When Life Gives You Lemons … Drink Water

Two glasses of water with lemon slices in themWater and lemons. Health enthusiasts and celebrities have proclaimed the health benefits of this simple combination. But how healthy is lemon water for you?

Its proponents say drinking a glass of lemon water in the morning is beneficial in a variety of ways, such as helping with digestion, detoxifying your body, boosting your immune system, balancing your pH levels, prompting weight loss and tightening your skin, according to Women’s Health.

The magazine, which noted a lack of research studies to back any of these claims, interviewed some registered dietitians for their take on this popular beverage. One dietitian emphasized that the key part of lemon water is the water, which can help you lose weight, lessen constipation and tighten your skin if you drink more of it. You’re also likely to lose a few pounds if you trade a higher-calorie drink like fruit juice or soda for lemon water, according to Health magazine.

As far as the beverage’s effect on pH, another dietitian noted that lemon water – and any food – will not alter your body’s pH. A lemon, like other citrus fruits, is a source of vitamin C. Yet it doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value, and the acid in lemons can harm your tooth enamel over time. The lemon juice in one slice has about 1 milligram (mg) of vitamin C (or up to 4mg with the pulp), but the National Institutes of Health says women require about 75mg each day. In addition, some stomachs might object if they’re regularly filled with lots of lemon water because of the acidic lemon juice, and it could aggravate heartburn or acid reflux.

Health magazine cautions that lemon water is not a cure-all and advises people to enjoy the beverage in moderation. Talk with your health care provider about any changes to your diet.