Grape, strawberry kiwi, cherry pomegranate, pineapple coconut and mixed berry. What do all these flavors have in common? They are just a few of the many flavor enhancers that can be added to water.
Based on the sheer number of flavored waters for sale, plain water is no longer good enough for some people. When it comes to health, the trend is to find water alternatives that appear to come with various miracle benefits.
Lemon water is one of the trends that has gained popularity over the years. Different from most artificial flavor enhancers, lemon water is simply a lemon squeezed into water.
Bloggers rave about it and health sites list the benefits of drinking it. Many stories on lemon water claim it aids in digestion, helps you loose weight, gives you an energy boost and so on.
Yet the evidence to support all the benefits of drinking lemon water is mostly absent. Does drinking lemon water actually do all of those things? Which is better, lemon water or regular water?
Luckily, Abrazo Health’s Maryvale Hospital dietician Cara Osgood answers some of the big questions about lemon water and it’s supposed benefits in an email interview.
“First, let’s be clear, changing from fresh water to lemon water is not the same as changing to lemonade or a lemon / sugar-sweetened beverage. Lemon water is water that lemon has been steeped in, rind and all,” Osgood said.
“There are dozens of claims regarding lemon water and its purported benefits to one’s health. Unfortunately, there is insufficient evidence to support any of these claims in current medical literature,” Osgood said.
According to Osgood, here are the real truths of what lemon water does for your health:
CLAIM: Lemon water aids in digestion.
Lemon juice is an acid. While acid aids in food break down, too much acid can be harmful to those of us with heartburn or gastric ulcer, worsening our gastrointestinal symptoms.
CLAIM: Lemon water acts as a natural detoxifier.
True, sort of. Lemons and other citrus peels contain enzymes that aids in ridding the body of toxins, but the amount needed would likely require a supplement, since too much lemon water would need to be consumed to get enough of the enzyme, called D-limonene, into the body.
CLAIM: Lemon aids in mineral absorption.
True. Lemon, along with other citrus fruits and fruits and vegetable high in Vitamin C (think spinach, kale, peppers, strawberries), aids in the absorption of iron from foods, as well as other minerals.
If you find yourself wanting to test lemon water out, generally it’s recommended that if you’re under 150 pounds to squeeze half a lemon in filtered water. If you weigh more than 150 pounds, squeeze a full lemon in filtered water.
“Why drink lemon water? If you don’t drink water now because of the taste, but you’ll drink it with lemon in it, I support it 100 percent. But, if you have existing medical conditions, check first with your doctor. Don’t dump sugar in your lemon water, and be sure to add the sliced lemon to the water while it is lukewarm, keeping the skin on!” Osgood said.
In the end, just know that what you read on the Internet or hear from a friend about lemon water isn’t always the full truth. The best source is always you physician.