When my yoga instructor first described drinking hot lemon water, I was skeptical. She said it cleansed the palate better than other drinks during a meal and helped her feel more full. Sure, I thought, but…it’s lemon water. Sour, right? Acidic? Bitter? No thanks.
But I’m one of those people who’s always cold. I can get a chill from eating ice cream on an overcast summer day. And I can only drink so much decaf coffee before I feel like I’ve licked the bottom of an ashtray. Tea—weird story, but true—often makes me nauseated. I needed something to warm me from the inside, and bourbon shots seem so inappropriate at lunch.
So I tried heating water and adding a big wedge of lemon. Surprisingly, it was perfect. It was hot and flavorful, and yet not too biting or acidic tasting. Drinking lemon water didn’t bother my stomach, and I didn’t feel dehydrated. Quite the opposite!
It’s pretty rare that something I enjoy is actually good for me, but as it turns out, there’s quite a long list of benefits of drinking lemon water. It isn’t a magic detox and it won’t dissolve fat.
Benefits of Regularly Drinking Lemon Water
- Boost your immune system. Lemon is a great source of Vitamin C, which aids your immune system in preventing illness as well as lessening the potential severity of a cold.
- Decrease the signs of aging. Antioxidants in lemons can lessen the appearance of wrinkles and dryness; the hot water that you drink it with keeps your skin cells plump and hydrated. Vitamin C also is instrumental in the formation of collagen.
- Help prevent strokes. Both Vitamin C and potassium, which is also present in lemons, have been shown to ward off strokes. Potassium also helps lower blood pressure.
- Balance your body’s pH. You might think, as I did, that lemon water is acidic. But just the opposite is true: Lemons are alkalizing, tipping the scale back to neutral. Too much acidity—often from diet sources such as meat, cheese, processed foods and bread—can cause inflammation. And preliminary studies indicate that a diet of alkaline fruits and veggies may strengthen bones and muscles, assist heart health and brain functioning and reduce your risk for colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes.
- Give your gut a hand. I never believed that this could be one of the benefits of drinking lemon water. I was sure my sensitive stomach would be wringing itself out after a single mug. But lemon juice can alleviate indigestion, heartburn and bloating, as well as flush the digestive system more quickly.
- Speed up your metabolism. This benefit of drinking lemon water comes more from the water and less from the lemon. Consuming extra water keeps your system humming, so adding lemon water to your day or replacing other drinks with lemon water can increase your hydration levels.
As my yoga teacher mentioned, drinking lemon water does help you to feel full longer—fluids commonly have that effect. And it can keep you warm on those frigid summer days when you’re eating a vanilla cone and the sun goes behind the clouds. I’ve found that drinking lemon water does cleanse the palate, too, so I enjoy a mug after dinner to help quench my munchies.
Preparing lemon water could hardly be easier. Wash the lemon before cutting through it, or you’ll drag any bacteria on the peel right through the fruit with the knife. Then squeeze a half a lemon into a mug of steaming water; drop the lemon in after you give it a good squish to enjoy increasing lemon levels as it steeps. That slice of sunshine may brighten any kind of weather!