why you need to be drinking lemon water daily — 713-01

Shannon Clark, SATI STAFF

You’ve likely heard it time and time again: you need to be drinking enough water each day to be healthy. There’s no question that hydration is a must for optimal health status. Research has proven that hydration can do everything from improving exercise performance (1), helping you improve your chances of maintaining a healthy body weight (2), enhancing cognitive performance and memory (3), as well as lowering your risk factor for various diseases (4).

Up to 75% of people in today’s society (5) are not getting enough fluid into their day however and are instead, putting them in an even worse state by consuming beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol, both of which have dehydrating properties. While it’s good that these are putting fluid into your body, the bad news is they aren’t really helping you get ahead.

Water is the primary fluid you want to be consuming to maximize your health and well being and get your hydration status back on track. Water is pure and natural and is what makes up around 60% of your total body weight according to the USGS Water Sciences School (6).

The fact is though, you can take this one step further. Rather than just putting plain water into your body – which most people grow tired of anyway, you can add a little lemon to that water and enhance both the taste as well as the health benefits that it provides. Lemon water is the most beneficial fluid you could be drinking and there are a number of reasons why.

Let’s take a closer look at why you need to be drinking lemon water on a regular basis so that you can begin adding this to your daily diet plan.

Taste without the calories

The first big benefit that lemon water offers is an improved taste without the calories that other flavored beverages provide. Squeezing half a lemon into a glass of water will make the water far more palatable to get down for most people, so if you’re someone who tends to grow tired quickly of regular bland water, this may make meeting your needs easier.

And, it does this for very few calories. When you total up the juice from half a lemon, you’ll find that you only get around 6 calories and fewer than one gram of sugar (7). This makes it easy to add to any diet plan no matter what your goals happen to be.

Now compare that to adding other fruits to your water. If you were to say squeeze half an orange into your water, you’ll be getting nearly 20 calories and almost 4 grams of sugar total. While the extra 10 calories may not seem like much, the four grams of sugar sure is. If you do this for the 8 glasses of water you drink each day, that will add up to 32 grams of sugar total, which puts you well over the limit of how much sugar you should be consuming on a regular basis. Lemon water is a much smarter diet-friendly alternative.

Likewise, if you compare this option with any other beverages – whole fruit juices, milks, soda’s, and energy drinks, you’ll come in hundreds of calories less, making it a far superior option. While it’s true you could be drinking diet soda, do keep in mind that diet soda contains a lot of unnatural artificial sweeteners, so is not an ideal option as far as health or body weight is concerned. In fact, research published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine has noted that those who have a higher consumption of artificial sweeteners in their menu may actually be prone to weight gain (8).

Lemon water and vitamin C

Another big benefit to drinking lemon water is the vitamin C boost it’ll provide in your day. Vitamin C is an important water soluble vitamin and antioxidant that plays a key role in your overall immune strength (9). Research also suggests that supplementing with vitamin C may help when you feel the common cold or flu coming on as it may assist with reducing the severity and the related symptoms of that virus (10). Since it’s already important that you are staying well hydrated when down with the common cold, you can really improve your chances of getting well again by adding more water to your day.

One quarter cup of lemon or lime juice that’s been freshly squeezed will contain approximately 31% of your total vitamin C needs, so you are getting quite a good dose by adding this to your water. Drink that lemon water a few times a day and you could easily meet your entire daily recommendation for this vitamin without too much of a struggle.

Lemon water and antioxidant power

Antioxidants are key compounds you need to be taking in for overall health’s sake. They help to neutralize free radicals, which are compounds that our body becomes exposed to and can wreak havoc on our health, leading us to states of disease. The Vitamin C you take in through lemon are one of the most important antioxidants that you can consume and will help to protect your cells from damage, reducing your risk of inflammation along with chronic disease. Research published in the Official Journal of the Federation of American Society for Experimental Biology noted that free radical damage can be linked to conditions such as emphysema, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, cataracts, as well as even cancer (11).

Adding lemon to your water is an incredibly easy way to help put up greater defense against these unwanted health conditions and help ensure that you are feeling as strong as possible throughout the coming years ahead.

Improved insulin sensitivity

Whether you are someone who is currently suffering from diabetes or you are simply looking to prevent eventually contracting this condition, vitamin C is an important nutrient you’ll want to pay attention to. Research has shown that the flavonoids in citrus fruits may be beneficial for helping to improve insulin sensitivity and ward off symptoms associated with diabetes (12).

Insulin resistance is one of the hallmark traits of those who are suffering from diabetes and it can also be associated with obesity as well. It refers to how well your body is able to respond to the glucose that you consume, releasing insulin into the blood stream to help best manage the extra glucose that is present. Those have poor insulin sensitivity levels will have to release a lot greater volume of insulin to get blood sugar levels stabilized and this can also lead to a greater risk for overall body fat accumulation.

Lemon water and risk of kidney stones

Maintaining optimal kidney health is a must if you are going to lead a long life. Your kidneys work hard each and every day, filtering wastes out of the blood stream. If your kidneys fail to work properly, you may start to accumulate excess waste and metabolic byproducts, which can then put you at risk for greater health conditions.

Kidney stones are common and often very painful problem that some people deal with and one that you’ll without a doubt want to prevent. Getting some lemon water into your day can help you do this.

Kidney stones tend to form when there is a build-up of calcium oxalate in the kidneys, which is a mineral that is often found in the body. This mineral builds up, forming the stones, which then often need to be passed (painfully!) through the urine. One good way to prevent the build-up of this calcium oxalate however is by creating more citrate in your diet, which can be done through drinking lemon water.

Research has illustrated that those who experience kidney stones on a regular basis may notice an improvement in their symptom level by consuming lemon juice as a regular part of their meal plan (13). This is good news as it may help you avoid traditional medicines to treat this condition, which often do come with side effects. By treating it naturally through the use of lemon water, you can bypass those while reaping all the other health benefits we’ve mentioned so far here today.

Even better, consider drinking lemon water on a regular basis to help with the formation of these kidney stones in the first place. Prevention is always the best medicine, so you achieve that by getting in the habit of having plenty of lemon water daily.

Lemon water and weight loss

Another way that you may benefit from including lemon water in your diet is improved weight loss results. Now, there is nothing overly special about lemon water that will yield weight loss itself, but, it offers the same benefits of regular water in terms of helping you manage and maintain a favorable body weight and that cannot go overlooked.

Water – or rather, staying adequately hydrated is key for weight loss success. It helps out by:

  • Regulating your appetite. Many people often mistake thirst for hunger, eating when they really just need to be drinking. If adding lemon to your glass of water helps you consume more water over the course of the day, this may actually help you consume fewer calories overall as you’ll be less likely to eat mindlessly when you feel a small inkling of hunger coming on. By adding lemon water to your day, you may cut down on the number of snacks you have, thus making it easier to sustain a desired calorie deficit.
  • Improving your energy level. Those who stay hydrated optimally tend to have higher overall energy levels than those who don’t. This will help out with both regular exercise as well as day to day living. The more energy you have, the more effort you can put in at the gym, thus increasing your total calorie expenditure and even possibly seeing a higher post-exercise calorie burn. On top of that, you’ll also be more likely to complete spontaneous activity throughout the day, sometimes referred to as NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which can really add up as well. If you simply ‘move more’ throughout the day because your energy level is higher, this is going to translate to you burning more total energy and striking that energy balance needed to see weight loss results.
  • Flushing out excess water retention. Sometimes when on a fat loss diet, your body may be retaining extra water thanks to the foods that you ate that day or simply because you ate a salty meal the night before. If this is the case, you’ll need to consume extra fluids to help encourage the removal of this extra water, which can leave you looking a bit bloated and puffy looking. This is counterintuitive to what most people believe as you might think if you are retaining water, you should actually consume less water, but the opposite is what needs to happen. By drinking lemon water, you’ll be more likely to get this fluid in and as such, more likely to keep water retention under control. This, at the end of the day, may not actually get you leaner, but could help you look leaner, thus increasing your motivation to stick to your plan. Few things are more frustrating for any dieter working hard than stepping on the scale to see that they’ve gained a few pounds when really, this extra weight is just water and not body fat.

It’s even more important to get in adequate water when dieting, making lemon water an excellent choice here.

Lemon water and enhanced digestion

Another way that lemon water can help with your health status is by improving the overall rate and effectiveness of your digestive system. Water itself is needed for the proper breakdown and utilization of the nutrients found in the foods that you eat and when dehydration sets in, whether exercise is being performed or not, this can lead to delayed gastric emptying (14) as well as various gastrointestinal complaints (bloating, stomach pain, and discomfort).

The composition of lemon juice is also quite similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach, so by adding lemon to your water, you may enhance digestive processes even further. Many people will often note that if they are experiencing indigestion after a large meal, drinking a glass of water with lemon juice is one of the best ways to relieve that. The acids from the lemon water will actually trick the liver into producing bile acids, which then helps to push food along the digestive tract, getting things moving again.

Reduction in fine lines and wrinkles

Finally, if you are someone who is hoping to combat the appearance of aging on your skin, which typically shows up as fine lines and wrinkles, consider the benefits of lemon water. The vitamin C found in lemon juice can help to improve skin health, minimizing the appearance of these age related changes. Research (15) has suggested that those who are treated with ascorbic acid tend to notice fewer fine wrinkling marks, tactile roughness, course rhytids, improved skin laxity/tone, and less sallowness and yellowing.

Many people, women especially, spend hundreds of dollars on complex facial creams and treatments designed to reduce the signs of aging, so think of this as a smart natural solution that can be used instead.

The Sati line

So there you have the many benefits of drinking lemon water. It only takes a second or two to squeeze the juice from half a lemon into your glass of water and you too can reap all of the above mentioned benefits. Keeping lemons on hand in your fridge at all times is a wise idea so that you’ll never run out of access to this important beverage.

If you do prefer a stronger tasting lemon drink, consider actually placing half a clean sliced lemon right into the water and letting it sit overnight. This will allow more of the flavor to mix with the water, giving you a very refreshing beverage. You can also experiment with the addition of other herbs as well. Some great herbs to try adding into the water include mint, basil, sage, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, or even lavender. Just be sure to add these in large enough pieces that you can easily remove them before consuming.

Staying hydrated is important and most people simple aren’t doing a very good job of this. If adding a bit of lemon helps you improve your overall hydration status, this itself will offer pronounced benefits on your health over and beyond the added benefits you get from the lemons. Don’t miss out – pick yourself up some fresh lemons today and make this simple yet highly effective positive health change.