Conversations around lemon water benefits have been in the spotlight for a few years now, firstly for its detoxification powers, alongside the refreshment that it brings to the table when you drink it.
Yes, sure you most likely envision that hot summer day, where you have had a cold lemon water beverage straight from the fridge, to perk you up a bit. It does wonders, and for those that do not particularly enjoy the taste of unflavoured water, this is the perfect option to go for, being that it is all natural with no added sugars.
With all that being said, while it has become a trend to take lemon water, we are sure you may be wondering what the health benefits your body actually gets from that daily glass of lemon water? Health and wellness is something we should all actively strive for as much as possible to our everyday, and if by drinking lemon water first thing in the morning, will help you get there, who are we to say no, right?
What lemon water does to the body?
Lemon water has become a popular home remedy for many globally. However, there is no point jumping onto a trend without knowing the effects and the health benefits it brings to the body. It has been widely discussed by research, sport health and wellness activists etc. that a glass of water and lemon is perfect to aid digestion, weight loss, detoxification, kidney regulation and even improve your mental well being. However, where there are facts, there are myths too!
Lemon water myths
There are many myths that surround the intake of lemons in water, before we get into the health benefits, it is better to debunk the statements that have no weight within the world of science.
Drinking lemon water alkalises the body
This is as false as they come! It has been said by wellness advocates that an alkaline diet ultimately influences the pH system within a human body. Lemon is alkalising, thus the theory is, when drinking it, it will take the same effect on your body overall. However, scientists have unfortunately discredited this, and despite the health benefits that come with combining other alkaline fruits and vegetables within your diet, it will not take effect on the acidity levels.
Lemon water against cancer
Another myth that goes round within the health conscious community, is that a glass of lemon water and from citrus fruits in general, can prevent cancer. This idea built up from the idea that cancer radicals and cells cannot thrive within alkaline environments. While there is plenty of Vitamin C within lemon juice and it is a rich alkaline source, there is no evidence to heavily support this concept. Even the institutions for cancer research around the world have discredited this theory massively, saying that the foods the human body consumes does not affect the acidity of blood and body cells.
Is lemon water good for weight loss?
This has definitely caught on massively within the masses of fans that have subjected themselves to drink lemons in water. However, we are here to tell you there is no research that actually backs up the fact that lemon water is more effective to weight loss than plain cold water, unlike green tea for example. The only way that it may actually aid weight loss, is through how water helps satiety and fullness, which correlates to less eating and calories consumed overall.
There are studies which suggest that those who drink lemon water prior to each main meal, saw that they actually consumed fewer calories, just like the controlled clinical trials where plain water was administered.  The weight loss is achieved through a regime combined with maintenance of calories, within a calorie controlled setting. The lemon water is not the magical remedy of weight loss. It just assists appetite management, very well and acts with the same mechanism as water. 
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Lemon water cleanses and detoxes the body
While this is true to a certain extent, being that lemon juice is a substance combined with water (a natural diuretic), there is no evidence that suggests lemon does a better job than its substituent plain water. In fact, anything added with drinking water, be it cold water, be it warm lemon water, filtered water etc. will all detox the body naturally. But it is not powered by the combination of lemon water, it is just the H2O that is doing its magical work here.
Medical advice actually shuns the idea of a lemon water diet nowadays, with huge numbers worldwide thinking it is the lemon that is debloating, detoxing and skin brightening, it is just the power of water here! As you will see, the further you read into our article there can be risks that come, should you overdo the amount you drink of this beverage.
Lemon water benefits: What are they?
Starting off with the most obvious benefits of lemon water, it will of course hydrate you massively, should this be the way to get you drinking more water overall. Many people do not like the tasteless presence of water within their mouth, meaning adding fresh lemon with your drink, is getting you one step closer to drinking more of the good stuff!
The Food and Nutrition Board states that generally women should drink at least 91 ounces (2.5l) of water per day, whereas men should drink at least 125 ounces (3.5l) of water , to ensure you promote good health and it may help your energy throughout the day too!
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a primary antioxidant that the body needs to ensure protection against the free radicals that can cause cell damage within your body. Radicals occur from anything to, too much sun exposure, air pollutants; even chemicals within the food we eat can cause unpaired Oxygen atoms to cause oxidative stress within our body. Antioxidants neutralise that process by giving their electrons to neutralise the damaging process. 
Lemon is not one of the biggest Vitamin C contributing citrus fruits out there, however lemons contain enough to improve your immune system and biological cell processes as a whole, due to their ability to stimulate collagen production in the body for healing – So definitely still pick up some lemons on your way to the grocery store next time! 
3. Aids iron absorption
It has been scientifically proven that taking a form of vitamin C is crucial to boost iron compounds and their absorption within the blood.  Medical advice today actually advises Vitamin C supplementation or derivatives of Vitamin C to anaemia patients, as sometimes taking iron tablets is not the only solution needed for medical treatment.
We suggest combining other sources of Vitamin C within your lemon water, to increase the concentration of Vitamin C in there, if you are micronutrient conscious. Great options include grapefruit, which can contain an extra 70mg of Vitamin C in there-yay!
4. Can prevent kidney stones
The citric acid within the lemon juice, is what can help prevent the possibility of kidney stones. The reason being is, the Citrate in lemon juice has been proven to reduce acid in your urine, meaning it can break down the stones present (made up of calcium oxalate) within the kidneys.  Meaning, lemon juice is pretty much the compound needed to neutralise the problem scientifically speaking. It flushes out the presence of the stones and keeps your kidneys in check!
5. Regulates digestion
The citrus within the lemon also contributes as a laxative to your intestines, meaning if you are unfortunately suffering from a certain degree of malfunction to your digestive system, some warm lemon water will do wonders to get things kicked started. Best way for this to be super effective is to drink it first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. It is the perfect jump start to your body, especially if you are one to suffer from constipation in particular.
How much lemon water should you drink a day?
If you are drinking lemon juice for the benefits of lemon water, you will of course be motivated by the health components it can add to your life probably, such as hitting your needed nutrition and micronutrients like Vitamin C. While it is suggested by health bodies like the NHS, that you need around 40-60 mg of Vitamin C per day, you need to be careful of the how much citric acid you drink overall. Lemons contain citric acid which can cause damaging side effects, should you consume too much (as you will see further on in this passage).
An exact quantitative measure of how much you should drink, can range from 2 to 3 lemons dispersed within a liquid of your choice. It is advised by nutritional bodies, to have at least half a lemon with your meals, as it is perfect for keeping your breath fresh, alongside aiding satiety, if you are looking to lose weight and opting to incorporate a weight loss program that is about sustaining healthy habits over the long term. 
When is the best time to drink lemon water?
The best time to drink some lemon water will depend on what your motivation is behind drinking it. If you are aiming to regulate digestion, then the best time would be first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. Hot variants will aid passing of your stools more easily if you go about it with this kind of routine. If however, you wish to either promote hydration, regulate kidney function, freshen your breath and control your appetite to help prevent overeating and manage weight, you can keep sipping throughout the day, and hit all those factors on your checklist, in one go!
What are the side effects of drinking lemon water?
While there are many benefits that contribute to good health, there are also side effects that you should take note of, before you go on to drink it by the gallon unchecked. First and foremost, the citric acid in lemon, can erode away your tooth enamel, making you more prone to cavities over time. So medically, if you add lemon to your drinks and drink it often, make sure you drink it through a straw, and rinse your mouth out after. This will prevent the softening of your teeth, that comes progressively. Oh, and just an extra tip for you, it may be wise not to brush your teeth directly after you drink the lemon beverage, as your teeth will be in a softened state and thus weakened. 
How to make lemon water?
Here comes the fun part, the actual making of the lemon water! So, to get the benefit of this, evidence suggests that you can get away with drinking it more than a few times a day. Usually, each portion works out best, when you squeeze half a lemon for each glass you make. You can opt to be efficient and make a whole jug (by doubling up on the quantities of ingredients) to keep fresh and cold in the fridge, but be wary that it can spoil and will no longer have that fresh taste after 2-3 days!
Quick fix instructions
- For one jug that serves around 4 glasses (250 ml per serving), squeeze two lemons into the water. Water can be cold or warm , to suit your own preference.
- Using filtered water alongside organic lemons ensures the drink to be as natural and as healthy as possible.
- Select your flavourings which you wish to infuse alongside the lemons, but skip if you prefer the lemons singularly.
- Add ice for that extra crisp fresh taste, or lightly keep it under a tea light if you prefer it warm.
Great ingredients to infuse in your lemon water
- Freshly washed dried mint
- Four tablespoons of maple syrup to taste
- Four tablespoons of honey to taste
- Ginger (grated)
- Cinnamon sticks to gradually infuse within the water
- Cucumber slices to gradually infuse within the water
- Limes can be added too, but you may wish to reduce the amount of lemon added to reduce the overpowering citrus flavour overall.
- Grapefruits can be repeated with the same procedures as above.
How long can you keep lemon slices in water?
Lemons can be kept in the water for added flavoured infusion (and added laziness if you cannot be bothered to peel the fruit), yet of course they do have an expiry date and you will not like the taste after it has been kept inside for longer than 2-3 days maximum. Bacteria thrives in the wettest and moist of places, so the longer you leave them in, the less refreshing they will be to your palette. So, we suggest that after the first day of leaving the lemons in the mixture, take them out, as that will sure be enough time to infuse all the zest out of those citrus fruits!
- McDermott, A., 2021. 7 Benefits of Lemon Water: Vitamin C, Weight Loss, Skin, and More. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-of-lemon-water#hydration [Accessed 17 April 2021].
- Leech, J., 2021. Lemon water 101: What are the benefits of drinking it?. [online] Medicalnewstoday.com. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318662#benefits [Accessed 17 April 2021].
- Roberts, H., 2021. 4 health benefits of lemon water and how much you should drink each day. [online] Insider. Available at: https://www.insider.com/benefits-of-lemon-water [Accessed 17 April 2021].
- Link, R., 2021. Does Lemon Water Help You Lose Weight?. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lemon-water-for-weight-loss [Accessed 17 April 2021].
Fatima is a writer, blogger, health and well-being advocate; with a nutritional science degree at her command. Her passion is to propagate the importance of female health and the ways lifestyle can be enhanced via dietary interventions and supplements. Embodying the literal term “we are what we eat”, she is a proud seeker of knowledge for the most updated methods to heighten personal health regimes.