A lot of health and fitness web sites keep banging on about the health benefits of lemon juice but is there any substance behind this claim?
As an ex firefighter who loves walking I know the importance of keeping the body hydrated. Bottled water has always been my number one hydration method and you can’t beat it…or can you?
After reading what I thought might be a load of baloney I thought I might give it a try…just to see if lemons have some mystic power! Let’s start with the special ingredient…
What are the health benefits of lemons?
The first thing that is amazing about lemons is the amount of goodies that they contain:
Vitamins A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B6, C, Niacin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid (I had never heard of that one either!) B6 and vitamin E.
Plus several minerals including potassium (by the truck load), calcium, iron, phosphorus, Sodium, Manganese, Selenium, and plenty of fibre. A substantial list of ingredients that the body finds very useful indeed!
On the downside you will hardly look like the Cheshire Cat when you bite into a lemon and it will in time take the enamel off your teeth over time if you don’t dilute the citric acid that pure lemon juice contains.
Simple – dilute the lemon juice with water… but at what temperature and what time of the day…does it really matter? Some disciples of the sacred lemon proclaim it should be consumed at room temperature while other lemon gurus claim that the health benefits of hot water and lemon in the morning outweigh any other time of the day or temperature.
I was told on good authority to drink the lemon water as soon as my eyes opened in the morning before anything else had polluted the stomach – to get the full benefit of the lemons special powers.
Before I reveal the urban myth benefits of lemon water and then reveal what I actually found – a quick word. My test included a large glass of hot water and half a lemon – squeezed into the water and the remaining squeezed half submerged in the water to add a bit more lemon infusion. Totally unscientific but I thought I would give you the ‘test’ conditions. It is said that if you are of a ‘larger frame’ then you need the whole lemon.
Lemon juice gives your immune system a boost.
Vitamin C is the best thing since sliced lemons to give your immune system a machine gun against unwanted ailments and germs
Excellent source of potassium for your ticker and brain.
Lemons have very high potassium content which is very good for the brain, central nervous system and maintaining heart health.
Lemon infused water aids digestion.
Lemon water keeps your digestion system in tip top condition by counteracting toxins, relieving heartburn and reduces belching and bloated bowels! The fibre content also helps to keep things moving.
Lemon juice flushes out toxins with its enzyme enhancing qualities and stimulates the liver.
Lemon water keeps your skin blemish-free and radiant.
Lemons contain anti-oxidants that are claimed to reduce blemishes and can be used on scars and age spots to minimize their appearance. This is a pretty big claim which I will comment on in just a minute.
Lemon water helps you lose weight.
Pectin fibre has been proved to reduce hunger pangs and your desire for food. Lemons contain this fibre and keep your hand off the cookie jar.
Lemon water reduces inflammation.
It is claimed that drinking lemon water regularly reduces acidity in the body which can counteract diseases. It also removes uric acid which is one of the main causes of inflammation in the joints (gout).
Lemon water gives you an energy boost.
As the lemon water enters the digestive tract it provides you with an energy boost and helps lower anxiety and depression. A big claim! It is even claim that the scent from a lemon is enough to reduce any anxiety levels.
What is the verdict?
Lemon water was great for the first few days – a welcome change and I was hoping for some drastic improvements in health, vitality and hopefully looks! Well you can count the last one out as it did not give me a ‘glow’ or prevent wrinkles. On vitality I did feel better. It could be the lemons or it could also be the fact that this pleasant infusion had put me off coffee for a few hours reducing my caffeine levels. As far as health went I must admit I did feel much better. I have continued to drink lemon water and am now convinced that there are benefits although not all the benefits claimed. Here are the main benefits that I found:
- I have not had a cold for months
- I feel more awake
- Digestive system has been without a problem for months
- I have not been anxious or depressed (to any degree for months) – not that I was before!
- My hand is never on the cookie jar – I don’t tend to get hunger pangs after lemon water.
- My skin looks no different and I still get the odd blemish
Well there you have it. Some gains and some areas where there was no apparent effect. On balance I would say give lemon water a go as it seems to improve some health factors and it is very refreshing.
On a final note if the thought of buying and cutting and squeezing lemons is not for you lemon barley water health benefits should exist as this cordial contains lemon concentrate – I checked!!!