You’ve probably seen pictures on Pinterest or elsewhere of large pitchers of water with vibrant lemons and the top 10 reasons why you should be drinking it.
And maybe you can even remember some of those reasons, despite not actually taking up the habit.
Lemon water can bestow vitality and incredible cleansing effects on the body. If you’re just getting started on a path of feeling better through diet, replacing a morning coffee with lemon water is a great first step.
Here is a challenge so you can experience the benefits yourself:
- Look through the top benefits we’ve listed below and find the one benefit that will motivate you to start incorporating lemon water into your daily life.
- Commit to 14 days of lemon water
- Write down how you feel on day 1, then on day 14
Lemons are a citrus fruit in the Rutaceae family (scientifically known as Citrus Limon). While being one of the smallest members of this family, it has some of the most comprehensive health benefits.
For example, lemons are high in vitamin C which is essential for normal growth and development according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. A single lemon contains around 30 to 40 mg of vitamin C, which is less than an orange’s 80 to 90 mg of vitamin C, but still a substantial amount.
Vitamin C has been studied extensively and shown to have a myriad of health benefits from protecting against prenatal problems, cardiovascular disease, eye diseases, skin wrinkles, and immune system deficiencies.
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
But beyond vitamin C, lemons have other properties that make them a perfect way to upgrade a glass of water.
Unique Health Benefits of Lemons
1. Lemon Water as Detox and Cleanse
Citrate is a naturally occurring chelating agent, which means it bonds with metals. This allows it to help move these toxins out of the body. An animal study published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research International in 2019 found that supplementing with citric acid can protect against heavy metal stress and “has broad application prospects in decreasing oxidative damage caused by heavy metals.”
Toxins come into our systems through various sources from the air we breathe to some of the foods we eat. Two of the more well-known studies that shed some light on the use of lemon as a cleanse agent include one published by Dutch researchers in a 2002 edition of the European Journal of Nutrition.
It found lemon peels and the waste stream of the lemon peels left over after extraction of the lemon pectin are effective in lowering blood and liver cholesterol levels. Although performed on animal subjects, these results suggest eating lemon peel could help those with fatty liver disease.
The second study was published by Indian researchers in a 2005 edition of BMC Pharmacology. Hesperidin, a citrus bioflavonoid found in lemons, demonstrated the ability to protect the liver from damage. After administration of CCl4 (a well-known liver toxin), the authors concluded that hesperidin demonstrated a protective effect on the liver.
2. Improve Digestion with Lemon Water
Citrus flavonoids act as a great digestive tonic, according to researchers at the Michael Okpara University, whose 2006 study can be found in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine and Advance Sciences. It has also been shown to calm an upset stomach or mild indigestion. According to a 2014 study published in Volume 24, Issue 3 of the Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy(9), this has to do with the way citrus flavonoids in lemon water support the hydrochloric acid in the stomach in breaking down food .
You can make this digestion aid even better by including the zest of the lemon which will improve the good bacteria in your gut.
3. Weight loss/Appetite Suppressant
We’re approaching this claim with caution since any new health fad that becomes popular can get turned into a “fat burning miracle.”
One of the studies finding lemons supported weight loss, a November 2008 study published in Journal Of Clinical Biochemistry And Nutrition, was not a human trial but did show significantly reduced weight gain when a diet high in fat was being consumed. Most people whether they want to admit it or not fall in the high fat diet category.
Pectin gives a feeling of fullness much like other soluble dietary fibers. That may help some people reduce caloric intake the production of inflammation, according to a study published in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology on May 2011.
The main study was carried out by Drs. Sheau C. Chai, Shirin Hooshmand, Raz L. Saadat, and Bahram Arjmandi, of Florida State University.
5. Reduced Wrinkles and Improved Skin
Drinking lemon water and applying topically can both help with skin because of the anti-aging properties of antioxidants in lemons according to a September 2011 study published in Journal Of The Science Of Food And Agriculture.
The primary cause of skin aging comes from free radicals that cause tissue damage.
Collagen gives skin its strength, structure, and plumpness while protecting the skin from absorbing toxins according to an article in News Medical written by Dr. Ananya Mandal, a clinical pharmacology specialist.
If you want to apply lemon juice topically, the simplest way is to dilute it in water and pat on the face with a damp cloth, avoiding the eyes.
Other methods range from creating sugar scrubs to combining with Greek yogurt. In all cases, the antioxidants in the lemon will be the active ingredient.
Lemon Water Safety Measures
There are a few precautions to keep in mind when it comes to drinking more lemon:
First off you really shouldn’t be eating the seeds of the lemon. A few here and there aren’t going to be terrible for you, but if you plan to drink lemon water regularly, then make sure you’re avoiding the seeds.
They contain small amounts of salicylic acid which is the main ingredient in aspirin. The easiest way I’ve found to get rid of them is to use a small strainer or a lemon press.
If you’re used to sweetening your tea or coffee then your taste buds are going to want a spike of sugar in your lemon water. If you do sweeten your lemon water, use nutritious sweeteners like honey or stevia and avoid refined sugar, corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners.
If you can start to cut more and more sugar out of your diet, you will find your taste buds resetting and your cravings for sugar drop dramatically.
Another common concern is what effects lemon juice has the enamel of your teeth. As long as you’re not using it like mouthwash your teeth will be safe. If you’re concerned about it, just use a straw.
Drinking lemon water is one of these little things that we can do on a regular basis that can have long-term benefits.
The people who will have the most dramatic effects, in the beginning, will be those who can replace a morning coffee or soda with lemon water.
Give it a minimum of 2 weeks to see what positive benefits you’re getting.
Every “body” will respond differently to lemon water, which is why we recommend adding this to your diet without any other major changes to isolate the effects.
This will allow you to better attribute any changes you experience to the lemon water and not some new multivitamin you started taking.
Keep a journal of your mood, energy, and cravings for the 2 weeks to see what positive benefits you experience.
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