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Health Benefits of Lemon Water (Including Detox) – Evidence Based

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Health Benefits of Lemon Water (Including Detox)
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Lemon water is a refreshing drink that is packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. Drinking a glass of warm lemon water every morning is a great way to kick-start your day. The benefits of lemon water include boosting your immune system, helping to keep your heart health, and improving your skin appearance.

The benefits of drinking lemon water include the fact that it is low in calories. The juice of one lemon squeezed in a glass of warm water only has 11 calories. It’s a great choice for dieters as it adds a great flavor to the water and makes you feel fuller. It also contains up to half of your daily vitamin C requirements.

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Squeezed lemon juice is healthy for you because it also contains fiber, vitamin B6, calcium, and potassium.

One of the reasons that lemon infused water is good for us is because lemons and lemon zest contain flavonoids and polyphenols. These plant-based antioxidants help to protect you against chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

In this article, I will look at what scientific studies have revealed as to the many health benefits of drinking lemon water. At the end of the article, you will find an easy lemon water detox recipe to boost your immune system.

Lemon Water Nutrition

Lemon is a delicious citrus fruit that grows in warm climates. Pure lemon juice has a sharp, tangy taste to it. Diluting lemon juice in warm or cold water helps to make drinking water more palatable.

The juice of an average sized lemon contains plenty of vitamins and minerals. In fact, lemon water containing the juice of a large lemon has between 20 mg and 30 mg vitamin C.

Drinking a glass of lemon water every morning can provide you with up to 50% of your vitamin C recommended daily intake (RDI). (1)

The juice of one lemon (47 g) in a glass of water has the following nutritional benefits:

  • 11 calories
  • 4 g carbs
  • 21.6 mg vitamin C (36% RDI)
  • 1 mg folate (2% RDI)
  • 3 mg potassium (2% RDI)
  • 8 mg magnesium (1% RDI)
  • 3 mg calcium
  • 4 IU vitamin A

The benefits of lemon water are also boosted by the levels of its antioxidants. Researchers report that citrus fruits like lemons have high levels of vitamin C and flavonoids – both powerful antioxidants. The antioxidant activity of vitamin C in lemon juice can help to prevent oxidative damage in the body. This is the reason why drinking lemon water can aid in detoxification. Consuming citrus juices can be the primary source of dietary vitamin C. (2)

Health Benefits of Lemon Water

How can drinking lemon water every morning (or at other times during the day) boost your health?

The Chemistry Central Journal reported that citrus fruits such as lemons contain compounds that are essential for your metabolism and health. Citrus fruits like lemons have anticancer properties, they help reduce inflammation, destroy free radicals, and protect cardiovascular health. (3)

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Let’s look in more detail at how drinking lemon water can help address a number of health conditions.

Lemon Water Can Strengthen Your Immune System

One of the most important benefits of drinking lemon water is that their vitamin C content helps strengthen your immunity.

Researchers report that vitamin C (which is found in lemons) is an essential micro-nutrient to keep the body healthy. Vitamin C protects the cells against damage and increases antibodies that help fight infection. Regular intake of vitamin C helps to prevent and treat respiratory and other infections in the body. (4)

The high vitamin C content in lemons can help prevent flu and cold infections. Studies into the ways of boosting the immune system have found that vitamin C helps reduce the duration of common cold symptoms. Increasing the levels of vitamin C has been linked with lower inflammation and reducing allergic responses. (5)

Research has also found that infections and stress can lower vitamin C levels. (6) Consuming warm lemon water when you have a cold or other infection can help to offset a vitamin C deficiency.

In fact, supplementing your diet with vitamin C and zinc can help to treat infections like pneumonia and diarrhea. (6)

Apart from vitamin C, there are many other ways that you can strengthen your immunity.

Lemon Water Benefits Your Cardiovascular Health

Lemon water is good for you because it helps to keep your heart and arteries in good health.

Studies into the antioxidant properties of citrus fruits such as lemons have found that their peel contains polyphenolic compounds called hesperidin and naringin. These chemicals have been shown to be effective in improving cardiovascular health. (7, 8) The juice and peel from citrus fruits like lemon can lower blood pressure, reduce lipids (fats in blood), and help prevent cardiovascular disease. (9)

Research has also revealed that lemon peel (as with other citrus fruits) has high amounts of antioxidants like hesperidin and naringin. Lemon peel is also a good source of dietary fiber, which is also associated with protecting cardiovascular health. (10)

To make a healthy tonic for your heart, you could also grate the lemon peel and mix it in your lemon water before drinking every morning.

The high levels of vitamin C in lemon infused water also help to protect your cardiovascular health. One cohort study on over 120,000 adults found that consuming foods rich in vitamin C can protect against coronary heart disease. (11)

Let’s look at scientific research at the specific ways antioxidant, vitamin C-rich drinks like lemon water can benefit your coronary system.

Consuming lemon water can lower blood pressure

Drinking lemon water in the morning can have an anti-hypertensive effect.

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Scientific research has shown that lemons and lemon peel can help to lower blood pressure. Drinking lemon water and daily walking had a combined effect to reduce systolic blood pressure. The study reported that lemon consumption increased citric acid levels in the body and improved blood pressure. (12)

Find out about more ways that you can lower your blood pressure naturally.

Drinking lemon water daily can lower your risk of stroke

A daily dose of lemon water can also reduce your risk of suffering a stroke.

A study from Japan over a 20-year period found that a lack of vitamin C was often related to incidences of stroke. The researchers suggested that a vitamin C can help protect against stroke. (13)

Learn about how you can easily make a few lifestyle changes to prevent stroke.

Lemon infused water helps lower cholesterol

One of the many benefits of drinking lemon water is lowering LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. The antioxidant content of lemon peel and the vitamin C levels in lemons help to reduce this type of fat in your blood.

Doctors say that low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is the “bad” type that causes a buildup of plaque in the arteries. However, supplementing your diet with vitamin C can help to lower LDL cholesterol. The results of one study showed that 500 mg per day of vitamin C for 4 weeks can help to lower “bad” cholesterol. (14)

Antioxidants in lemons can also help to reduce cholesterol levels in your blood. Laboratory trials using mice have found that citrus fruits contain flavonoids that have a cholesterol-lowering effect. (15)

Find out what else you can do to lower your cholesterol to safe levels.

Lemon Water Promotes Digestive Health

Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning is good for you because it can boost your digestion.

There are a number of factors why drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice in a glass of water can help improve your digestion.

Research has shown that lemon peel contains amounts of dietary fiber. This can help in improving digestion and increasing nutrient absorption in the small intestine. Fiber from citrus fruits can have an overall benefit on intestinal health. (16)

When preparing your lemon water drink, remember to grate in some of the lemon zest and mix it before drinking.

Another way that lemon water is good for your digestion is that it increases your hydration levels. Some studies indicate that dehydration can result in gastrointestinal disorders. (17) Also, not drinking enough fluids has been linked to chronic constipation. (18)

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Apart from drinking warm lemon water, find out what other herbal teas can improve your digestive health.

Lemon Water Improves the Appearance of Your Skin

Drinking a glass or two of warm or slightly hot lemon water every day can help to improve the appearance of your skin.

What factors are involved in improving the look of your skin by drinking lemon water?

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that helps to prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Research has shown that dietary vitamin C is an important nutrient for the skin. Higher intakes of vitamin C in your diet can help to improve skin appearance and prevent the signs of premature aging. (19)

Also, dietary antioxidants like carotenoids and polyphenols (which are found in lemon water) can provide protection against oxidative damage of the skin. Nutrients like vitamin C also help to protect skin cells against damage. (20)

Another benefit to your skin of regularly drinking lemon water is that increased hydration keeps your skin healthy. One study found that drinking water significantly benefits your skin and provides deep skin hydration. (21)

Find out about signs that you may be dehydrated and need to increase your daily fluid intake.

Lemon Water Assists in Weight Loss

Adding a glass of lemon water to your daily diet may help you lose weight.

There is no hard, scientific proof that lemon water can burn fat in humans. However, there is evidence that lemons can help you lose weight faster.

One study on the antioxidants in lemons found that polyphenols could have an anti-obesity potential. Scientists noticed that mice who consumed lemon peel extracts had less weight gain than mice who didn’t receive the lemon extract. They concluded that lemon polyphenols could improve or prevent obesity. (22)

Of course, it is not known if drinking lemon water every day would have the same fat-burning effect on humans. However, one trial on humans showed that lemon peels do have the potential to lower obesity. Researchers found that lemon extracts improved cardiovascular health and slightly lowered body mass index. (23)

Drinking lemon water regularly can also indirectly assist in weight loss because it helps to make you feel fuller. You can also reduce your calorie intake by switching to lemon water rather than drinking sugary sodas.

Find out simple tweaks you can do every day to improve your health and lose weight safely.

Drinking Lemon Water Can Prevent Kidney Stones

One or two glasses of warm lemon water every day can help prevent and treat kidney stones.

The science behind the ability of lemons to prevent kidney stones is linked to the effect that lemon water has on urinary citrate. Research has shown that higher levels of urinary citrate help prevent oxalate stone from forming. Researchers suggested that lemon water is an alternative treatment for kidney stones. (24)

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How much lemon water per day should you drink for kidney stones? One study found that consuming 5 or 6 tablespoons of lemon juice a day could help to prevent recurring problems with kidney stones. (25)

Find out about other ways to treat kidney stones naturally, including how apple cider vinegar can dissolve kidney stones.

Lemon Water Can Help Manage Diabetes

Lemon water is low in carbs and low in calories and can benefit you if you suffer from diabetes.

Research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that vitamin C can help manage blood glucose levels. (26)

Another reason why lemon water is good if you have diabetes is that it increases insulin sensitivity. Studies have revealed that flavonoids in citrus fruits can help treat insulin resistance, lower blood lipid levels, and reduce inflammation. (27)

Lemons are just one of the many foods that can help to manage symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Lemon Water May Have Anticancer Potential

The high content of vitamin C and antioxidants in lemons and lemon peel means that it has anticancer properties.

There is no evidence to suggest that drinking a glass of water a day can treat cancer. However, adding a glass or two of lemon water as part of a healthy diet can help prevent the development of certain cancers. Scientists have said that vitamins, flavonoids, and antioxidants in fruit juices have “cancer inhibitory properties.” (28)

Interestingly, the journal Nutrition and Cancer reported that citrus peel consumption may help protect against certain cancers. (29)

You can increase the benefits of drinking lemon water by adding grated lemon peel to your drink.

How to Make Lemon Water (Lemon Water Recipe)

It is very easy to make your own lemon water. However, to really benefit from ingesting lemon water, you should drink at least one glass per day.

Some people prefer adding freshly squeezed lemon juice to a cup of warm water. It is claimed that warm lemon water drinks help to improve digestion and put less stress on your intestines.

Or, you may prefer refreshing cold lemon water especially on a hot day or after exercising.

Lemon water detox recipe

To make your detox lemon water, this is what you should do:

  1. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into an 8-oz glass of warm water.
  2. If you want, grate the rind of the lemon into the glass to increase the benefits of lemon water.
  3. Drink the lemon water first thing in the morning (some recommend on an empty stomach, about 20-30 minutes before breakfast).

Hot lemon water may result in destroying many of the beneficial nutrients of lemon. If you decide to use hot water and lemon, you should let the water cool for a bit before adding the lemon juice.

You can also add apple cider vinegar to your lemon water drink to boost its health benefits. Check out these easy and effective recipes of apple cider vinegar detox drinks.

When is the Best Time to Drink Lemon Water?

Although you can drink lemon juice at any time of the day, you may get the most benefit from fresh lemon water by drinking it when you wake up.

What are the benefits of drinking lemon water in the morning? Here are a few:

  • You may be slightly dehydrated in the morning, and drinking lemon water can help replenish essential fluids.
  • A glass of lemon water can help you feel fuller and prevent overeating later in the day.
  • Drinking a glass of warm lemon water detox in the morning may help improve digestion and help detoxify your body.
  • You are more likely to remember to drink lemon water if you have a set time first thing in the morning

What if I Don’t Like Warm Lemon Water?

In my article “Which Is Better: Drinking Cold Or Warm Water?” I’ve mentioned cases where warm water is better. For example for better digestion or detox purposes drink warm lemon water.

However drinking cold lemon water is good after exercise or if you have a fever and you want to cool your body down.

In any case, if you want to use lemon water for better digestion and detoxifying your body and you don’t like warm water, you can also drink it in a room temperature.

Side Effects of Lemon Water

Lemons are tangy citrus fruits that are packed with goodness. There are usually no adverse effects of drinking warm lemon water or cold lemon water. Doctors on WebMD say that lemons are generally safe to consume even in higher medical amounts. (30)

However, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • Lemons contain a high amount of citric acid which could affect tooth enamel. Drinking through a straw or rinsing your mouth with water afterward can prevent any damage to your teeth.
  • Although lemon water can help prevent acid reflux, it seems to cause symptoms of heartburn in some people.
  • Lemon water isn’t a diuretic, but drinking more fluid throughout the day will make you use the bathroom more.

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