Lemon water can help you stay hydrated

Water with lemon has been enjoyed worldwide for thousands of years. Drinking lemon water is good for you because it can help you stay hydrated, support your immune system, promote weight loss, and do other good things for you.
Water with lemon has been enjoyed worldwide for thousands of years. Drinking lemon water is good for you because it can help you stay hydrated, support your immune system, promote weight loss, and do other good things for you.

When life gives you lemons, should you make lemon water? Water with lemon has been enjoyed worldwide for thousands of years. Citrus drinks date back as far as the 4th century BC, and lemons were considered a status symbol in ancient Mediterranean cultures. 

Lemons are thought to have first been cultivated in what is now Northwestern India, where lemon water is still thought to have healing properties according to Ayurveda, a traditional form of Indian alternative medicine.  

Read on to learn what you need to know about drinking water with lemon.

Drinking water is essential to good health. Good hydration is vital for various body functions, including:

  • regulating body temperature
  • lubricating joints
  • preventing infections
  • getting good quality sleep
  • focusing 
  • maintaining a healthy mood.

While water needs vary, experts recommend that the average woman drink 11 cups a day and the average man drink 16 cups. Still, most adults in the U.S. don't consume enough water, and up to 75% of Americans may be chronically dehydrated. Chronic dehydration leads to a host of health problems, including: 

Most people know that water is good for them, but many don't like the taste of plain water. People who dislike water often choose sugary or caffeinated drinks as their beverage. Unfortunately, these drinks have serious health drawbacks. 

Sugar-sweetened beverages lead to a higher risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease and, to a lesser extent, cancer. Caffeinated beverages may cause headaches and insomnia. A splash of sugar-free flavor like lemon juice or a lemon slice can help encourage you to drink more water.

Lemon water may support your immune system

Citrus fruits like lemon are an excellent source of vitamin C, supporting immune function. Water with lemon can be an easy way to incorporate more citrus fruits into your diet

Warm lemon water, sometimes mixed with salt or honey, is a traditional immune booster and remedy for the cold, flu, and sore throats.

Water with lemon can help promote weight loss

Drinking lemon water is widely promoted as a way to boost weight loss. Lemon water helps fill your stomach without calories and can act as a natural appetite suppressant. 

Mild dehydration can be mistaken as hunger by your brain, so proper hydration can help you respond to your hunger cues accurately, and drinking water before eating can reduce food intake by as much as 22%. 

Water may also boost your metabolism by stimulating thermogenesis — heat production — in the body. Chilled water may have more pronounced effects, as your body has to expend more energy to bring a cold drink to body temperature. 

Water can also prevent temporary weight gain by slowing your digestive process and preventing bloating.

Lemon water can help promote urinary tract health

Lemon water can help prevent health issues with your urinary tract, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney stones.

Foods high in potassium and citric acid, like lemons, help prevent the formation of kidney stones by avoiding crystal growth in your urine. Drinking plenty of fluid also helps prevent kidney stones by diluting the substances in the urine that can form into stones.

Drinking more fluids like water with lemon flush out bacteria in your urinary tract and can help you prevent urinary tract infections. It's estimated that around half of urinary tract infections can be resolved by drinking lots of fluids. More acidic liquids like lemon water may be more effective at treating UTIs.

What are the health risks of lemon water?

Drinking lemon water is generally a very safe practice. Still, there are some concerns to be aware of.

The citric acid in lemon juice can wear down the enamel on your teeth over time. In a study comparing lemon juice to Coca-Cola, Sprite, orange juice, apple juice, and other beverages that can potentially erode tooth enamel, lemon juice was the most erosive. Using a straw to drink lemon water can help prevent damage to your teeth.

Citrus fruits like lemon may trigger acid reflux in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic condition that can lead to esophageal cancer if left untreated. If you have GERD, monitor your lemon water consumption to make sure it's not making your reflux worse, and only add a small amount of lemon to your water.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/1/2022
References
SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: "Will Lemon Coffee Help You Lose Weight?"

Hartford HealthCare: "The Underrated Lemon: 5 Ways It's Good for Your Health."

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Higher consumption of sugary beverages linked with increased risk of mortality." "The importance of hydration."

HUB at Work: "Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight."

Korean Journal of Urology: "Medical and Dietary Therapy for Kidney Stone Prevention."

Mayo Clinic: "Boost your senses with citrus fruits," "Dehydration," "Home Remedies: What works for a cold and what doesn't," "I've been seeing ads that say caffeinated drinks hydrate you as well as water does. Is this true?," "Water: The forgotten nutrient," "Women's Wellness: Drink water to fight those urinary tract infections."

PLoS ONE: "Influence of Various Acidic Beverages on Tooth Erosion. Evaluation by a New Method."

Tufts University Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy: "Q. Ive heard that drinking lemon water can help with my acid reflux. Is this true?"

UFHealth Podcasts: "Studies show most Americans are dehydrated."

Urology Care Foundation: "Hydrate to Help Prevent Kidney Stones."