Although I started drinking water almost exclusively several years ago, I’ve avoided lemon water for most of that time. I just never understood the appeal, and I would even ask waiters to “hold the lemon” when ordering water at restaurants (unless my girls were with me, in which case I would ask for extra lemon because they like to suck on them!). Water with the tiniest hint of lemon just didn’t appeal to me.
But over the past few months, I’ve discovered that lemon water is actually extremely good for you and a couple of weeks ago I decided to give it another shot.
The first day, I took a quarter lemon and squeezed it into my glass of water. Surprisingly, I kind of liked it, and I continued to do that a couple of times a day.
Then, I went in search of some data about the actual benefits of lemon water, and I was surprised to read — again and again and again — that the real benefit comes from using half a lemon twice a day for someone my size. The recommendation for people over 150 pounds a day is a whole lemon twice a day.
I think my mouth puckered just reading that, but I decided to give it a try…and I actually liked it. Although admittedly tart, this “unsweetened lemonade” has become my favorite drink.
These days I squeeze as much of the juice out of my lemon half as I can, use a knife to scoop the pulp into the cup and then drop the lemon half in as well, for extra flavor even through several refills. (Be sure to wash the lemon really well before cutting it if you plan to drop it into your water!)
Benefits of Lemon Water
Before I get ahead of myself, though, let’s talk about the health benefits. Lemon water is not only refreshing, but it also:
- Improves heartburn, bloating and other digestion problems, including constipation and diarrhea.
- Cleanses and stimulates the liver and kidneys.
- Provides calcium, magnesium and potassium for your body, as well as vitamin C.
- Has reportedly been used to relieve asthma.
- Offers relief from cold and flu symptoms.
- Prevents the build up of bacteria in the body.
- Alkalizes your blood which can prevent wrinkles, illness and fatique.
- Detoxify your body.
Tips & Tricks
Lemon + water seems like a pretty simple equation, and it is, but there are a few things to keep in mind to maximize the health benefits from this drink:
- Buy small, heavy fruit.
- Keep lemons at room temperature.
- Before cutting, roll them on the counter with the palm of your hand.
- Add to room temperature water rather than very cold water, which can “shock” your stomach when you drink it. This works out great for me since I prefer room temperature water, but if you only like it cold, I’d say cold lemon water is better than no lemon water.
- Drink first thing in the morning and at least 30 minutes before a meal.
- Keep your lemon in your cup and add more water throughout the day. It’s not as strong, but it still has a great flavor.
One thing I can’t find anywhere is how long lemon water keeps. I usually switch out my lemon first thing in the morning and mid-afternoon, since I keep my water out on the counter, but I don’t know if it can be kept for longer. What do you think?
How do you like your water? Do you drink lemon water?