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Lemon Water: Miracle or Myth?

Lemon Water: Miracle or Myth?

Hello friends of pureBalance and fellow health enthusiasts,

I recently was asked by an attendee of one of my presentations about the benefits of drinking lemon water. There a lot of information on the internet and it’s sometimes difficult to sift through opinions, blogs and articles to just get the facts. Is lemon water really as good as everyone claims it is? The short answer is yes…sometimes, but let me explain. I hope the following points will help you understand some of the benefits associated with regularly drinking fresh lemon juice in water.

Alkalizing our bodies: This point seems counter-intuitive since fresh lemon juice is very sour and acidic however lemons are considered a very alkaline food. Despite the acidity of the juice, once it interacts with water molecules and enters the body it actually forms alkaline molecules that contribute to a healthy and balanced pH level. One of the reasons is that lemon juice contains alkaline minerals such as magnesium and calcium. It is essential to maintain a balanced pH level in our bodies to prevent disease. It is true that our bodies tightly regulate our blood pH. However, our environment and the foods we eat often promote an acid pH outside of the bloodstream and cells. To counteract and prevent this harmful acid build up we need to eat and drink “alkaline forming” foods such as lemon water.

Stimulates the liver and digestion: A diet heavy in fat and animal based foods puts excess stress on liver function and impairs the smooth flow of bile, which is essential for optimal digestion. A glass of lemon water in the morning is a simple way to stimulate the liver and promote bile flow which in turn aids in digestion. The acidic and photochemical properties of lemon “kick start” your digestive organs so they are ready to function well all day. Interestingly enough, lemon water also sometimes helps resolve heartburn symptoms by stimulating healthy stomach function.

Anti-microbial: Lemon juice as has been traditionally used as a home remedy for a sore throat or cold. There is some merit to this use since lemons have anti-microbial properties. A cup of warm water and lemon juice is a cheap and easy way to combat a sore throat.

Despite its many benefits, lemon juice is sometimes touted as stimulating weight loss, building bone and combating heartburn. It can definitely indirectly contribute to general health but it has not been proven to substantially impact weight loss or bone health. It will improve digestion and hydration which can indirectly promote better energy production but it won’t shed the pounds for you. In some cases it can also irritate the stomach lining if a gastric ulcer is present. Additionally, prolonged exposure of lemon juice to dental enamel can promote erosion so it is recommended to rinse out your mouth with plain water after drinking lemon water. Please exercise caution if you experience stomach upset after taking lemon water.

An ideal time to drink lemon juice in a day is the morning. There are a number of benefits to this approach:

  • It stimulates optimal digestion, something you want right at the start of the day.
  • You get the added benefit of water plus lemon juice. Water is its own right should be taken in the morning to also promote digestion, flush out toxins and hydrate our cells.
  • Adding lemon makes the water taste a little better therefore we tend to drink more. Generally, most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day so any little incentive helps.
  • The morning lemon water habit can offset other morning habits such as drinking coffee that don’t have the same health benefits.
  • A good dose is the juice of half a lemon mixed with 500mL of lukewarm water. Drink it on waking, 30 minutes before eating any food. An easy tip is to mix up the glass in the evening before bed so you don’t have to think about it in the morning. Room temperature or lukewarm water is best because even though we are more refreshed by cold water it can hamper blood flow to your stomach and thus impair digestion.

    I hope you learned more about this easy, cheap and effective strategy to further improve your health. Some many common household foods and items can be turned into powerful health tools. Try a big glass of lemon water in the morning for a month and discover for yourself the power of simplicity.

    Dr. Paul Hrkal, ND

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