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.It helps keep you from getting sick
We’ve all heard that vitamin C, which is found in citrus fruits like lemon, gives your immune system a boost (more on vitamin C later). But there are other ways drinking lemon water regularly can help prevent infection. “Certainly the acidic environment in the stomach serves as a barrier, deterring pathogens from gaining a foothold and causing illness,” says Roxanne B. Sukol, MD, medical director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Enterprise. “Ingestion of highly acidic foods, including lemon juice, contributes to the acidic environment.” According to The Cleveland Clinic, chemicals in lemon known as phytonutrients have antioxidant properties than can also help protect the body from disease.
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.It keeps you hydrated
Hydration is not a direct benefit of the lemon properties themselves, but rather, drinking flavored water might entice you to consume more of it. “Fluids in general provide hydration, however some people struggle to drink an adequate amount of water per day simply because they find water boring or do not enjoy the taste,” Palinski-Wade says. “Adding lemon to water can enhance the taste, making it more appealing to some, helping them to drink more and improve hydration.” Although the old rule was to drink eight 8-ounce glasses a day, nutritionists now recognize that the amount will vary based on what you weigh, how active you are, and where you live. One test to make sure you’re getting enough? Your pee should be nearly clear—if it’s yellow or dark, you need to drink more.
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.
6.It may help you look younger
The vitamin C in lemon juice might actually help your skin as well. One study from the UK showed that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with fewer wrinkles. “Because vitamin C is a nutrient that can fight off free-radical damage, it can protect skin,” Palinski-Wade says. This could be due to vitamin C’s effects on collagen, which helps make up the connective tissue under the skin. “In addition, the hydration from the water helps skin stay more subtle and provides a more youthful appearance,” she adds. Your skin is an organ, and hydration helps it function at its best.
7.It may help liver function
Another boon of staying well hydrated with lemon water is helping your liver to do a better job being the body’s filter. “Boosting overall hydration can help to improve the function of all organs in the body, including the liver,” Palinski-Wade says. “In addition, animal studies have found that the citrus flavonoids in lemon may protect the liver against toxins and reduce fat in the liver, protecting against fatty liver disease.” Your liver is the body’s natural mechanism for flushing out toxins; so although claims of “detoxification” from lemon juice aren’t exactly proven, helping the liver to work better could benefit your body.
8.It increases your potassium levels
We generally associate potassium with bananas, but it turns out lemons are a good source as well. “Potassium is found in large amounts primarily in fruits and vegetables,” Dr. Sukol says. “It is an element that is essential for cell function and metabolism, transmission of nerve signals.” According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, potassium, an electrolyte, helps to conduct electricity throughout the body. This nerve-muscle communication helps skeletal-muscular function—which is why you need it when you get a Charlie horse.
9.It makes you more regular
Along with helping your gut and liver, lemon-flavored water can be part of healthy way to help you go to the bathroom. “Increasing fluid intake can help to promote regular bowel movements,” Palinski-Wade says. ” If adding lemon to your water helps you to drink more fluid throughout the day, this may help you to become more regular.” And although lemon juice doesn’t provide much fiber, getting in pulp and zest from the peel could help boost the fiber content, which helps you go as well.
10.It helps prevent kidney stones
Kidney stones often develop as a result of dehydration, so a lemon-water habit could help flush out your kidneys and prevent these painful deposits. “Some kidney stones result from precipitation of calcium salts,” Dr. Sukol says. “Acidification of the aqueous—or watery—environment in which this occurs is thought to reduce the likelihood of precipitation, and therefore prevent the formation of some stones. Purely a chemical reaction.” So in other words, the acid from the lemon can help keep the stones from coming together. Although lemon-flavored water is thought to be a diuretic, this hasn’t been proven—rather, increased urination is likely the result of drinking more fluid. Either way, it’s helpful for keeping kidney stones at bay.