Sitting outside in the sun on a beautiful spring day in Seattle (yes, there is sun in Seattle), my beverage of choice is ice water with lemon. Although, according to many recent articles (here, here, and here, to name a few), I should be drinking hot water with lemon. Every single day. Why you ask? Let’s dig in a little deeper.
Detoxifies the Body
Does drinking hot water with lemon really help rid your body of the toxins you accumulate through, well, living? We take toxins into our bodies every day, just by going outside, eating food, and breathing the air around us. Many of the sites touting the health benefits of lemon water list detoxification right at the top.
Products from lemons may help to lower cholesterol. Hamsters who were fed lemon peels for 8 weeks in addition to a cholesterol-enriched diet had lower levels of cholesterol than hamsters that were not regularly fed lemon products.
Another study in rats showed that a compound in lemons could reduce oxidative damage from free radicals in the livers of rats who had oxidative stress induced by exercise.
It doesn’t appear that there have been many (if any) studies done in humans looking at whether or not drinking lemon juice on a regular basis will help rid your body of toxins.
Prevents Wrinkles and Acne
Many of the studies analyzing the effect of vitamin C on skin looks at vitamins, oils and other substances applied topically (to the skin). Few look at how diet affects the formation of acne or wrinkles. Beyond a high carbohydrate diet, there does not appear to be a lot of concrete evidence supporting the role of diet in acne formation.
There is some evidence showing that supplements of red orange extract can help reduce skin pigmentation induced by UV-light. Topically, vitamin C has been used in anti-aging products for years, but there still isn’t enough research to conclusively say that drinking lemon juice will prevent aging or reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Encourages Weight Loss
One study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition found that mice who ate a high calorie diet supplemented with compounds called polyphenols (nutrients found in many foods) from lemon peels had less fat tissue than mice who ate a regular high fat diet after 10 weeks.
Another study in humans showed that overweight men who supplemented with a citrus-based polyphenol for 12 weeks lost weight and improved the measures of their metabolic function.
The Bottom Line
There is still more research to be done to really understand whether or not there are concrete health benefits associated with drinking hot water with lemon. However, if you like the taste and it makes you feel better, then why not? Replacing sugar-laden soda drinks with lemon water is surely good for your health and there seem to be few downsides to drinking lemon juice in water.
Although, you should consider what your water-lemon habit is doing to your teeth. A health.com article quotes dentist Dr. Joanne Caplin about what the acid in the lemon juice can do to your teeth.
“The acid in the lemon can break down your tooth enamel. Once you break down the enamel, bacteria can get in, and then you’ve opened yourself up to tooth decay and cavities, “ Caplin says. She suggests rinsing your mouth out with another glass of plain water to remove the acid from your teeth.
TapGenes Take Away: There is little scientific evidence that supports the health benefits of drinking hot water with lemon. However, if it makes you feel good and you like the taste, then drink away!
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