If you struggle to stay hydrated drinking water alone – but don’t want the added calories of sugary sodas – adding a touch of lemon to your water could be the key.
Not only does a slice or spritz of lemon make water easier to drink, it’s also believed to aid digestion, increase energy levels and even help with weight loss.
The 7 benefits of drinking lemon water
As well as tasting good, lemon water has some added benefits over your standard water.
1. Aids hydration
The average adult needs between 90 and 120 ounces of water a day – more if you’re working up a sweat at the gym.
Adding lemon to cold or hot water can make it just a little easier to keep your fluid levels up – especially if you find it hard to drink just plain water. It’s particularly refreshing as soon as you wake up, as we’re often a little dehydrated when we first get out of bed.
2. Boosts Digestion
Our digestive system needs plenty of fluids to function properly, and you may find you feel a little bloated and sluggish if you aren’t drinking enough water during the day.
Many people swear by the benefits of drinking warm water with lemon in the morning to kick start the digestive system. Plus, citric acid found in lemons is also believed to help pre-metabolize food, a similar effect to taking apple cider vinegar before a meal – though lemon juice is a much cheaper and tastier option.
3. Detoxes your skin and body
Water is key to healthy looking skin, as dry skin can crack, wrinkle and lose its elasticity. But the added vitamin C in lemon juice also gives your immune system a boost and helps produce collagen, which is needed to keep your skin and blood vessels healthy.
Proper hydration can prevent headaches and urinary tract infections too, making sure the bad stuff is flushed out of your body efficiently.
4. Increases energy levels
While your morning coffee might give you the kick-start you need to get out the house, you’ll soon feel the crash as the caffeine leaves your system. Swapping caffeine-heavy drinks for lemon water will keep energy levels on an even keel and may even help you kick the caffeine habit.
Some believe the citric acid in lemons helps your body process food more effectively, helping to stabilize blood sugar and prevent energy slumps that might have you reaching for a candy bar.
5. Boosts vitamin C intake
The juice of half a lemon provides you with a quarter of your recommended daily vitamin C intake. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system, helps support cell regeneration and, basically, makes your body fight off everyday ailments like the common cold.
It is an essential part of a balanced diet and although it occurs naturally in plenty of fruit and vegetables, introducing lemon water to your diet is a great way to keep your levels topped up if you’re not getting enough at mealtimes.
6. Supports weight loss
Staying hydrated is key to weight loss, as drinking enough water can block hunger pangs. Often, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty, so grab a glass of lemon water before you reach for that bag of chips.
Lemon also acts as a mild diuretic, so can reduce bloating by keeping your bladder working efficiently. Plus, if you swap out sugar soda and milky coffee for lemon water, you’ll be taking in fewer calories and could drop a few pounds as a result.
7. Freshens your breath
People have been using lemons to get rid of bad breath for centuries. The acid in lemons gets rid of the bacteria that causes bad breath. Plus, it stimulates the saliva glands helping prevent a dry mouth, which can lead to less than fragrant breath.
The fresh taste and pleasant smell means diluted lemon juice can also act as a natural mouth wash. Just make sure you swill with water afterwards to keep the acid off your tooth enamel.
How to make lemon water
If you want to gain the health benefits of lemon water all you need to do is juice half a lemon in to around 8 to 12 ounces of water for instant lemon water. If you’re a bit more organized, add a few slices of lemon to a fruit infuser bottle like the Myprotein Fruit Infuser first thing and it’ll be ready to drink when you hit the gym.
You can drink lemon water hot or cold, but you’ll actually get the most benefit if you drink your lemon water at room temperature. It’s also best to use fresh lemon juice – not the juice in bottles – if you want to get maximum benefit from your lemon water.
When to drink lemon water
Many people drink lemon water as soon as they wake up for maximum detoxifying effects, but you can drink lemon water whenever you want. There’s no added benefits of lemon water in the morning over the evening.
It’s best to sip it throughout the day, rather than gulping it down in one sitting as the body can only metabolize 12 ounces of water at a time – so little and often is key. Drinking too much water in one go can actually cause some of the symptoms you’re trying to avoid like headaches, nausea and the sudden urge to use the bathroom.
Side effects of drinking lemon water
Because lemon juice is highly acidic, it can cause problems if you already suffer from GERD (gastroesphageal reflux disorder), which causes heartburn, nausea and vomiting. If you have stomach ulcers, the increased acid content may also irritate the stomach lining and stop ulcers from healing properly, so you’d be better sticking with pure water to hydrate you.
The acid in lemons can also attack the enamel on your teeth, so you might want to limit your intake if you want to avoid a trip to the dentist. If you do drink lemon water, swill your mouth with pure water straight afterwards, or drink lemon water through a straw to keep it away from your teeth.
So…Should you start drinking lemon water?
While lemon water may not be a miracle cure for all your health and weight issues, it can help increase hydration and support your immune system. This means a healthier you all round and fewer missed gym days.
If you struggle to take in enough plain water to keep you properly hydrated, regular drinks with a splash of fresh lemon juice could be just the help you need. Or, swap sugary or caffeinated drinks for a cup of lemon water to cut down on calories and avoid a caffeine crash.
Plus, if you fill your Myprotein Fruit Infuser bottle with sliced lemon and water, you can save money and stay hydrated as you go.