Health Benefits of Lemon Water in the Morning
If you haphazardly follow homeopathy news or simply wanted a simple alternative to herbal tea or coffee at times, then like me you may have had some warm lemon water in the morning from time to time through the years.
Now that alternative health choices are becoming more available and talked about, I had my own look around the Internet to chase up some of these pictures and articles placing such a premium on the benefits of a glass of lemon water in the morning. After all, I’d already pursued the habit for nearly a decade simply by circumstance.
Beneficial Qualities of Drinking Lemon Water
My rigorous Internet sleuthing turned up some real benefits to the stuff, as well as some potentially over-hyped advantages.
Natural System Flush
Our livers are extra active while we sleep, the natural time for our bodies to regenerate and recoup energy. When you drink sufficient water, particularly in the morning, you assist your body in performing those restorative tasks more efficiently.
There is some evidence that the vitamin C boost from lemon juice can stimulate additional production of stomach acid as well as bile in our systems. To that end, 1-2 glasses of lemon juice can contribute to healthier liver and lymphatic systems.
A Dissenting Opinion:
Dr. Ian Musgrave, a molecular pharmacologist and toxicologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, told Coach that “There is no evidence that these drinks will do anything to toxins.” However, he does later say, “The only advantage is that they will lower your calorie intake and increase vitamin C level.”
If an increase of vitamin C levels contributes to transformation of cholesterol into bile acids, then it’s difficult to ignore the advantages of a daily vitamin C boost for improved liver function. I think I’ll stick to my lemon water.
The most direct advantage to a healthy helping of lemon water in your morning could in fact be the temperature of the water itself–as opposed to any lemon additive. Drinking room temperature or even slightly warmer water can richly reward you with a digestive system flush in addition to rehydrating your body.
Consider this: First thing in the morning, you have just gone about 8 hours without any hydration. Getting a fresh start on your day with some warm water gives your system less of a challenge in needing to warm it up to system temperature and it can simply be rapidly absorbed.
Warm water can also soothe abdominal muscles, aiding in smoother digestion.
Vitamin C Boost to Your Immune System
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., writes for the Mayo Clinic that recommended daily vitamin C for an adult lies between 65 – 90mg. Notably, the upper limit is all the way up around 2000 mg/day. A typical lemon contains, on average, between 30 – 50 mg of vitamin C.
Putting 1-2 lemons into water puts you well into the recommended band, while remaining far removed from any hazardous upper limit. Happily, lemons also contain potassium (important for bonding molecules that produce urine).
According to this medical publication on Vitamin C and immune function, a higher available supply of vitamin C in your system enhances the immune system’s functions and reduces the duration of illnesses like the common cold.
Healthier, Glowing Skin
Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties as well as its role in the synthesis of collagen make it absolutely vital for the health of your skin. Some studies have even shown that it may assist in the prevention and treatment of UV damage to skin.
Vitamin C is naturally found in high levels in both the dermis and epidermis skin layers. It is transported to the skin from the blood stream, where it is of course reached from standard digestive processes. Thus, skin damage that depletes natural vitamin C stores in the skin requires replacement through supplements or natural sources like lemon water.
Healthy Weight Loss with Vitamin C
Keeping nagging weight off can be a source of stress and worry. To add insult to injury, long term excess weight can lead to more serious health problems like insulin resistance or heart disease.
Based on a study performed in 2005, adequate vitamin C lead to 30% better oxidation of fat during moderate exercise. What does that translate to? Being depleted of vitamin C can cause resistance to fat mass loss.
A couple of glasses of lemon water per day can regularly contribute to better fat loss from regular exercise (and less new retention as a result). It isn’t some miracle cure by itself, but the data doesn’t lie that a healthy quantity of vitamin C is a significant metabolic advantage.
Debunking Some Myths About Lemon Water
All of the benefits above are enough to keep me drinking a glass or two to start my day. But there is still a pretty active rumor mill surrounding other advantages that I didn’t find any substance to with a little research.
pH Balance with Vitamin C
A commonly floated ailment of the body is some persistent acid or alkaline substrate in our systems. While this “ash” is possible in urine, there is no low level ailment based on generic “toxins” affecting system pH. Factually, our blood pH is very tightly regulated to around 7.4. If for some reason your body is having difficulty maintaining homeostasis, it is due to a medical problem beyond the reach of a simple lemon water to alleviate.
In this 1935 study, it was shown that there was no increase in urinary pH in 24 hours of urine collection after oral administration of citric acid. Food we intake does not directly affect the composition of our blood pH.
There is an overwhelming (and I do not use that word lightly) profusion of the word “toxins” in health blogs throughout the great wastes of the Internet. It is typically employed as a “hand wavey” title for Bad Things™ lingering in our systems which must be “detoxed”. However, if pressed to give you any deeper meaning or even specific “toxins”, the source of the information is likely to change the goal posts or the entire subject on you.
Gregory Rauch, MD, of Rush University Medical Center puts it more succinctly: “The problem is that the people marketing these products never mention what the toxins actually are.” Our bodies already naturally eliminate toxic substances all on their own. Our lungs, liver, kidneys, and colon all regularly play crucial roles in the elimination of waste and foreign contaminants.
As a preface to this section, I’d like to note that in my eyes personally it is extremely irresponsible to promote any untested homeopathy as a potential cure for such a serious condition. It is all fine and well to pursue natural remedies in the course of a relatively healthy life, but we have an entire medical field based on solid reasoning and practiced science. Leaving something potentially life-threatening to any uncertified opinion is not a good idea.
With that said, there are some very emphatic believers out there in the restorative properties of lemon juice for cancer sufferers. I personally was not able to isolate any reliable sources for such beliefs. This article on Snopes only goes so far as conceding at the end that citrus fruits “may potentially harbor anti-cancer properties that could help ward off cancer.”
So there you have it–take it with a drop of lemon water. And please consult your physician if you are truly concerned about cancer!
Tallying It All Up
Getting properly hydrated in the morning seems clearly advantageous for a healthy lifestyle. And getting the lion’s share of your vitamin C daily recommended volume right then and there seems like a no-brainer to me.
Don’t regard it as some miracle cure-all sold off the back of a traveling magician’s cart–look at it as one of the many steps that comprise your healthy lifestyle.
Do you suffer from common seasonal allergies? Check out our home remedies for them (including lemon juice!) now.