long, as it can increase your risk of these side effects:
1. Tooth Enamel erosion
You need to be careful with the amount of lemon you add and how often you drink it. Because lemon juice is very acidic, this can eventually cause damage to tooth enamel if consumed too often. It can cause the enamel to soften, leading to staining and possibly further dental issues.
2. Worsen stomach issues
If you are someone prone to ulcers, you own stomach’s acidic environment might already cause you issues. Adding extra acid from citrus fruits and other foods can worsen these issues.
The final verdict?
So to answer the question, there are a few positives to adding lemon to your water but in the end, it is not the main contributor to a healthful drink. Drinking regular water will give you the benefits lemon water supposedly brings and will avoid its side effects. But having if hot lemon water is getting you to drink more water, keep it up! Drinking enough every day is one of the most important habits to create in your daily routine.
Overall, lemon water isn’t the magic elixir it’s made out to be because. It doesn’t have special properties that will help you feel better, or look better. The real magic is from having adequate hydration, which helps every single cellular function in the body function better. And that, friends, is where the true magic comes from.