January is all about fresh starts; cleaning, organizing, taking care of your body. While many of us have fallen off the treadmill already, the health benefits and simplicity of lemon water make it an easy resolution to keep.
As we roll into the New Year with new goals and aspirations – attention seems to focus on health. Maybe it’s because all of the Holiday binging has left us feeling slack and sluggish, maybe it’s because we’ve added a few pounds and the clothes Santa brought are a bit snug around the middle, maybe it’s just about fresh starts and clean slates, but whatever the reason magazines, television and yes – even us pesky bloggers – are promoting healthy and happy ideas to start your 2023 on a strong note.
Why drink lemon water?
I have a friend that raves about the benefits of drinking lemon water. She claims that it has helped curb her sugar cravings, has left her feeling revitalized and energized and that overall she has noticed a considerable difference in her body. We’re not talking weight loss here – I’ve done some research and lemon water has not been proven to dramatically aid in weight loss – more of an overall feeling of strength and energy that she was lacking before.
I’ve been thinking about this since she mentioned it a month or so ago – yes, it does take my brain awhile to process, digest and then implement “healthy” ideas – and now that I’m ready I wanted to do a bit of research before starting. No use trying, or promoting, the latest fad if the claims can’t be backed with research.
Surf the internet and you will find dozens of articles promoting the benefits of lemon juice in water. Some are researched and footnote back to medical journals and studies, others ride the coat-tails of those formal articles… which is what I’m doing here. (Sorry guys, science was not a favourite subject of mine, but I promise I did fact-find through dozens of legitimate articles to come up with my list.)
What are the proportions of lemon to water?
The key to this citrus water is to use real lemons. You’ll need half a lemon per drink, and make sure to remove the seeds. (hey, people eat Tide Pods – gotta cover my butt here lol) To reap the benefits of the lemon oils, you’ll want to include some zest in your drink as well – just think of it as a few stray coffee grounds and it will be easy enough to down. Combine your juice and zest with about 6 oz of water. (Although for hydration alone, 8 oz would be better)
Most articles promoted a warm drink – not boiling hot, but a nice warmer-than-luke glass.
What if I don’t like lemon water (or water in general)?
I hear you! Water is NOT a treat for me – it’s a chore.
If you have a sweet tooth and find the idea of drinking lemon water boring or even distasteful, try adding a small amount of raw honey to your drink. Sweeteners (natural or otherwise) will negate a lot of the good we’re trying to do, but raw honey has its own natural benefits that will work with the lemon water to boost your system further.
When should I drink my lemon water?
Drink first thing in the morning and then don’t eat for 30 minutes. If you still want your coffee or chai latte afterwards, think of them as ‘dessert’. The best results and the most impact from lemon water come when it is consumed on an empty stomach and has time to work with your stomach acids and start its journey through your liver. Ideally, drinking your lemon water will actually leave you feeling a bit more full and eventually you won’t even crave that coffee or tea at all. (I haven’t reached that stage – I love my chai too much lol)
What are the benefits of drinking lemon water?
NutritionData, the juice from one lemon contains:
Energy: 11.7 calories (kcal)
Vitamin C: 21.6 milligrams (mg)
Folate: 6.1 micrograms (mcg)
Calcium: 3.3 mg
Magnesium 2.8 mg
Phosphorus: 2.8 mg
Lemon juice in water can help cleanse your system of toxins which will leave your skin looking and feeling healthier. I should clarify; lemon water is not an anti-oxidant and your liver handles detoxifying your system, but water (lemon or otherwise) aids in flushing your system to keep all your parts at peak performance.
Obviously water helps keep us hydrated, but the added lemon brings a bit of Vitamin C and potassium into the mix to give your body a bit of a nutritional boost.
Lemon juice can aid in digestion. The citric acid works with your stomach acids to break down food and since stomach acid decreases as we age, this little booster can help.
Lemon water will NOT make you lose weight. According to the articles I researched, those are false statements, BUT replacing your morning OJ or coffee with lemon water is a calorie reduction. Multiply those saved calories by 30 days and there is a caloric intake difference. In conjunction with fewer calories, a tummy full of water (lemon or otherwise) will leave you feeling full and therefore less inclined to snack, so I can see how people have stretched the truth a bit here.
Vitamin C & Potassium; ½ of a lemon will provide you with ~1/6th of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C. Lemons also contain potassium which the body needs to aid in transporting nutrients and waste, and helps with blood pressure regulation. The amount of potassium in one glass is not sufficient to meet any daily requirement, but it’s a small percentage in the right direction of better health.
The downside of drinking lemon water
As a Mom of a child with thin enamel on her teeth, I will warn you that lemon water – any acidic juices actually – can, and will, damage the enamel of your teeth over time. To combat the acid deterioration that lemon water might cause, rinse your mouth (or drink) with plain water afterwards and/or brush your teeth…. just to be safe. No use having great skin if all of your teeth have rot out. It may also be worth to get in touch with your dentist and have a check-up on the condition of your oral hygiene if you drink any acidic drinks frequently.
If you suffer from acid reflux, citrus water is not recommended. Adding any extra acid to an already acidic environment will aggravate your symptoms.
Research on the effects of lemon water:
- Lemon water benefits: are there any? ~LiveScience.com
- 6 Ways Your Body Benefits from Lemon Water. ~Healthline.com
- Effect on Blood Pressure of Daily Lemon Ingestion and Walking. ~PubMed Central
- Benefits of drinking lemon water. ~Medical News Today
Am I going to try this lemon water craze? I’m already on Day 3. I couldn’t think of any reason not to? It seemed like a simple addition to my day and an easy habit to begin – besides there are at least 5 reasons above to give it a shot.
Let me know after trying it for 14 days if you’ve noticed a difference in your body/energy/health/vitality.
Have a great one!