Type into Google ‘what are the benefits of drinking lemon water?’ and you’ll get myriad responses – 183 million, to be exact – telling you that lemon water can do anything and everything from clear up your skin, hasten weight loss and even cure bad breath.
Many popular celebrities are also on the bandwagon, promoting the morning ritual to their millions of online followers.
So, it must be true, right? Well, let’s take a look at the facts…
The humble lemon is pretty impressive. With less than 5 calories per tablespoon, a squeeze of lemon juice over a fillet of fish, on a salad or in a homemade sauce can add some much-needed zing to an otherwise bland and boring meal. This flavour punch is virtually calorie free and is a good replacement for the salt shaker. Win-win.
Lemons are also rich in immunity-boosting Vitamin C with around a tenth of your daily requirements per spoonful. Aside from its disease-fighting properties, Vitamin C plays a role in producing collagen for supple skin and also helps to boost iron absorption. So far, so good, right?
It’s probably no surprise to you that drinking enough water is crucial for your overall health. It plays many vital roles in your body – regulating temperature, forming the structure of cells and aiding digestion, to name a few.
Having enough H2O every day will prevent dehydration, which could otherwise lead to symptoms like headaches, weakness and confusion. In case you’re wondering, women should aim for eight cups a day. For men, that quota bumps up to ten.
Lemon + water = magical elixir?
Combining two perfectly healthy ingredients sounds like a great idea to me – but many of the proclaimed benefits of drinking hot lemon water in the morning are not substantiated by science. My theory is that people might feel better when they’re drinking lemon water because they’ve subconsciously changed the rest of their diet for the better, too.
One of the biggest fallacies I’d like to touch on is the notion that lemon juice detoxifies your body. No – that’s what your liver and kidneys do. If you really want to ‘detox’, why not try cutting out alcohol, highly processed and deep-fried foods, first?
What’s more, all of that acidity could damage your tooth enamel.
In saying that, it’s not all doom and gloom – acidic foods can help to the lower the glycaemic index of a meal, which promotes sustained energy levels. Plus, if that squeeze of lemon juice helps you drink more water than you would otherwise, then that’s a good thing, too.
Melissa Meier is an online and Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.