Is Lemon Water Good for You?

Lemon water

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Lemon water is an easy, nutritious way to stay hydrated every day. It’s popular at restaurants and only takes a few moments to prepare at home. It has also become trendy as a way to improve
digestion, skin health, and much more.

Here’s what to know about lemon water’s benefits, how much you should drink, and its potential drawbacks.

What is Lemon Water?

Squeeze a whole or a half lemon into a glass of water, and voila: You have lemon water. You can also simply drop lemon slices into your water, so that in addition to the juice, you’re getting the pulp in your drink.

Some people choose to liven up their lemon water by adding ginger, mint, turmeric, or a cucumber slice, but you can also drink it as is.

While many lemon water fans prefer theirs to be lukewarm in temperature, others drink it cool. There’s little evidence that either way is healthier, so opt for the temperature you like best.

Potential Health Benefits of Lemon Water

Lemons are cholesterol-free and fat-free, and they’re low in calories: about 17 per fruit. They’re also gluten-free and sodium-free, and they contain fiber and phytonutrients. Even though it seems like adding a simple squeeze of lemon to your regular cup of water is very simplistic, it may provide a variety of health benefits.

May Improve Hydration Levels

First, lemon water serves an obvious purpose: It helps you stay hydrated. If you find water to be a tad boring, adding zesty lemon can make it more fun to drink, which may help you to increase your overall water intake. Staying hydrated is incredibly important for several key body functions, including fighting fatigue and keeping digestion on track.

Provides Antioxidant Support

Lemons are a terrific source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects your body from harmful free radicals. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one lemon contains 34.4 mg of vitamin C, which is more than half the government’s recommended daily intake. Exactly how much vitamin C you get depends on how much lemon juice you squeeze into your water.

According to a 2015 article in Chemistry Central Journal, citrus fruits such as lemons are a “treasure trove” of health benefits, and their characteristics include: “anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, as well as cardiovascular protective effects, [and] neuroprotective effects.”

May Boost Skin Health

Your skin may benefit from lemon water, too: The vitamin C in lemons promotes collagen synthesis, research published in 2017 in the journal Nutrients found. That means it could help your skin look younger and more vibrant.

May Improve Digestion

Lemon water contains citric acid, which helps break down food and aids in digestion. Additionally, consuming more water, whether it's lemon water or regular water, combats constipation and promotes regularity.

May Prevent Kidney Stones

It can also help prevent and dissolve kidney stones. In fact, the National Kidney Foundation suggests consuming four ounces of lemon juice mixed with water a day to prevent kidney stones.

May Promote Weight Loss

While lemon water isn’t a magic weight-loss solution, it could help you shed some pounds: If
you use it to replace, say, a daily soda or glass of sugary juice, you’ll save hundreds of calories per week. Plus, sugar-sweetened drinks have been linked to weight gain and chronic diseases, so cutting back on them is an all-around win.

Who May Want to Avoid Lemon Water?

While lemon water can have many potential health benefits, it may not be a great choice for every individual.

Those with Sensitive Teeth

Holly Klamer, RDN, a nutrition educator based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, went through a phase in which she enjoyed drinking lots of lemon water. But she realized there was a downside to the habit: “It made my teeth more sensitive,” she says.

If you drink a lot of lemon water, the acid from the fruit could stay in your teeth, damaging your enamel and making you more prone to cavities.

Klamer suggests sipping lemon water through a straw or rinsing your mouth after drinking a
glass of it. Both strategies can help mitigate any impact on your teeth.

Immunocompromised Individuals

She also pointed out that many restaurants serve lemon water routinely—and that could be a germy situation in which to enjoy the beverage. In fact, previous research tested 76 lemons from 21 restaurants and found that nearly 70% had bacteria, viruses, and other microbes, including E. coli. So perhaps skip the lemon water in that situation, and prepare it for yourself at home instead.

People with Indigestion or Acid Reflux

Lemon water may also be too acidic for some people who struggle with indigestion or acid reflux. While lemon water may anecdotally help some people with digestion and alleviate acid reflux, it may also increase the acidity in the stomach and esophagus, worsening existing indigestion. If you suffer from acid reflux, you may want to speak with your health care provider to see whether they recommend avoiding citrus fruits and juices, even in small amounts.

When Should You Drink Lemon Water?

Anecdotally, some people say drinking lemon water in the morning gets their digestive system moving, while others find it calming to have a warm glass before bed.

When it comes down to it, you’ll reap lemon water’s benefits at whatever time of day you choose to consume it.

How Much Lemon Water Should You Drink?

There’s no limit. How much you drink, and when, is totally up to you.

But keep in mind how much fluid you need every day: The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggest 3.7 liters a day for men, and 2.7 daily liters for women.

If drinking lemon water helps you meet those recommendations, that’s great news.

A Word From Verywell

Adding lemon to your water can be an excellent way to boost your health and hydration. However, consider the potential situations in which regular water may be better. Additionally, to protect your teeth, you may want to cap your lemon water to a few cups per day.

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8 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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