What drink is insanely inexpensive to make, keeps skin glowing, aids in digestion, can help you lose weight and is packed with vitamin C? No, it’s not an elixir sold on late-night infomercials. It’s lemon water.
While those in the know have been chugging down the citrus-flavored water for ages (think since ancient Rome), some lemon water benefits have just begun making the rounds on the health and fitness circuit in recent months. But is lemon water really the cure-all it’s purported to be or just another health fad? Let’s dig in.
Lemon Water Nutrition Facts
Lemons are loaded with healthy benefits, and particularly, they’re a great vitamin C food source. One cup of fresh lemon juice provides 187 percent of your daily recommended serving of vitamin C — take that, oranges! Lemon juice also offers up a healthy serving of potassium, magnesium and copper.
Check out what other benefits one cup of fresh lemon juice adds to a plain glass of water. Here are some lemon water nutrition facts:
- 61 calories
- 3 grams protein
- 6 grams sugar
- 0 grams fat
- 112 milligrams vitamin C (187 percent DV)
- 303 milligrams potassium (9 percent DV)
- 31.7 micrograms folate (8 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (6 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligrams thiamin (5 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligrams copper (4 percent DV)
- 1 gram fiber (4 percent DV)
- 14.6 milligrams magnesium (4 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligrams vitamin E (2 percent DV)
5 Benefits of Lemon Water
For such a simple drink, the list of lemon water benefits is impressive. Even if you’re not a big H2O drinker, you might find yourself reaching for a glass when you check out how awesome it is for your body and mind!
1. Aids in digestion and detoxification
Because lemon juice’s atomic structure is similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach, it tricks the liver into producing bile, which helps keep food moving through your body and gastrointestinal tract smoothly. Lemon water also helps relieve indigestion or ease an upset stomach.
The acids found in lemon juice also encourage your body to process the good stuff in foods more slowly. This drawn-out absorption means insulin levels remain steady and you get more nutrients out of the foods you consume. Better nutrient absorption means less bloating. Lemon water benefits the enzyme functions in your body, stimulating the liver and flushing out toxins. Because it’s a mild diuretic, you might find yourself using the bathroom more often, helping the urinary tract get rid of any unwanted elements. All of this helps detox body & skin.
2. Bumps up the vitamin C quotient
Since your body doesn’t make vitamin C on its own, it’s important to get enough of it from the foods and drinks you ingest. Luckily, lemons are chock-full of the vitamin.
What are the benefits of getting enough vitamin C? It stimulates white blood cell production, vital for your immune system to function properly. As an antioxidant, vitamin C also protects cells from oxidative damage. Plus, getting enough vitamin C helps the immune system keep colds and flu at bay. Drinking lemon water daily ensures your body gets a sizable amount of vitamin C daily.
3. Rejuvenates skin and heals the body
The antioxidants found in vitamin C do double duty in lemon water. They fight damage caused by free radicals, keeping your skin looking fresh. Getting enough vitamin C from your lemon water also keeps the body producing collagen, essential in smoothing out lines in the face. And, in one recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regularly consuming vitamin C led to younger-looking skin and less wrinkles.
4. Helps shed pounds
Regularly sipping on lemon water can help you lose those last pounds. That’s because lemons contain pectin, a type of fiber commonly found in fruits. Pectin helps you feel full longer; that satiated feeling means you’ll chow down less throughout the day. Plus, did you know that when you’re even mildly dehydrated, you’re more prone to things like headaches, fatigue and an overall bad mood? Chugging down lemon water helps your body stay hydrated and feeling happy.
5. Boosts energy and mood
Skip the morning cup of coffee — lemon water can boost energy levels without the caffeine crash. Here’s how it works: Our bodies get energy from the atoms and molecules in foods. When negative-charged ions, like those found in lemons, enter your digestive tract, the result is an increase in energy levels au naturel.
Additionally, just the scent of a lemon has been found to reduce stress levels and improve moods. Don’t forget to offer a glass to grumpy co-workers or family members.
History and Interesting Facts About Lemon Water
Here are some interesting lemon water facts & history: Until about the 10th century, lemons were used mainly as decorative plants. The Crusades in the 11th century brought the plant into Europe, and it made its first appearance in the New World in the late 1400s. Lemons and other vitamin C-rich fruits were particularly treasured for their ability to ward off scurvy. Today, the main producers of lemons include Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey and the U.S.
And though I love the benefits of lemon water, there are tons of ways to use lemons. Here are some of my favorites:
Deodorize your kitchen naturally. Add one cup of lemon juice to the dishwasher, and run it on the rinse cycle to disinfect and rid it of any lingering odors and deodorize your kitchen naturally. Need to clear up a bad kitchen smell? Add fresh lemon peels, cinnamon sticks and cloves to a pot of water and simmer on the stove.
Use lemon essential oil regularly. Mix lemon essential oil, baking soda and coconut oil and rub on teeth. Leave for two minutes to reap the effects of this natural tooth whitener. Mix lemon oil, baking soda and honey for an all-natural face wash. Need to spruce up your silver before company comes over? A lemon oil-soaked cloth will get rid of tarnishes quickly.
How to Buy and Use Lemons
Ready to jump on the lemon water bandwagon? Here are a few things to keep in mind at the store:
- There are three main types of lemons available in the U.S. Eureka and Lisbon lemons are both sour and tart. Eureka lemons have textured skins and few seeds. Lisbon lemons tend to have a smoother skin and no seeds. Meyer lemons, a sweeter variety, are becoming more common. These lemons have Mandarin oranges in their family tree, giving these fruits a deeper color than traditional lemons.
- When buying lemons, opt for ones that are fully yellow and, if possible, organic. If the fruit is still green, it isn’t fully ripe. Thinner-skinned lemons are juicier. Keep away from lemons that look dull, wrinkled or excessively hard.
- Storing lemons in a sealed plastic bag keeps lemons fresh much longer than leaving them at room temperature.
- To make preparing lemon water even easier, juice several lemons into an ice cube tray and freeze. Pop a few cubes in a glass of water to have fresh lemon juice at the ready anytime.
- When preparing lemon water, it’s best to add the lemon juice to room temperature or warm water — start with half a lemon’s worth of juice. Drinking cold lemon water can be a shock to your system.
- You get the benefits of lemon water whenever you drink it, but sipping on it in the morning will kick-start your day. Try a glass about a half hour before breakfast; the lemon juice in your belly will help your body absorb your breakfast nutrients better.
Lemon Water Recipes
Lemon water is such a great, inexpensive drink, but if you want to reap the benefits of lemons in other ways, try some of my favorite lemon water recipes.
Total time: 35 minutes
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 6 ounces lemon juice
- 4 egg whites
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon stevia
- 8 ounces applesauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease 8×8 pan with coconut oil.
- Mix oat flour, whey, salt and baking soda together.
- In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice, egg whites, stevia and applesauce.
- Combine both bowls ingredients into one bowl.
- Spread into greased pan and bake for 25 minutes.
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 large head cauliflower, broken into bite-sized pieces
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Parsley as garnish (optional)
- Grease baking sheet with oil.
- In a mixing bowl, combine cauliflower, garlic and sea salt.
- Spread on baking sheet.
- Bake for 30–40 minutes at 425 Fahrenheit.
- Sprinkle lemon juice over top and garnish.
Total time: 30–60 minutes
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Blend all ingredients together until creamy.
- Freeze until desired consistency is achieved.
Possible Side Effects
While lemon water is one of the safest drinks you can ingest, the acids in lemon can eat away at your tooth enamel. To prevent this, drink lemon water before brushing your teeth — the overnight bacteria will protect your teeth a bit. Drink from a straw and rinse with baking soda to neutralize any acid that might be left on your teeth.