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Top Doc: 7 Reasons You Should Be Adding Lemon to Your Water

Sip away bloat, heartburn, excess pounds and other health woes!

You probably know how essential hydration is for your overall health. But what if we told you that an inexpensive add-in could supercharge the healing powers of plain water and help you feel your best? Lemon water benefits your health in more ways than one: from keeping your digestive system moving to giving your skin back its luster, speeding weight loss and more. The refreshing sip is the perfect way to start your day — or to enjoy any time of day! Read on to more about the powerful perks of this tart sip.

The benefits of drinking lemon water

It enhances hydration 

Proper hydration is key for keeping our bodies operating in tip-top shape. On top of uncomfortable dehydration symptoms like dry mouth, brain fog and headaches, not sipping enough water can keep us from losing weight, feeling energized and more. “If you’re not hydrated, everything else you do to stay healthy may be compromised,” explains Dana Cohen, MD, author of Quench.

That’s where lemon comes in. Of course, you can stay hydrated by drinking plain water. “But let’s give lemon some credit!” says Lauren Slayton, MS, RD, founder of Foodtrainers and the author of The Little Book of Thin. While the fruit adds a bit of flavor to the otherwise plain drink, one of lemon water’s benefits is giving a major hydration boost. (Click through to learn why staying hydrated is so critical.) Why? “Lemon contains electrolytes, and those electrolytes help hydrate you faster than water alone,” says Slayton. Adds Dr. Cohen, “This quenches your thirst and keeps your body running more readily than just plain water.”   (Click through to learn how electrolyte water like Liquid IV can help you slim)

It improves digestion 

Many people choose to start their day with hot lemon water before they tuck into breakfast — and there’s a good reason for it! When enjoyed hot, the citric acid from lemon juice may stimulate the digestive tract, explains Dr. Cohen, setting your body up for the food you’re about to eat. “Lemon water may also help with the production of digestive juices,” Dr. Cohen says, explaining that this can also speed food breakdown and help you better absorb nutrients. In fact, one study in the European Journal of Nutrition found that the stomach emptied 1.5 times faster after subjects drank lemon water than it did after they drank plain water. That’s key for preventing symptoms like bloat, heartburn, reflux and constipation.

It can boost your immunity

You may not be able to get your full daily dose of vitamins and nutrients from sipping lemon water, but it definitely can’t hurt! About one lemon’s worth of juice provides 21% of your daily vitamin C, a nutrient that’s crucial for supporting a strong and healthy immune system. (Click through to learn how lemon and honey calms a cough.)

Other powerful lemon water benefits can be attributed to “moderate amounts of folate, thiamine, pantothenic acid, calcium and potassium,” says Dr. Cohen. These nutrients are vital for proper function of cells, protecting the heart, boosting energy and enhancing muscle function.

Related: The Best Tea for a Sore Throat? Docs Reveal Their Top 6 Picks That Soothe Fast

It can help you lose weight

Research shows that study subjects who drank a glass of water before a meal ate significantly less than those who didn’t. Add adding a squeeze of lemon juice can make the sip even more slimming. “Lemon juice may facilitate weight loss since it contains pectin, a soluble fiber that is associated with weight loss,” notes Dr. Cohen. In one study, adding more pectin to their diet helped participants lose 23% of their body fat since it increases satiety and tamps down the production of hunger-inducing hormones.

What’s more, making a simple swap from sugar-laden drinks like sodas and fruit juices to lemon water can help you shed pounds. You’ll effortlessly reduce your sugar intake, plus enhance hydration and digestion, two key factors in weight loss.

It reduces your risk of kidney stones

Kidney stones form when minerals and salts, which are naturally removed from the body in urine, build up in the kidneys. The hardened formations can back up the kidney, bladder and urethra, making urination difficult and painful. And while stones can form for a variety of reasons — including genetics and medications — the good news is that sipping more water is one of the best ways to ward off the painful formations.  Adding lemon juice to your water is smart, since lemon juice is packed with citric acid, a nutrient Slayton says is key for preventing kidney stones. Studies show that sipping about half a cup of lemon juice daily — which you may want to spread among a few glasses of water—can notably lower risk of stones. (Click through for more natural ways to prevent kidney stones.)

It balances blood sugar

Lemon water can help mitigate some of the energy-draining sugar spikes that you may experience after a meal. In fact, study subjects who ate bread after drinking lemon water had 35% lower glucose levels after an hour than those who sipped plain water. “More stable blood sugar means better energy and a reduced likelihood of fat storage,” says Slayton, who advises drinking lemon water close to mealtime to prevent blood sugar from dropping. 

It beautifies your skin

Proper hydration keeps your skin healthy and regulates sebum production levels, warding off oily sebum to keep your pores clear and your skin looking lively. And by adding lemon, you’ll get an extra dose of skin-healthy nutrients. “Its vitamin C and flavonoids make the skin rejuvenated and bright,” says Dr. Cohen. You can also use lemon water topically to spritz the face for outer hydration and topical vitamin C, which is known to improve skin appearance. Plus, “vitamin C is needed for collagen production, which helps the skin’s appearance,” adds Slayton.

Is lemon water safe?

For most people, a few daily glasses of lemon water can only help your health. But since lemons are acidic, Dr. Cohen suggests using caution if you have gastrointestinal issues like heartburn or reflux (Click through for natural heartburn cures). Drinking too much lemon water can also erode tooth enamel, so try drinking through a straw, a strategy known to mitigate the effects of acid on teeth.

How to make lemon water

Making a glass of lemon water is as easy as slice, squeeze and enjoy. Nutrition expert Michelle Schoffro-Cook, PhD, recommends squeezing ¼ to ½ of a lemon into 8 oz. of water. But you can also get creative and make the tasty drink to your preferences. One way to do so: blending your lemon water with fresh ginger root and freezing the mixture into ice cubes. Or try Dr. Cohen’s Basil Lemon Tea, below.

Basil Lemon Tea

  • 3 to 5 basil leaves
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice to taste

Put the basil leaves in a cup. Add water, then stir in honey and lemon juice. Sip while hot.

Looking for more healthy water perks? Keep reading!

Adding the New Flavored ‘Skinny Syrups’ to Water Is Helping Women Lose 200+ lbs — Discover How It Can Work For You

Adding a Pinch Of Pink To Your Water Will Leave You Feeling Younger, Happier and Smarter

Top Doctors Say Toning Your Vagus Nerve Undoes the Toll Chronic Stress Has Taken on Your Body — and All It Takes Is Cold Water

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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