The health benefits of lemon water

It’s the drink that everyone is obsessed with… lemon water. Every celebrity under the sun boasts that they start their day with it. Reported benefits include detoxifying the body, weight loss, boosting your immune system and improved digestion.

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water; however, is lemon water really a miracle health drink?

Five reported health benefits of lemon water
The popularity of lemon in drinks is thanks to its aromatic smell and palatable taste. Let’s explore the reported benefits of lemon water:

1. Weight loss and higher metabolism

Lemon water is a drink which is very low in calories. Many people swear by it when trying to lose weight. One reason it helps is that people replace high-calorie juices and soft drinks with lemon water; the calorie deficit then leads to weight loss.

Dieticians and nutritionists recommend drinking a glass of water with fresh lemon before every meal. This should ultimately reduce your appetite and calorie intake. In addition, lemons contain polyphenols which are reported to reduce appetite.

Studies show that lemon water can also boost your metabolism. This happens because adequate hydration levels enhance the function of mitochondria. They are cells in the body which help to generate energy for the body. The better these cells work due to good hydration, the higher the body’s metabolic rate.

Drinking water also produces thermogenesis, which is the metabolic process in which calories are burned to produce heat.

The jury is still out as to whether the benefits to weight loss are primarily from water only or the addition of lemon.

2. Prevents illness

According to The Cleveland Clinic, chemicals in lemon known as phytonutrients have antioxidant properties that can help protect the body from disease and illness such as the common cold.

A recent study found that for adults who supplemented with vitamin C, the duration of a cold was reduced by 8%. In children, 1 to 2 g/day of vitamin C shortened a cold by 18%. A slice of lemon provides only 1mg of vitamin C, so in the instance of a cold it is necessary to also take the tablet form of vitamin C.

The best advice from professionals is to drink warm filtered water with lemon when you have a cold to help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration. Hopefully this will help you to feel better, faster.

3. Aids digestion

Many people claim that a glass of warm filtered water with fresh lemon first thing in the morning does wonders for their digestion. Some scientist claim that consuming lemon water increases the production of bile, which is required for proper digestion. It also keeps the bile production under control, ensuring that no damage is caused to the digestive tract or stomach.

However, there is little scientific evidence to back up these claims. The Huffington Post Australia spoke to senior lecturer in pharmacology at The University of Adelaide, Dr Ian Musgrave.

“There is no evidence that apple cider vinegar or lemon water — or a combination of these — will do anything for digestion or indigestion,” he said.

Dr Musgrave also claimed that the amount of lemon in one glass would not have any discernible impact on the body. So this health benefit is one that people have to assess on an individual basis.

4. Slows down the ageing process

Lemon water may help to slow down the ageing process. Vitamin C from lemons contains antioxidants which help to make collagen in the body, preventing premature ageing.

Perhaps more importantly, good hydration ensures our cells are plump, so wrinkles appear less noticeable. If adding lemon to water helps you drink more, then this will benefit your health and your skin in the long run.

It’s not all good news though. The anti-aging benefits of lemon water will disappear when your teeth are black from all the acid. Make sure you are careful with how much lemon water you drink or opt to drink out of a straw.

5. Improves liver function

The idea is that we can ‘flush out toxins’ through drinks such as lemon water and apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a common myth. In fact, scientists claim, “there is no evidence that these drinks will do anything to toxins.”Dr Ian Musgrave.

Our body actually does a pretty good job of flushing out toxins on its own through the liver.

“The liver is packed full of enzymes that specifically break down xenobiotics so they are no longer toxic, and the breakdown products are readily excreted… once the liver has converted a xenobiotic to a water-soluble compound, this is excreted by the kidney or secreted into the bile.”

The only time lemon water will assist the liver’s detoxification process is if it is not functioning on its own, according to nutritionist, Pip Reed. This may happen when someone has food intolerances, is under immense stress or suffers from hormonal imbalances.

“During these times our liver and digestive system become compromised and reduce their ability to function optimally in order to deal with the stress response, which is why supporting your body in any way with nutrient dense foods like lemons and ACV can, at times, assist this process.”– Pip Reed

Is it just hydration that’s important?

Consuming enough filtered water every day does wonders for your health. Water boosts energy, maintains brain function, regulates digestion and assists in weight loss.

Whilst lemon water may have some health benefits, it is not a wonder cure. The bottom line is lemons are full of nutritional benefits so including them in your diet through lemon water is a good idea. Your body will thank you for it!

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