Lemon water 101: What are the benefits of drinking it?

Posted: 4:49 PM, Aug 04, 2017
Updated: 2017-08-04 16:49:49-04

Drinking lemon water has been around for ages and lately we’ve heard all sorts of health claims. Are any of them true and how exactly would your health benefit from drinking lemon water?

Lemons are high in vitamin C.  Squeezing the juice from half a lemon will give you roughly 25% of the recommended daily intake.

We need vitamin C as it’s essential for the development and repair of all body tissues.

Lemons also contain flavonoids which have antioxidant properties.  These substances may help protect your cells from damage and disease. 

Lemon water can also help with painful kidney stones because lemons contain high amounts of citrate that can prevent new stones from forming.  And drinking lemon water tops up your fluid intake, which helps to prevent another common cause of kidney stones - dehydration.   

One of the popular myths regarding lemon water has to do with weight loss.  Lemons have a type of fiber called pectin.  But it’s a small amount, roughly 2 grams of fiber per lemon. Drinking lemon water can lead to weight loss but not because of the fiber - it’s because the water will fill you up and curb your appetite.

If you’d like to make this inexpensive tasty drink, here are my prescriptions:

  1. Buy lemons that are fully yellow.  Avoid any that are hard, wrinkly or dull-looking.
  2. Start off with half a lemon and add in more juice if a stronger tang is preferred. It doesn’t matter if the water is hot or cold.
  3. Try squeezing several lemons and freeze the juice in ice cube trays.  This makes it very easy to have fresh lemon juice available at any time.
  4. Try experimenting with flavors by adding in mint leaf, lemon rind, or other ingredients alongside your lemon.

One thing to watch out for, is the acid in lemons.  There’s a possibility it could damage tooth enamel if you drink a lot of it.

If you’re concerned, use a straw or rinse your mouth afterwards. 

I’m all for drinking lemon water, it’s a healthier alternative to many sugary beverages and it does provides health benefits.  But you may not gain much if you already eat plenty of fruits and vegetable. 

Enjoy lemon water for what it is, a flavorful low-calorie, low-sugar drink that can raise your vitamin C levels.