If you’re into health and wellness and on Instagram, you’ll have seen lemon water. You may have even tried it but…what does it actually do for you? Let’s find out.
If the Queen of Health and Wellness (aka Gwyneth Paltrow) says something is good for you, I tend to stop for a second and ask “is it really?”. After all, this is a woman who sells jade eggs that you put up your vagina. But aside from saying a crystal can harness mystical sexual energy, Gwynnie is also an advocate for the simple and wholesome ritual of drinking lemon water in the morning.
This is something I am willing to try, unlike the aforementioned egg. I’ve been curious about lemon water, and I’ve halfheartedly tried it before (usually only once before forgetting and wasting most of a good lemon). Now, with this blog, I’m going to channel my inner wellness guru, and give lemon water a proper, earnest try.
Before I pop the kettle on though, let’s see what people are saying about this wonder concoction.
I would say that these claims are subjective, at best. As is the case with a lot of popular health and wellness claims, they haven’t been rigorously tested.
I can’t really see how a slice of lemon in hot water will aid digestion, but then again, water is an essential part of the digestive process. The jury is still out over what role the lemon plays.
Balances your pH
No. It doesn’t. I’ve written about the great pH myth before and there is no evidence that drinking hot water with a slice of lemon will change and ‘correct’ your body’s pH.
Obviously our metabolism is reduced as we rest, and people do a variety of things to ‘wake it up’. This includes a morning run, a cold shower or a healthy breakfast.
There’s an interesting German study from 2003, where after drinking 17 ounces of water, men and women had a 30% increase in their metabolism. The researchers then openly say that this spike “cannot be attributed to the heating of the ingested water”.
And, most importantly, no lemons were involved in this study. 2003 was a simpler time.
Cleanses the body
The Hemsleys are also fans of lemon water, stating:
“After a night’s sleep your body is dehydrated and ready to flush out toxins.”
They’re right about the dehydration, so it is good to start the day with some water. But our liver and kidneys do the flushing out for us, even as we sleep. One cup of lemon water will not replace entire organ systems.
Aids weight loss
I’m automatically skeptical of anything that claims to be a weight loss miracle. Once again, there’s no hard evidence that lemon water will do anything to magically make the fat disappear.
It’s good to drink water with a meal, as it prevents us from overeating, aids digestion and prevents constipation.
Citrus fruits are packed full of vitamin C. It’s an essential vitamin and fends off pesky conditions like scurvy. Vitamin C has also become very popular in the beauty world due to it being linked to collagen production and even UV protection.
If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of vitamin C, here’s a good article from Oregon State University. It explains things quite nicely.
So, vitamin C does play a role in maintaining healthy skin. We also know that staying hydrated is essential too. So what will a daily cup of hot water and a slice of lemon do for your complexion? I’m not sure.
The amount of vitamin C that you’ll get from a single slice will be quite small, but, I guess, every little helps.
Did lemon water change my life?
Well, I can safely say that after a month of drinking lemon water every morning (or the occasional evening when I forgot to actually drink it)…not really.
- I didn’t notice a change in bloating (which varies throughout the month anyway…thanks hormones)
- My digestion seemed unchanged but then again, I have IBS so this too is very variable.
- I don’t think I lost or gained any weight
- The various pH levels of my body stayed the same thanks to simple homeostasis (surprise, surprise!)
The one and only thing that I can report is that I didn’t get my monthly chin spot. This is part of my regular menstrual cycle and while everything else happened on time (as in, the bloating, slight mood swings and a period), this failed to appear. So maybe, just maybe, the daily lemon water actually worked! The only way I can test this though is to carry on with my experiment, and see if my theory is right or wrong from the appearance of hormonal acne. We shall see.
Was Gwyneth right all along?
I won’t go so far as to endorse everything that GOOP says is good for us. But, I will also say this about lemon water. It’s definitely a healthier alternative to the daily, sugar laden glass of orange juice that I used to enjoy. It’s an easy addition to a morning routine and most importantly, it’s a habit that won’t cause any serious harm, as long as you take care of your teeth (they are still being exposed to an acid after all). So maybe I’ll add this to my list of healthy changes you can easily make.