- I drank lemon water every morning for a week — and I saw results
- For a week, I tried drinking lemon water each morning when I woke up
- What Are the Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water?
- Is Lemon Water Good for Digestion?
- Should You Drink Lemon Water in the Morning?
- Risks of Drinking Lemon Water
- The Verdict on Lemon Water
- 13 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Lemons
- You Look Younger
- Your Blood Pressure Goes Down
- You Won’t Feel Hungry
- … And You’ll Lose Weight
- You Fight Off Inflammation
- You May Fight Off a Cold Quicker
- You’ll Drink More Water
- You’ll Have Fresher Breath
- …But They Can Wreak Havoc on Your Teeth
- You Won’t Get Kidney Stones
- Your Cholesterol Improves
- Your Brain is Protected
- You’ll Be More… Regular
- Lemons: Health Benefits, Nutrition, and Side Effects
- The Origins of Lemon
- Uses of Lemons
- Nutrition Facts of Lemon
- Health Benefits of Lemon
- Other Health Benefits of Lemon
- Different Ways to Use a Lemon
- Selection and Storage
- Lemon Varieties
- Lemons vs. Limes
- Can Lemon Cure Cancer? Debunking a Myth
- Side Effects and Safety of Lemons
- Citric Acid Intolerance and Allergies
- Final Word
- Expert Answers (Q&A)
- The benefits of drinking lemon water
- I Drank Lemon Water Every Day for a Week and This Is What Happened
- Nutritional benefits
- Health claims
- Should I drink lemon water first thing in the morning?
- Effects on teeth
- How to make lemon water
- More healthy guides…
- Which of the benefits of lemon water are actually legit? Let’s investigate.
- Can lemon water help you heal faster when you’re sick?
- Can lemon water help to treat kidney stones?
- Does lemon water actually balance the body’s pH?
- Can drinking lemon water help a person manage their weight?
- Can lemon water promote healthier skin?
- Does lemon water help with digestion and detoxification?
- So should we be drinking lemon water or nah?
- The Health Benefits of Hot Lemon Water
- 16 Health Benefits Of Drinking Warm Lemon Water
- Lemon Water Flushes Out Toxins And Is Extremely Beneficial For The Body
- Nutritional Value Of Lemons
I drank lemon water every morning for a week — and I saw results
- I tried the lemon water challenge.
- I drank a glass of lemon water each day for a week.
- After that week, I found that my skin was brighter and clearer.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Drinking lemon water in the morning has been touted as a miracle worker. Some swear it gives them better skin and overall health. This winter, to see if these claims have any validity to them, I decided to try something new by attempting the lemon water challenge.
In case you’re unfamiliar with it: Many people claim that drinking warm lemon water each morning can provide you with health benefits from clearing up acne to boosting your immune system with vitamin C, which helps fight the common cold and flu.
After reading many testimonials online, I couldn’t help but become persuaded by all the alleged health benefits and decided to give it a try.
For a week, I tried drinking lemon water each morning when I woke up
Lemon water is another way to get vitamin C and increase hydration. rpavich/Flickr
The process was simple: Each morning before work, somewhere between 8 and 9 a.m., I combined 8 fluid ounces of water with the juice of half a lemon. Some recipes I found online suggested that the water be warm, but that made for a not-so-great taste. Lemon water truly is a quick, simple, and inexpensive drink. And, if you’re looking for even more nutrients, you can try adding cucumber to the water as well.
The surprising thing is, I actually saw results.
First off, upon the completion of my one-week lemon water challenge, I noticed my skin was almost flawless: no breakouts, no excess oils, no new blemishes. I also found that, to the touch, my skin was much softer and appeared to be much brighter. Essentially, the lemon juice created a natural highlight on my face.
I also found that the lemon water helped with my breath. Having been cursed with bad breath, mornings have always been a particularly difficult time for me. However, I soon found that the lemon water improved this: The fruit’s citric acid helps to break down and fight bacteria in the mouth.
A few days after I stopped drinking lemon water each morning, I found that some acne started to come back. So, it appears to be true: Lemon water really does help with complexion.
Lemon water seemed to make my skin clearer and less oily. karolinamis/Flickr
At the end of the week, I also found I was much less bloated. Lemons are a natural diuretic and help the body let go of any extra salt it’s hanging on to. In turn, this decreases bloating.
Other than improving my complexion and making me less bloated, I didn’t really notice any other health benefits. Of course, I didn’t get sick during this week, so perhaps the lemon water did boost my immune system. It may have also helped my internal organs, but I’m unable to pinpoint that.
On the other hand, there were some negative effects of drinking lemon water. I found each day that I became thirsty faster in the mornings. I also found that if I didn’t quench this thirst, a weird aftertaste was left in my mouth.
Overall, I would certainly consider adding lemon or infused water into my daily routine. The benefits to my skin were undeniable and, although I may have been thirstier, there’s nothing wrong with staying extra hydrated.
- 8 common myths about the benefits of drinking lemon water
- 6 scary things that can happen if you drink too much lemon water
- I drank hot lemon water every morning for a month — and now I’m making it a permanent part of my daily routine
- 10 ways lemon water actually affects your skin
Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Hilary Duff, Christie Brinkley, and Gisele Bundchen all reportedly love lemon water in its many forms—hot, cold, and lukewarm.
Those celebrity endorsements are part of the reason why lemon water has scored a reputation as the overachieving beverage we should all start our morning with. Some say that drinking lemon water in the morning promotes digestion, balances the body’s pH levels, and detoxifies from the inside out. Others claim it brightens the skin while bolstering the immune system. And many optimists believe lemon water spurs weight loss.
Can such a cheap, simple, make-at-home drink live up to the hype? We asked registered dietitians to break down the real benefits of lemon water.
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Does Lemon Juice Really Deliver?
After eight hours of Zs, a glass of H2O with a lemon slice is a great, low-cal (one slice contains two calories) way to start your morning, says registered dietitian Wesley Delbridge, R.D., a spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. “But the water part of lemon water is to thank for most of the science-backed benefits of lemon water,” he says.
Most people don’t drink enough water, so when they up their H2O intake (with or without the slice of lemon), they’ll usually experience the so-called benefits of lemon water, such as decreased constipation, tighter skin, and weight loss, he explains.
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While dehydration can slow metabolic rate, most lemon-water-linked weight loss happens when people use it to replace high-cal beverages like soda or fruit juice. Dehydration can also slow brain function to torpedo your energy levels and allow brain fog to set in, he says. (If your urine is light yellow or clear, you’re probably hydrated. But if it’s darker than that, you probably need to drink more water.)
But sipping any kind of water: hot, cold, flavored, or plain, will do the trick.
No, lemon water isn’t magical, says Delbridge, and so far there are no studies that support the claimed benefits of lemon water. And the lemon itself doesn’t actually provide a ton of nutritional value.
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After all, even though lemons do contain vitamin C, and studies link vitamin C deficiency to poor immune function, lemons contain so little of the immunity-boosting nutrient that it likely won’t make any impact on whether or not you catch a cold. According to the National Institutes of Health, women need about 75 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C per day, but a slice’s-worth of lemon juice only has about one mg. If you also eat the pulp, you can get up to four mg, or 5 percent of your daily needs, says Jonathan Valdez, R.D.N., owner of Genki Nutrition and a spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The same goes for lemon’s flavonoids, antioxidants that research has shown to fight cancer, says Valdez. He says a glass of lemon water won’t even hit 1 percent of your daily needs.
Meanwhile, the claims that lemon water detoxifies the body and, through its acidity, somehow alters blood pH, are flat-out false, says Delbridge. While the liver and kidneys tightly regulate the removal of toxins from your body, the lungs, kidneys, blood, and bones all work together to maintain your body’s perfect pH. Translation: The foods you eat won’t alter your pH whatsoever.
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Sip This Way
If you have trouble staying hydrated, aren’t a fan of plain ‘ole water, or are trying to cut back on high-calorie drinks, go ahead and try lemon water, recommend both Delbridge and Valdez.
That said, the acidic concoction is not for everyone. Drinking lemon water, especially in large amounts, can actually cause a burning sensation in your stomach, and can exacerbate the symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn, Valdez explains. Meanwhile, it can also weaken tooth enamel and irritate the gums, Delbridge says. So if you do want to try lemon water, drink it through a straw.
Bottom line: If you like the taste, go ahead and add some lemon to your morning glass of water. But don’t expect it to yield miracles.
Gabrielle Kassel Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
What Are the Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water?
Celebrities and social media influencers have touted the benefits of drinking lemon water for years. Some proponents even follow a daily “lemon water detox” by drinking a glass of the stuff every morning. They claim it helps boost energy, mental clarity, and weight loss. But are there any real, scientifically proven health benefits? And what does drinking lemon water do to your body? We dug in to find out.
Is Lemon Water Good for Digestion?
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One of the biggest claims about lemon water is that it can aid digestion. Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies told Readers Digest, “The citrus flavonoids in lemon aid the acid in the stomach in breaking down food, which may improve overall digestion.”
Drinking lemon with warm water seems to provide the greatest digestive benefits because it helps relax your stomach muscles, but just increasing your general water consumption—with or without lemon, hot or cold—has some major benefits, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drinking water can help regulate your body temp, protect your spinal cord and tissues, and get rid of waste in your body.
Our dietitian, Brierley Horton, MS, RD, says, “Staying hydrated helps keep normal body functions humming along as they should, keeps you feeling awake and alert, and can ward off any fake feelings of hunger.”
If you enjoy the taste of lemon water, and if it helps you hydrate throughout the day, by all means add it to your routine. You might become more regular, which could ease constipation and help your body get rid of excess waste.
Should You Drink Lemon Water in the Morning?
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Certain factors—like how you breathe while asleep and your bedroom temperature—can influence how much fluid you lose during the night. Whether you mix fresh lemon juice into your water or not, it’s probably a good idea to drink a glass or two first thing in the a.m.
However, you shouldn’t limit hydrating to only mornings. The National Sleep Foundation makes the following recommendation: “Focus on drinking plenty of non-caffeinated fluids regularly throughout the day. Waiting until bedtime to do your drinking sets you up for multiple nighttime bathroom trips, making it difficult to achieve quality sleep and making it tougher to wake up in the morning. Practice spreading your fluid intake throughout your day to maximize the odds of sleeping soundly at night.”
So, while that first cup of lemon water in the morning could help replenish fluids you lost in the night and set you up for adequate hydration during the day, there aren’t really any other proven health benefits.
Can Drinking Lemon Water Help You Lose Weight?
Image zoom Photo: Getty Images / Kerin Forstmanis / EyeEm
It appears that lemon water’s link to weight loss has less to do with the added lemon, and more to do with just drinking enough water. Jodi Stookey, PhD, a nutrition epidemiologist and hydration researcher with the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research institute, conducted a study that found drinking at least four glasses of water a day increased weight loss. “Water can actually help promote weight loss in many ways,” she says. “By substituting water for sugary beverages or juice, you’ve removed calories and carbohydrates. Then, if you have enough water, you can start seeing more efficient insulin pathways and an acceleration of fat burning.”
There’s another unexpected way that drinking lemon water may aid in your weight loss efforts. One little lemon wedge packs 6% of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, which one study showed may help prevent obesity. Another rodent study examined the benefits of lemon polyphenols—which act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents—and found they helped combat weight gain in obese mice.
Risks of Drinking Lemon Water
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The only potential (and, frankly, unexpected) downside of drinking lemon water is that it could erode your tooth enamel over time. Lemons are highly acidic, and one study even showed they are more damaging to your teeth than soda. While a squeeze of lemon here and there is probably fine, make sure to dilute your lemon juice with plenty of water to ensure you’re keeping your teeth safe in the long run.
Horton says, “Be mindful of what that added lemon could do to your teeth and talk with your dentist about what you can do to maintain teeth enamel.”
The Verdict on Lemon Water
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While current findings are encouraging, lemon water isn’t a magic potion or cure-all. Much of the research about the benefits of lemon water revolves around mice, and additional studies are strongly needed to further prove health claims.
Horton recommends, “If you like the taste of lemon water, and it helps you meet your daily water quota, then go for it.”
13 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Lemons
At least, that’s how the old adage should go. Sure, lemons are sour, bitter, and highly acidic—they don’t exactly make for an appealing snack by themselves. But they are also chock-full of vitamins and antioxidants, making them some of the healthiest fruits on the planet.
Although the citrus fruit tastes much better mixed with water and a ton of sugar, lemonade isn’t exactly good for you (sorry Beyoncé). Luckily, there are healthier ways to enjoy their bright yellow goodness: squeeze one into a glass of hot or cold water, add fresh lemon juice to salad dressings, or grate the peel for fresh lemon zest. The entire fruit from peel to pulp is good for you, which is why our editors at Eat This, Not That! researched exactly what happens when you eat one. And to discover even more stomach-slimming tips, check out these best ways to boost your metabolism!
You Look Younger
Don’t waste your money on expensive face creams or spa treatments; adding some lemon to your diet could be all you need to achieve a youthful glow. According to a study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, high vitamin C intake was associated with a lower likelihood to develop wrinkles and less skin dryness; two physical traits that can age you big time. Since one lemon contains about half of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C, stocking up on the citrus fruit will make you immortal… or at least, look like you are.
Your Blood Pressure Goes Down
High blood pressure can lead to scary stuff like kidney failure, a heart attack or a stroke. Luckily, eating lemons on the regular has been proven to help. People who ate at least half a lemon a day, coupled with walking about 7,000 steps, greatly increased their blood pressure levels, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Although lemons shouldn’t be the sole treatment for something as serious as high blood pressure, it’s a promising health benefit; a lemon a day could keep the doctor away.
You Won’t Feel Hungry
If overeating is a problem for you, then lemons could be the answer. Pectin, which is found in the peel and pulp of citrus fruits like lemons, has been proven to help people feel fuller, longer. People who ate just 5 grams of pectin experienced more satiety, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Although it would take a few lemons to reach 5 grams, add pulpy lemon juice to your water throughout the day.
… And You’ll Lose Weight
Lemons are rich in polyphenols, which are naturally-occurring compounds that contain antioxidants. Although citrus fruits have their own combination of polyphenols, the ones found in lemons can have significant health benefits. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition found that mice who were fed a high-fat diet and also lemon polyphenols experienced suppression of fat accumulation and weight gain, and an improvement in levels of blood sugar, leptin, and insulin. Although scientific results in mice don’t always translate to the same in humans, the researchers still recommend an intake in lemon polyphenols as a way to combat obesity.
You Fight Off Inflammation
Although regular inflammation is important for your body’s immune response to fight off something like a cold, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain, fatigue, digestive issues, mood swings, and even cancer—pretty nasty stuff. Luckily, vitamin C has antioxidant properties that have been proven to reduce inflammation, according to a study published in the Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry. vitamin C was found to be beneficial during inflammatory conditions, including protecting immune cells. For more antioxidant-rich foods, check out our list of foods that fight inflammation.
You May Fight Off a Cold Quicker
There’s a reason your mom told you to stock up on orange juice if you have a cold; vitamin C has long been essential for staving off cold symptoms and boosting immunity. Although research on just how much vitamin C has an impact on the common cold is mixed, it did show some therapeutic benefits at the onset of symptoms, according to a review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. It also had positive respiratory health benefits, another bonus when fighting off an annoying cold.
You’ll Drink More Water
There’s no denying that water by itself is pretty boring. Although drinking plenty of water is associated with such positive health benefits as losing weight, a faster metabolism and more energy, sipping on plain, flavorless liquid gets tiresome. Adding lemon juice water makes it more refreshing and palatable. Even the CDC recommends adding a fresh lemon squeeze to still or sparkling water in lieu of soda, which is terrible for you.
You’ll Have Fresher Breath
Nothing ruins the mood like bad breath. But if you’re out of gum or mints, reach for a lemon! Eating lemon is known to freshen up your home, and the same can be said for your mouth. The acid in lemon juice neutralizes odors, which helps combat nasty breath from things like garlic and onions.
…But They Can Wreak Havoc on Your Teeth
Just don’t go overboard on the lemon juice. Lemons are highly acidic, which can wear away the enamel of your teeth. Once your tooth enamel is gone, there’s no getting it back, and enamel erosion can lead to discoloration and extreme tooth sensitivity. Lemons may have amazing health benefits, but it’s best to enjoy them in moderation (like anything else).
You Won’t Get Kidney Stones
If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, then you know the excruciating pain that comes with trying to pass one. But if eating lemons is a regular part of your diet, you may not have to worry about it. Lemons have a high amount of citrate, which has been proven to naturally prevent the formation of kidney stones. A study published in Urology found that patients who received lemonade therapy (four ounces of lemon juice in two liters of water a day with little to no sugar) formed kidney stones at a slower rate than before they started treatment. It was so beneficial, the researchers recommend lemonade therapy as an alternative treatment for kidney stone removal. Speaking of staying healthy, read up on bad habits that make you sick and fat for more salt and sugar duos that you should steer clear of to avoid weight gain!
Your Cholesterol Improves
Lemons are chock-full of cholesterol-fighting ingredients, including vitamin C, which has been proven to lower levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, according to a study in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. Lemons also contain flavonoids, which lowered the levels of LDL and triglycerides in participants of a study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. And the pectin in lemon peels was found to lower hamsters’ cholesterol in a European Journal of Nutrition study. Although hamsters aren’t humans, there’s enough strong evidence to add lemons to your daily diet for cholesterol-lowering benefits.
Your Brain is Protected
People tend to focus on what’s healthiest for their body, but your brain needs nourishment and protection, too. Severe cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are common with age, but there could be some lifestyle changes that help combat their onset. Lemons could help stave off severe mental decline, according to a review published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Maintaining healthy vitamin C levels was shown to protect against age-related cognitive decline. So make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C now to protect your brain down the road.
You’ll Be More… Regular
If you can stomach eating an entire lemon (skin and all!) your digestive tract will thank you. Lemons are made up of mostly soluble fiber, which help healthy gut bacteria thrive and can lead to smooth and regular bowel movements. Lemons also contain citric acid, which may also help with digestion, although studies are conflicted if it really makes a difference in humans or not.
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Lemons: Health Benefits, Nutrition, and Side Effects
In this article:
- Lemons are originally from India and were later found in China at around 2000 BC.
- Lemons are oval in shape with a bright-yellow textured peel, and their flesh is found within about 10 segments.
- Lemon juice is used in cooking, baking, making beverages, and cleaning items around the home.
- The oil from lemon peel is often used in furniture polish, detergent, soaps, perfumes, and other body care products. The dehydrated peel from a lemon is often used in cattle feed.
- Lemon is a popular home remedy, but there is not much scientific evidence to back up most claims.
- Daily consumption of lemon can erode tooth enamel.
The lemon (Citrus limon) is a popular fruit around the globe and is used in cooking, baking, making beverages, cleaning, and more. Every part of the lemon, from peel to flesh, can be used and enjoyed.
As many cultures have enjoyed lemon for centuries, it is found in many cuisines. This article will review the history and varieties of lemon and its health benefits. It will also share some tasty recipes that use lemon.
The Origins of Lemon
The Rutaceae family is native to northeastern India. Thus, the origins of the lemon tree can be traced back to this area.
In 2000 BC, lemons spread into China and eventually found their way to Persia and the Mediterranean by about 700 AD. In fact, Roman mosaic tiles from the second century featured depictions of lemons.
Christopher Columbus brought lemons to the Americas, and the Portuguese took lemons to Brazil. This yellow fruit spread throughout the New World.
Uses of Lemons
Lemons have so many uses throughout the world due to their unique flavor and aroma. Some popular uses are:
- Flavoring in cooked foods and desserts
- Salad dressings
Lemon juice is sold fresh, canned, concentrated, frozen, dehydrated, and powdered. It is often used in beverages such as lemonade, soft drinks, cocktails, and tea. It can also be used in tarts, pies, baked bars, cakes, cookies, icings, puddings, sherbet, candies, and preserves.
Lemon juice is also sometimes included in pharmaceutical products. It is used as both a flavoring agent and a functional ingredient.
When added to cream before whipping, lemon juice helps to stabilize it for a longer period of time.
Lemon is often used as a stain remover; cut lemon dipped in salt can also be used to polish copper pots.
Nutrition Facts of Lemon
Lemon contains many nutrients and is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium; vitamins A, B, and C; and fiber.
The citric acid in lemon is known for its immune-boosting, antibacterial, and antiviral qualities. (1)
Lemon is rich in water. In 100 grams of lemon, there are only 29 calories, 1 gram of protein, very little fat, 9 grams of carbohydrate, and almost 3 grams of fiber. It also contains 138 mg of potassium and 53 mg of vitamin C. (1)
Health Benefits of Lemon
Lemon has long been used for health purposes, and research does support some benefits of this bright-yellow fruit.
1. May Prevent Kidney Stones
Lemons boast of having the highest citrate concentration of all citrus fruits. Citrate binds to calcium, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming.
Drinking lemon juice diluted in water daily has been shown to reduce the risk of kidney stones by increasing the amount of citrate and potassium. (2)
One study found that drinking lemonade increased urinary citrate and overall urine volume, which are beneficial for the prevention of kidney stones. The same study found that the intake of potassium citrate in combination with lemonade increased urinary citrate even more. (3)
The citrate in lemons can help prevent kidney stones, and lemon can also have a diuretic effect. More research is needed about how much lemon juice to take and how to use lemon for the prevention of kidney stones.
2. Promotes Cardiovascular Health
This citrus fruit is known for its vitamin C content. In fact, 53 mg of vitamin C is found in every 100 grams of lemon, which is about 80% of your daily required need.
Vitamin C relaxes the blood vessels and helps them dilate. When blood vessels dilate, called vasodilation, they open wider. The blood vessels of people who have plaque in the arteries are not able to dilate properly.
A decrease in vasodilation is also found in those with chest pains, diabetes, congestive heart failure, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure. One of the risk factors for heart disease is a decrease in vasodilation capability.
Some studies found that vitamin C may improve cholesterol levels and stiffness in the arteries. It may also cause improvement in the lining of the arteries.
However, other studies have not been able to prove these claims and found varied results on vitamin C’s effects on heart disease risk and death.
Several studies demonstrated that vitamin C deficiency is correlated with a higher risk of death from heart disease. Vitamin C may also improve the lining of blood vessels and cholesterol levels in those who are already low in vitamin C. (4)(5)
Vitamin C deficiency is very rare. Additionally, citrus fruits such as lemons contain flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidant compounds.
These compounds may help improve high cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, fatty liver, plaques in the arteries, and obesity. However, more research is needed to determine how effective and safe these compounds are as well as how to use them. (6)
Potassium can also help lower blood pressure, and lemons are good sources of this mineral. Potassium often counteracts the effect of sodium by helping the body shuttle excess sodium out via the urine.
One study found that lemon consumption was linked to a decrease in systolic blood pressure. The study also found that those who regularly walked, in addition to consuming lemon, saw the greatest improvements. (7)
Consuming lemon may increase the blood citric acid concentration and a walk may decrease blood pressure. It is thought that lemon and walking actually decrease blood pressure through different pathways.
There are compounds in lemon that may promote cardiovascular health. Vitamin C may help relax the blood vessels and reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The potassium in lemons has also been shown to decrease blood pressure. Flavonoids may also improve heart health. More research is still needed in this area.
3. May Help With Weight Loss
Many people believe that drinking hot lemon water can help with weight loss. But there is not much evidence that can prove this method to be effective.
One study found that drinking lemon honey juice four times per day while fasting helped individuals lose weight, but it remains unclear whether it was the lemon honey juice or the act of fasting that helped. (8)
Drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to obesity due to the high-calorie content. Thus, simply switching to a lower-calorie alternative such as lemon water may help with weight loss.
While often recommended as a weight loss aid, lemon water has not been proven to help with weight reduction.
4. Boosts Immunity
Lemons contain a lot of vitamin C, which has been shown to bolster the immune system and help the body fight off colds, flu, and other illnesses. (9)
Studies have shown that vitamin C helps reduce the duration and severity of colds. Given lemon’s overall safety, wide availability, and low cost, individuals suffering from a cold may want to add lemon to their tea or drink lemon water to see if it helps. (10)
Lemons also contain saponins, which act as antimicrobial agents. These may help fight off bacteria as well.
Lemon may help prevent colds, flu, and other illnesses, but more research is needed.
Other Health Benefits of Lemon
1. Skin and Hair Health
Many people drink lemon water to enhance the appearance of their skin. Lemon does contain a lot of vitamin C and antioxidants, which have been shown to help fight free-radical damage and combat the signs of aging.
Some facial creams formulated to eliminate age spots on the skin contain lemon. Vitamin C can help even out pigmentation without irritating the skin. The citric acid in lemons works as an alpha hydroxy acid, which can exfoliate the skin.
Niacin (B3) is also found in lemons, which can even out the complexion and fight dry skin.
Lemon compounds are often used in skincare. Exercise caution before applying lemon directly to the face, as it may cause irritation due to its acidic content.
2. Lemon for Anemia
The vitamin C and citric acid in lemon can help the body absorb iron from fruits, vegetables, and grains, decreasing the risk of iron-deficiency anemia.
3. May Improve Digestion
Some people believe that lemon can aid digestion.
It is thought that since lemon is acidic and your digestive enzymes are also acidic, lemon juice stimulates your liver to produce more bile, which can help with digestion. However, there is no evidence for this claim.
Nevertheless, drinking lemon water after a meal is considered safe. Although it is acidic, it is hydrating, which can help with digestion.
Different Ways to Use a Lemon
1. Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon oil contains d-limonene, l-limonene, and terpenes, as well as the aldehyde citral, which is responsible for lemon’s distinct aroma.
One study found that citrus oil used in aromatherapy may help relieve labor pain. It may also reduce nausea and vomiting and elevate mood. (13)(14)
2. Lemon Peel and Zest
The peel of a lemon has some calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. It is also a source of antioxidant flavonoids and pectin. (15)
The limonene in lemon peels and oil may have cancer-fighting properties and may also help relieve heartburn. It is safe to consume lemon peels, but they should be washed thoroughly, as they may contain insecticides, pesticides, and a wax coating.
Lemon zest is often used in salad dressings and marinades, but it can also be used in yogurt, smoothies, and soups.
3. Lemon Seeds
The oil from lemon seeds is often used in beauty products, pharmaceuticals, and supplements. It is believed that lemon seed oil helps to detoxify the digestive system and treat acne, although none of these claims have been proven.
If consumed in large amounts, lemon seeds could lead to irritation. Accidental consumption of lemon seeds is not likely to cause any issues or problems.
The peel, zest, oil, and seeds of lemons are used for a variety of purposes and can be safely consumed in moderation.
Selection and Storage
Lemons should be heavy for their size with a firm, smooth, thin skin. They can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Here are the popular varieties of lemon:
- Eureka – Very pale-green flesh, pointed bottom, and rippled rough skin
- Meyer – A hybrid that has a smooth pale-orange skin and a sweet taste
- Lisbon – Yellow flesh with smooth skin, often used in cooking and juicing, the most commonly grown
Lemons vs. Limes
Lemons are oval and have a yellow, textured, sometimes bumpy peel. The two main varieties of lemons are the Eureka and Lisbon, although Meyer is gaining popularity.
Limes are smaller in sizes, can be oval or round, and have a green peel and flesh. They can be sweet or sour.
Limes do contain more natural sugar and are therefore considered to be less sour than lemons. There are two varieties of limes, the Key lime and the Tahitian lime.
Can Lemon Cure Cancer? Debunking a Myth
There are some claims that drinking lemon water for 1-3 months will cause cancer to “disappear.” This claim has absolutely no scientific evidence.
Beneficial compounds are found in lemons, but the amount of these compounds does not match the equivalent needed to be a therapeutic alternative to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other proven methods.
Additionally, the beneficial compounds found in lemons have not been tested in human trials. (11)(12)
There is no evidence that consuming lemon will cure cancer.
Side Effects and Safety of Lemons
Due to its popularity, lemon is consumed around the world in a variety of foods and beverages. While generally thought to be safe, excessive consumption can be problematic.
Tooth enamel can erode if frequently exposed to acidic foods, like lemons. If you drink lemon water regularly, it may be beneficial to brush your teeth afterward. You may also consider drinking it from a straw.
Acidic foods may also irritate existing mouth sores. Additionally, excessive vitamin C can lead to nausea and stomach pain. Because lemon is so acidic, excessive lemon or lemon juice consumption may worsen ulcers.
When taken excessively, lemons and lemon juice may result in excessive urination, which in turn may cause dehydration.
The amino acid tyramine found in lemons may trigger migraines. Moderate consumption of lemon will likely not cause a problem, but be cautious of using lemon excessively if you suffer from migraines.
Enjoying lemons and lemon juice in moderation is fine, but drinking a lot of lemon-based beverages, squeezing lemon in your water and tea frequently, and using lemon daily to flavor your dishes and desserts may lead to unfavorable health outcomes.
Lemon has not been found to interact with vitamins. There is currently not enough scientific evidence to state the correct amount of lemon to be taken safely.
If you are using lemon juice topically on your skin, it is always better to do a patch test first. It may be too harsh for certain skin types.
Lemons are generally recognized as safe if enjoyed in moderation. Excessive lemon consumption may result in erosion of tooth enamel, irritated ulcers, excessive urination, migraines, and more.
Citric Acid Intolerance and Allergies
A citrus allergy is caused by a reaction to a specific protein found in citrus fruit. People with an intolerance to citric acid may react not only to citrus fruits but also to some vegetables and processed foods that use citric acid as a preservative.
A citric acid intolerance does not trigger an autoimmune response, whereas an allergy does.
When the body does not produce enough of a particular enzyme or chemical needed to process and digest a component in food, an intolerance occurs. A common intolerance is lactose intolerance.
Those with a citrus allergy or citric acid intolerance are advised to avoid all citrus foods, including lemons.
- Butter – 1 cup
- Sugar, divided – 2 cups
- All-purpose flour – 21/4 cups
- Large eggs – 4
- Lemons, juiced – 2
- Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Stir together 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, and the softened butter in a bowl. Combine well until the mixture holds together.
- Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Pat until the crust’s thickness is even.
- Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes at 350 °F. The crust should be firm and golden. Allow it to cool.
- In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup of flour and 11/2 cups of sugar.
- Whisk in the lemon juice and eggs. Combine well.
- Pour the lemon mixture over the cooled crust.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350 °F. Pull the bars from the oven, and set the pan on a cooling rack. The bars will continue to firm as they cool.
- Once completely cooled, cut the bars into 2×2 inch squares.
- Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar if desired.
- Peaches, pitted, peeled, and chopped – 2 medium
- Sugar – 1 cup
- Water, divided – 4 cups
- Lemon juice – 3/4 cup
- Lemon, sliced into half-moons – 1 medium
- Mint (optional)
- Bring 2 cups of water, the chopped peaches, and sugar to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes. The peaches should be tender.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a large pitcher, mix the remaining 2 cups of water (chilled) with the lemon juice and the peach mixture. Add the sliced lemons and mint, if using. Stir well to combine.
- Serve over ice.
Lemons are popular around the world and used in a variety of ways. They are used to flavor foods and beverages. They are also used in beauty products, body care items, and cleaning products.
Lemons have been prized in many cultures for their health benefits. While lemons can help boost immunity and may improve kidney and heart health, many other health claims have been overblown and lack scientific evidence. This well-loved fruit may be enjoyed safely in moderation in a variety of dishes.
Expert Answers (Q&A)
Answered by Ms. Kathleen Putnam, MS, RDN, CDN
Can lemons help cleanse the kidneys and prevent scurvy?
Lemons were once known to be the best way to prevent scurvy. Today, with supplementation of the food supply and enrichment of so many products, lemons are no longer typically used this way.
Lemons are still excellent natural sources of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, both rich in antioxidants. Lemons also have high quantities of citric acid, which has been thought to support kidney health by boosting urinary citric acid levels and reducing calcium-containing kidney stones.
Although this may change in the future, lemon juice’s current role in preventing kidney stones remains theoretical in the research.
Does lemon benefit the skin too?
There is some concern that applying lemon juice externally to light-skinned individuals may increase the risk of sunburn. Hence, such use is not advised.
Can lemon react with medication?
There are no known food/medication interactions with lemons.
What are the benefits of drinking lemon water daily?
Drinking lemon water daily may elevate the citric acid levels in the urine, which may help prevent kidney stones if they are calcium-containing. However, this claim remains inconclusive. For some people who find water alone to be flavorless and undesirable, putting lemon in drinking water can significantly improve hydration.
Does lemon have any side effects on oral health?
My father was a dentist and always hated watching our family competitions to see who could eat a lemon without puckering – a family contest that would happen every time lemons were served with our beverages. He would say, “Now rinse your mouth and get rid of all that acid from the lemon – it will erode your teeth!”
If you enjoy drinking lemon water, chewing your lemons, or using lemon juice on your food items regularly, enjoy the taste and health benefits and rinse well after.
Also, follow proper dental care daily to prevent erosion of the enamel from the acidity of lemon juice.
Can consuming lemon every day cure anemia?
Hypothetically, if lemon juice is added to your diet to boost the vitamin C content while adding iron-rich foods that are non-heme sources of iron (plant sources of iron such as nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, and greens), lemons could indirectly improve iron deficiency anemia.
Vitamin C from any food source or supplement, when eaten with plant foods that are high in dietary iron, can boost the body’s iron absorption. This is important as iron deficiency anemia is the number one micronutrient issue around the world.
Can lemon juice be used in face masks to rejuvenate the skin?
Vitamin C, not lemon per se, has been shown to be beneficial when added to facial products because, as an antioxidant, it helps protect the skin. However, the application of lemon itself to the skin may cause problems upon sun exposure and, therefore, is not recommended.
What are the benefits of including lemon in the daily diet?
– Lemons are flavor enhancers. Lemons (both the juice and zest) can bring out the flavor of a number of dishes and beverages. They can provide a zip to any food item.
– Add slices of lemons to your water each day for a refreshing drink.
– Squeeze lemon over your vegetables, grains, and salads (both fruit and green salads) for added flavor.
– Squeeze lemon over fresh fish and enjoy.
– Lemon juice added to dishes instead of salt can help reduce sodium in your diet.
About Ms. Kathleen Putnam, MS, RDN, CDN: Kathleen holds a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University and is an online lifestyle coach for patients with diabetes. She also runs a successful coaching practice working with hundreds of patients. She also serves as an associate professor teaching nutrition and human development in multiple higher-education institutions in Seattle.
Kathleen has worked as a trainer with the Dean Ornish Program for reversing heart disease. She is also a certified provider of the Emotional Brain Training (EBT) Program of Dr. Laurel Mellin, helping clients end stress eating.
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You know what triggers automatic eye-rolls in health writers like me? Claims about the miracle benefits of certain foods or ingredients — especially when it’s something that was in your great-great grandma’s fridge, back when they called it an ice box and only rich people had them.
Look, I get it: We’d all love to discover a simple, natural, inexpensive and not-totally-disgusting ingredient that will make us energetic, slender, radiant, sharp, and able to blow away a bad mood in a single bite.
But my default when I’m covering something like the benefits of lemon water is to think, If lemon water were so great, people who read about health for a living would have heard about it somewhere other than on social media. Especially when you have genetically stunning and already healthy-seeming celeb types like Gisele Bündchen, Lauren Conrad, and Miranda Kerr boosting the signal.
Turns out, this is one case in which there are actual science-backed reasons to consider making this particular sip part of your daily routine. “I’m the first person to myth bust when it comes to nutrition, but as annoying as the lemon water rumors may be, there are certainly some benefits,” says dietician Lauren Slayton, M.S., R.D., founder of Foodtrainers in New York City. “I spend a good portion of my day discouraging people from trying semi-dangerous supplements and cutting out processed, crappy ingredients. So c’mon, let’s give lemon water a break.”
Before we get to the why you might want to drink lemon water, let’s define our terms. We’re not talking about that single floating spa slice to make water drinking prettier and slightly less boring. “When we discuss the benefits of lemon water, I’m referring to the juice of ½ or more of a lemon in water,” says Slayton, who likes this lemon and lime smusher to help her get the right amount. She also notes that organic lemons should be your main squeeze. “We want lemon water and not pesticide water, particularly if you let the lemon float in water.”
One caveat: Lemon water is safe, but you should also drink lots of plain water, according to the American Dental Association, because the acid in lemon and other citrus can erode tooth enamel over time.
The benefits of drinking lemon water
- For one thing, it’s water. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 44% of women drink less than 4 cups a day. While how much you need depends on a bunch of things like how hot it is and how much exercise you get, many people walk around dehydrated, which can make you feel woozy, spaced out, and headachy. According to the CDC, you can get your fluid through juicy food and other beverages, but a low-sugar option like lemon water is a smart move. “Rehydrating first thing in the morning after sleep is a good habit,” says Slayton.
- It can blunt your sweet tooth. Lemon water is sour and the peel is bitter. “Bitter foods are one tool to control sweet cravings,” says Slayton. Granted, this study was done on fruit flies, but there’s no downside to trying it yourself, especially if you like the taste.
- It has good-for-you chemicals. These include antioxidants and flavonoids that may protect your cells from damage and help reduce inflammation. “Many of these compounds are found in the peel, so you want to use a little zest in that lemon water,” says Slayton. Vitamin C, in particular, is a powerful antioxidant, and although there isn’t a ton of it in the juice of half a lemon, lemon water adds to your intake.
- Some find it helps with constipation. Slayton recommends you use warm lemon water if this is your main issue.
- If you’re prone to kidney stones, lemon water is your friend. These incredibly painful crystals form in your kidneys when substances (calcium, uric acid and oxalate) become concentrated, and drinking lemon water (with the juice of two lemons per day) can help prevent the stones from forming in the first place.
- It may help your skin. While the amount of Vitamin C in lemons alone won’t make you forever young and spot-free, the antioxidant is protective against the effects of the sun, and so can help prevent wrinkles and discoloration. It’s also involved in collagen synthesis—collagen is the protein in your skin that keeps it plump.
- It may help with blood sugar response. There is some research that showed that in a lab setting, lemon juice slowed the digestion of starch, leading to the thought that perhaps it do the same in real people in real life. This would potentially blunt the blood sugar response, making it less likely you’d store excess sugar in your blood as fat (this study on mice gets at that, and no, we’re not just giant mice, but since lemon water won’t hurt you, there’s no harm in trying.) Besides, “The more controlled our blood sugar, the better and more steady our energy is,” says Slayton.
Bottom line: Drinking lemon water is a small positive thing you can easily do. “On its own it isn’t going to morph you into a healthy person, but it’s a good and safe habit,” says Slayon. “Oftentimes healthy begets healthy and can pave the way for other positive changes.”
Stephanie Dolgoff Deputy director, Health Newsroom, Hearst Lifestyle Group Stephanie, an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author, has written and edited about health, fitness, and wellness for such publications as Good Housekeeping, Self, Glamour, Real Simple, Parenting, Cosmo and more.
I Drank Lemon Water Every Day for a Week and This Is What Happened
All through college I had a rainbow-colored CamelBak water bottle that served as a near-daily accessory to my school ensembles. The sound of sloshing water followed me from class to class, alerting friends and professors alike that I was coming.
Water is a central part of my life. I have an almost Pavlovian response to water being poured into my glass at restaurants. I will drink it no matter how much water I have previously consumed. I once read somewhere that because coffee is dehydrating, for every cup you drink, you should have a glass of water — and I drink a lot of coffee, so I drink a lot of water. I also eat a lot of fruits and vegetables with high water content like cucumber, watermelon, and pineapple.
I totally buy into the whole “drink water” culture that has taken over beauty blogs, Instagrams, and Twitters. It’s been touted as a cure-all for skin issues, headaches, bloating, and difficulty sleeping, and I have noticed that when I drink what I consider to be a lot of water, my skin looks better, I get fewer headaches, and I sleep more deeply.
So when my editor proposed that I take on a hydrating challenge — to drink lemon water every day for a week — I thought: Cool, I can do that! After all, Cameron Diaz adds lemon to everything, and she’s my second favorite Charlie’s Angel! Why not follow suit?
I had my lovely colleague purchase lemons through Instacart on my behalf for this project. He got me, like, six huge lemons.
Still, I was worried those might not be enough. But luckily, I live in Los Angeles and have lemon trees in my backyard. I could definitely pick some juicy ones if it I ran out.
I messily cut one in half at my desk and squeezed it into the water already in my hot pink S’well bottle. I get lemon all over my desk and floor, but I love the way citrus smells, so oh well. My only issue — not that it is a super-huge issue — is that now there are lemon seeds floating around in my water, and I really don’t want to swallow them.
I take a sip from my bottle and it is delicious. Using half a lemon has flavored the water with my desired level of tartness. What is my desired level you ask? Somewhere between biting into a lemon and very tart lemonade. My mouth feels refreshed, my thirst-quenched.
I refill my water bottle one more time during the afternoon and squeeze in the other half. This lemon water is still refreshing even with water from the semi-nasty water fountain. If anything, it dulls the water fountain taste. I consider this a personal success.
I bring the lemons home and store them on a cake tower in my kitchen. Not only are they delicious, but they are aesthetically pleasing! Now everyone who visits me will think I am a cool woman who cooks with lemon (which I kind of am, if lemon water counts). I squeeze another half of a lemon into my water with dinner.
I drink half of my lemon water on the car ride to work, so I have to fill up my water bottle with the water fountain water again. It dilutes the taste of the lemon, which I don’t love. I cut my lemon in the kitchen this time and squeeze the juice in over the sink. Four lemon seeds sink to the bottom of my bottle.
I fill up my water bottle three times today with the water fountain and use up all the lemon that I brought to work, dumping out the pesky seeds when I finish. I should invest in a strainer, or a tiny spoon to fish them out.
At home, I panic again that I will run out of lemons before this assignment is over. I go outside and grab some juicy looking ones from the lemon tree in my backyard. I have a glass of lemon water while I watch an old episode of Real Housewives of New York and feel incredibly chic and healthy. When Ramona and Sonja toast with glasses of pinot grigio, I raise my cup of lemon water in solidarity. To us!
When I wake up I am immediately thirsty and want a glass of lemon water. I’m usually not this thirsty when I wake up, am I? I make myself a glass of water and get ready for work. I think it’s sort of humorous that I have to make myself a glass of water instead of just pouring it out of my Brita, but overall, exclusively consuming lemon water does seem to agree with my performed high-maintenance aesthetic.
I have brought two lemons to work today anticipating needing them. I am right. I drink a lot of lemon water at my desk. I try to convince myself that drinking all this water is worth standing up to use the restroom every 20 minutes.
Here I am casually sipping lemon water at work. So casual!
I have a glass of lemon water with dinner and one later that evening.
Once again at work, with lemon water in my S’well. I realize that I should probably look up the health benefits of lemon water so I know what to look for when I assess my status. According to my fashion bible and go-to magazine, Glamour, drinking lemon water when you first wake up helps your body’s enzymes function and stimulates your liver and helps it to detox. It also delivers hydration and increases energy. They report that my peers Miranda Kerr, Lauren Conrad, and Jennifer Aniston reportedly also drink lemon water, so I am in excellent company.
Obligatory cold brew and lemon water office pic.
Even though a Jen Aniston approval is usually enough for me, I also want a scientific, medical, or at least wellness-based site’s opinion. After a little internet browsing, I find myself on the website HealthLine.com, which lists the benefits of lemon water as: promoting hydration, providing vitamin C, improving skin quality, supporting weight loss, aiding digestion, freshening breath, and preventing kidney stones.
I am a stickler for fresh breath, so this is exciting news! I am also terrified of one day getting kidney stones, so this also pleases me immensely. I am not shocked about lemon water improving my skin’s quality. I am having a good skin week anyway (probably because I am drinking all of this water), but I did notice this morning that I am looking especially clear under the influence of lemon juice.
I have noticed that because my water has a flavor, I find myself desiring the taste. I forget to bring lemons to work today and have only my water bottle with lemon water in it to cure my craving. I think that maybe I can ration it out?
I end up drinking the entire bottle of water before noon.
I am now drinking nasty water fountain water. It is icky.
Big no from me on the water fountain water. Please note I am using a purple water bottle today!
It is so icky that I go downstairs in my office building and purchase a bottle of Aquafina from a vending machine. It is deliciously cold but the lack of lemon is so depressing!
At home I make a glass of lemon water and enjoy it with dinner. I also have a glass of white wine and remember what Glamour said about lemon water detoxing your liver, so I chase it with another cup of lemon water. My mouth tastes like lemon-flavored white wine — which I now wish was a thing.
I decide to start my day with hot lemon water. I know that actors and musicians do this a lot when they have a sore throat, and even though I don’t, I want a warm beverage that isn’t coffee — shocking, I know. But it’s the weekend. I don’t need caffeine!
First of all, warm lemon water is not great. This feels unfortunate. I decide not to let it go to waste and put a bag of Earl Grey tea in it. Now I am drinking tea with lemon, which is good. I’m not sure what was wrong with the lemon water other than for the first time it tasted incredibly bland. I find that I only desire cold lemon water, because it refreshes, as opposed to warm lemon water, which tastes like….dish water.
I go out to lunch with my grandmother and order water with “a lot of lemons.” They give me water with two lemon wedges that I squeeze into my glass.
I proceed to drink cold lemon water only through the remainder of the day. I decide not to wear foundation because my skin is pretty happy. Perhaps it was worth stepping away from my desk those 800 times to pee!
My last day! Or is it? I have yet to run out of lemons in my backyard. Although I have not noticed an increase in energy, any weight loss, or improved digestion, I have noticed that my skin looks pretty great, and if I could see my insides, I would bet that my liver is positively sparkling.
I am mildly worried about the acid in the lemons eroding the enamel on my teeth, but I use a protective mouthwash so hopefully I’m fine.
I drink lemon water with breakfast and have another glass before I run Sunday errands. As a person who has always been pretty diligent about drinking water, I think my main take away from this experiment is that I want to drink water even more when it has a tasty flavor.
It makes me think of my aunt, a woman who abhors drinking water unless it has a squirt of flavorful Mio in it. I used to think the fact that she only drank flavored water was insane, but now I think she may be on to something.
Are clear skin and proper hydration not enough of a reason for you to drink lemon water? Here’s another reason why putting a lemon in water will change your life.
Lily Rose is The Daily Meal’s West Coast Editor. You can follow her lemon-infused food adventures on Twitter and catch up with all of her content on The Daily Meal here.
Lemons and other citrus fruits are well known for their colourful pitted skins and tart, refreshing taste. Lemons contain citric acid and have a high vitamin C content. The peel of a lemon consists of two layers: the outer zest and a white inner layer, the pith. Surprisingly, it’s this zest and pith which contain significant levels of valuable antioxidants, more in fact, than lemon juice itself. The zest also contains essential oils – the most common of which is called limonene.
Lemons have been used for centuries and have been highly regarded in the past for treating scurvy, a now rare condition that can develop through lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Vitamin C is often claimed to support the immune system, however, studies have been inconclusive. One study found that although vitamin C did not prevent otherwise healthy people from catching the common cold, it may shorten the duration of symptoms, and halved the common cold risk in people exposed to short periods of extreme physical stress (e.g. marathon runners). Lemons also contain protective antioxidants called flavanoids. They are low in calories but high in flavour.
Headlines have linked drinking lemon water to many other health claims, including weight loss, improved digestion, ‘alkalising’ effects on the body, improved skin and detoxification. The research, especially human studies, to support these health claims is minimal.
Some evidence has linked vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) and flavonoids to improvements in skin. Vitamin C is known to help the body produce collagen, which contributes to the integrity of skin.
If you are someone who finds it difficult to drink water, or doesn’t really like the taste, then adding lemon to hot or cold water can make it more palatable. Drinking adequate water will benefit your health. It’s possible to mistake thirst for hunger, so if you have been advised to lose weight, try having a glass of lemon water first when you feel hungry to see if you’re really just thirsty. If you usually opt for fizzy or sugary drinks, lemon water would be a lower-calorie and lower-sugar alternative.
Dehydration is common and can present with headaches, dizziness and tiredness – it’s important to make sure that you consume enough fluid while exercising or in hot weather. The NHS advises drinking 6-8 glasses of fluid, ideally water, a day.
Indigestion, characterised by symptoms of heartburn and bloating, can be uncomfortable. Some people find drinking a glass of lemon water, particularly first thing in the morning, aids digestion. This is mainly subjective and reports are anecdotal.
Should I drink lemon water first thing in the morning?
The effects of lemon water will not change regardless of whether you drink it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. If you like the taste of lemon water, it could be a good choice for first thing in the morning as we often wake up a little dehydrated – especially if you’ve had alcohol or salty food the night before.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that lemon water has an alkalising or detoxing effect on the body. The liver is responsible for eliminating toxins from everything we eat, drink and are exposed to in our environment, so no amount of lemon water is going to ‘detox’ our bodies. There is also no truth to the claims that lemon water balances pH levels.
Effects on teeth
Fruit juices and acidic liquids can impact the enamel of teeth, so it is best to dilute concentrated lemon juice with water or drink through a straw.
How to make lemon water
Lemon water is simply that; the juice and/or slices of lemon including the peel in water. Warm or cold water is up to you. You can add other ingredients and flavours such as orange or mint if desired. The lemons can be juiced (in advance if convienient) and even stored in ice cube trays for freezing. Rolling a lemon between your hands or on a work surface before juicing is said to yield more juice. Unwaxed lemons make the ideal choice if you want to use the lemon zest or add lemon slices to water. If only waxed lemons are available, gently scrub the peel before use.
More healthy guides…
Health benefits of green tea
Health benefits of coconut milk
Health benefits of bananas
Health benefits of ginger
Health benefits of nuts
All our health benefits guides
Our health & nutrition hub
More tips for eating a healthy diet
This article was updated on 4 July 2018 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
Jo Lewin works as a Community Nutritionist and private consultant. She is a Registered Nutritionist (Public Health) registered with the UKVRN. Visit her website at www.nutrijo.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @nutri_jo.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
If there’s one thing that unites women from all different wellness cliques—A-list nutritionists, natural beauty bosses, and fitness fashion moguls alike—it’s gotta be drinking water with lemon. (And let’s not even try and count all the celebrities who’ve made it a part of their a.m. routines.)
The benefits of this quick-and-easy practice are supposedly many, ranging from brighter skin to improved digestion to a boosted immune system and beyond. Of course, these are all welcome side effects of staying well-hydrated, even without a lemon slice in your glass. Which raises an important question: Is that little squeeze of citrus actually doing much more for our bodies than plain water would?
To find out, I consulted naturopathic doctor Erica Matluck, ND, NP, who started by filling me in on the ancient roots of this modern wellness craze. “While drinking lemon water is an Ayurvedic tradition, there are reports of many historical cultures using lemons for medicinal purposes—Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans,” she explains. “The earliest clinical benefits of lemons were observed in 1747 by the Scottish physician James Lind, who added lemon juice to the diets of seamen with scurvy. Though he concluded that lemon juice was effective, he found oranges to be more effective.” (Makes sense, since oranges are higher in immune-boosting vitamin C than any other citrus fruit.)
While there’s been some clinical research on the nutritional value of lemons since then, Dr. Matluck says there have been “few, if any, randomized, controlled studies” on lemon water, specifically. (Womp, womp.) “We know about the health benefits of many of the constituents of lemons, but we don’t have a good body of research to know if adding some lemon juice to your water provides a sufficient amount of any of these constituents to get all of the potential benefits,” Dr. Matluck explains.
So does that mean we’re getting no benefit at all from putting lemon wedges into our S’well bottles? Not quite. Here, Dr. Matluck puts some of the most common claims around the benefits of lemon water under a microscope, based on the data we do have.
Which of the benefits of lemon water are actually legit? Let’s investigate.
Photo: Stocksy/Pixel Stories
Can lemon water help you heal faster when you’re sick?
Unfortunately, if lemon water is part of your cold-proofing arsenal, it probably isn’t doing much of the heavy lifting. “Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is supportive to the immune system,” says Dr. Matluck. “But the amount of vitamin C you consume by adding lemon to water is not likely enough to boost the immune system.” The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for women is 75 mg, and an entire lemon contains a third of that amount. Yet studies have found that more than 1 gram (1000 mg) per day of vitamin C is needed to help reduce the duration of a common cold.
If you feel like you’re coming down with something, you’d be better off taking a supplement with at least 1,000 mg of vitamin C. (Unless you actually want to consume 34+ lemons in a day…)
Can lemon water help to treat kidney stones?
This one’s actually true, according to Dr. Matluck. “The citric acid in lemons can help break up and prevent certain types of kidney stones,” she says. Indeed, researchers have found that drinking 4 ounces of lemon juice (or orange juice, or melon juice) in tap water increases citrate levels in the urine—which, in turn, can help ward off kidney stones.
Does lemon water actually balance the body’s pH?
Some holistic health gurus stress the importance of eating alkaline foods—fruits and veggies, mainly—as a means of counteracting all of the acidic foods in the standard American diet, which are said to cause acidity in the body and, in turn, disease. (Think meat, dairy, and processed foods.) But that’s not actually the way our biochemistry works, says Dr. Matluck.
“The pH of the body is very tightly controlled,” she explains. “Though lemons are considered an alkalinizing food, your diet will not significantly change the pH of your blood.” That said, tons of studies have found that eating a plant-heavy, whole-food-based diet is highly beneficial to health for reasons other than pH balancing, and lemon water can certainly be a part of that.
Can drinking lemon water help a person manage their weight?
Kind of—but maybe not for the reasons you’ve heard before. “Drinking lemon water on its own is not a sufficient weight loss strategy,” says Dr. Matluck. “However, it may be a supportive component of a more holistic program.” For one thing, a 2011 study showed that drinking water before meals can result in accelerated weight loss, presumably because the water helps promote feelings of fullness, which could prevent overeating. If you’re trying to cut back on sugar-laden drinks throughout the day, lemon water may be a more enticing alternative than plain water.
Can lemon water promote healthier skin?
Many a wellness influencer has credited her clear, glowy skin to her warm lemon water habit. But this probably has more to do with the water itself than the lemon. “Though vitamin C has been shown to provide benefits to skin, there is no evidence to support that consuming lemon water will do the same,” says Dr. Matluck.
Staying hydrated, on the other hand, is indisputably one of the best things you can do for your complexion. So yes, keep drinking all the H2O—and, by all means, add lemon if you dig it. If vitamin C’s skin-protective properties are what you’re after, eat a wide range of foods with vitamin C and invest in a topical serum.
Does lemon water help with digestion and detoxification?
Again, this is probably a case where the water is the real MVP. “Hydration alone is supportive to the body’s detoxification processes,” says Dr. Matluck. But she says there isn’t compelling proof that lemon water specifically is better at detoxifying you than regular H2O. The same goes for the digestion piece, she adds—and besides, if you’re having digestive issues, your doctor should really be your first port of call. “There are many different causes for digestive problems so the first step toward treatment is identifying the cause,” she points out.
So should we be drinking lemon water or nah?
To sum all of this up, Dr. Matluck hasn’t seen enough science to suggest that drinking lemon water is superior to drinking regular water, if you’re not doing it to prevent kidney stones.
But I’m not here to be a total lemon water buzzkill. There is one other reason why you might want to go for lemon water, in Dr. Matluck’s opinion: “It does taste better!” If that’s gonna tempt you to drink a little more water—enough so that you’re peeing every 2-3 hours for optimal hydration—then bring on the sour stuff.
Alkaline water is another wellness beverage with some dubious claims attached to it—here’s the 411. And if you still prefer it to the regular stuff, this is how to make alkaline water at home.
The Health Benefits of Hot Lemon Water
Waking up with a glass of warm lemon water has been hailed as a favorite healthy morning ritual by celebrities and models like Gwyneth Paltrow, Gisele Bundchen, and Beyonce. But does the science back up all the hype? Turns out, sipping on this hot citrus-infused drink offers a host of healthy perks-especially if you do it first thing in the A.M. Here, seven health benefits of lemon water that’ll convince you to give it a try:
1. It aids your body’s detoxification system.
Lemons contain an antioxidant called d-limonene, which has been shown to activate enzymes that help kick your liver into detox-mode, helping flush out built-up toxins. “Lemon water’s atomic structure is similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach,” explains Josh Axe, a natural medicine doctor, doctor of chiropractic, and clinical nutritionist. “As a result, it tricks the liver into producing bile, which helps keep food moving through your body and gastrointestinal tract smoothly.”
2. It balances your body’s pH.
The term pH stands for power of hydrogen, which is a measurement of the alkaline/acidity balance of your body tissues and organs. Ideally, the healthiest pH is slightly alkaline, and even though lemons are acidic on the outside, they’re actually an incredibly alkaline food when absorbed by the body. When your body’s pH is out of whack (excessively acidic), which can be caused by things like alcohol, stress, lack of exercise and a diet high in processed foods, your body’s immune system becomes compromised, leading to inflammation and disease. Incorporating lemon juice (and these other alkaline-forming foods) into your daily diet will help keep things in balance. (Speaking of #balance, the smell of lemons may even help reduce stress.)
3. It wakes up your digestive tract.
This simple yet powerful beverage stimulates your gastrointestinal tract, improving your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste products. The citrus flavonoids in lemon help your stomach break down food, and the warm temperature of the water stimulates peristalsis (muscle contractions) that keep things moving along in the intestines.
4. It boosts your immune system.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant that helps ward off disease, and lemons are loaded with it. Just one large lemon contains about 75 percent of your daily requirement. “One cup of fresh lemon juice provides 187 percent of your daily recommended serving of vitamin C,” Axe says. Research has shown that vitamin C can help shorten the duration of cold symptoms and that the best way to reap its benefits is by consuming it in your diet, rather than popping a supplement. (Try these other immune system-boosting foods too.)
5. It may help you look younger.
Another benefit of vitamin C’s free-radical fighting power is that it protects against skin damage. Of course, it’s normal for your skin to gradually lose its elasticity with age, but too much free radical exposure (think pollution, smoke, radiation, UV rays, etc.) accelerates the aging process. Antioxidants, like vitamin C, help keep these toxic molecules in check. Vitamin C also boosts your body’s collagen production, helping to build healthy tissue and keep skin strong and resilient. (Here’s a plan for protecting your skin from free radicals.)
6. It nourishes brain, nerve and muscle cells.
Lemons are also a great source of potassium, an essential nutrient that helps send more oxygen your brain and repair muscle cells. (That’s why it’s one of the five minerals you need for a better workout.) In addition to potassium, lemons also offer up a hearty serving of magnesium and copper, says Dr. Axe. Magnesium is particularly important for if you’re active because the body sweats it out during exercise. Copper isn’t a mineral you hear about too often, although it has been gaining popularity recently in skin and beauty products because of its promising anti-aging potential. On the inside, copper helps the body better absorb collagen and is important for energy production.
7. But it’s not a miracle elixir.
“While some have gone so far as to claim that lemon water can cure cancer, that’s not true,” Axe says. “Lemons contain cancer-fighting antioxidants as well as compounds that have been shown to kill cancer cells, but only when used in concentrated amounts.” Instead, he recommends that-no surprise-you should be sure to pair your lemon water with a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Bottom line: Are the health benefits of hot lemon water often dramatized? Probably. But lemons also have tons of nutritional benefits, so adding it to your daily diet does have some real health perks. (Learn how to juice a lemon so you get every last drop-and all the nutritional benefits.)
Have you tried hot water and lemon? Nutritionists and celebrities alike are raving about the benefits of drinking a single glass of hot lemon water 15-30 minutes before breakfast. Use the juice of half a lemon per 8 oz. cup, or adjust the lemon for your personal taste. It will not only help you stay hydrated, but it may also improve digestion and relieve symptoms of indigestion.
Additional benefits to drinking hot water and lemon:
. Gives your immune system a boost – Lemons are packed with nutrients including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. The vitamin C in lemons can help alleviate stress and fight viral infections and sore throats. Potassium is beneficial to heart health, as well as brain and nerve function.
. Reduces inflammation and cleanses the system – Drinking lemon water regularly decreases acidity in your body and removes uric acid from joints. It enhances enzyme function, stimulating your liver and activating bile flow, which helps emulsify and flush out fat soluble toxins.
. Keeps your skin blemish-free — The antioxidants in lemon juice help decrease blemishes and wrinkles.
. Helps you lose weight — Lemons contain pectin fiber, which assists in fighting hunger cravings.
A potential drawback is that the citric acid in lemon juice could erode the enamel on your teeth. To prevent damage make sure the water is lukewarm, not steaming hot. You can also drink through a straw so it bypasses your teeth, and rinse your mouth with water immediately after drinking. Wait 60 minutes after drinking to brush your teeth.
There are myriad benefits to drinking more water. Adding a cup of hot water and lemon to your morning routine will help you do that.
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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.
16 Health Benefits Of Drinking Warm Lemon Water
Lemons are vitamin C rich citrus fruits that enhance your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within bringing a glow to your face. One of the major health benefits of drinking warm lemon water is that it paves the way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy.
Lemon Water Flushes Out Toxins And Is Extremely Beneficial For The Body
Warm lemon water serves as the perfect ‘good morning drink’, as it aids the digestive system and makes the process of eliminating the waste products from the body easier. It prevents the problem of constipation and diarrhea, by ensuring smooth bowel functions.
Nutritional Value Of Lemons
A glass of lemon juice contains less than 25 calories. It is a rich source of nutrients like calcium, potassium, vitamin C and pectin fiber. It also has medicinal values and antibacterial properties. It also contains traces of iron and vitamin A.
Lemon, a fruit popular for its therapeutic properties, helps maintain your immune system and thus, protects you from the clutches of most types of infections. It also plays the role of a blood purifier. Lemon is a fabulous antiseptic and lime-water juice also works wonders for people having heart problems, owing to its high potassium content. So, make it a part of your daily routine to drink a glass of warm lemon water in the morning and enjoy its health benefits. Read on for more interesting information on the benefits of warm lemon water.
- Lemon is an excellent and rich source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that protects the body against immune system deficiencies
- Lemons contain pectin fiber which is very beneficial for colon health and also serves as a powerful antibacterial
- It balances to maintain the pH levels in the body
- Having warm lemon juice early in the morning helps flush out toxins
- It aids digestion and encourages the production of bile
- It is also a great source of citric acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium
- It helps prevent the growth and multiplication of pathogenic bacteria that cause infections and diseases
- It helps reducing pain and inflammation in joints and knees as it dissolves uric acid
- It helps cure the common cold
- The potassium content in lemon helps nourish brain and nerve cells
- It strengthens the liver by providing energy to the liver enzymes when they are too dilute
- It helps balance the calcium and oxygen levels in the liver In case of heartburn, taking a glass of concentrated lemon juice can give relief
- It is of immense benefit to the skin and it prevents the formation of wrinkles and acne
- It helps maintain the health of the eyes and helps fight against eye problems
- Aids in the production of digestive juices
- Lemon juice helps replenish body salts especially after a strenuous workout session
Packed with all the goodness, make it a point to begin your day with a glass of warm lemon water. Its cleansing and healing effects will have positive effects on your health in the long run. However, it is very important to note that when lemon juice comes directly in contact with the teeth, can ruin the enamel on the teeth. Hence, it is advised to consume it diluted and also rinse your mouth thoroughly after drinking lemon juice.
Curious about what other healthy morning rituals could set you up for a perfect day? Discover 7 things happy people do every morning.
After more research on why James loves recommending to drink lemon water daily? Read about it in his article here.Lemon and water benefits