Some evidence has linked vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) and flavonoids to improvements in skin. Vitamin C is known to help the body produce collagen, which contributes to the integrity of skin.
Lemon water has been linked to many benefits, including improved skin and digestion. But does the science stack up? Nutritionist Jo Lewin explains.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that lemon water has an alkalising or detoxing effect on the body. The liver is responsible for eliminating toxins from everything we eat, drink and are exposed to in our environment, so no amount of lemon water is going to ‘detox’ our bodies. There is also no truth to the claims that lemon water balances pH levels.
If you are someone who finds it difficult to drink water, or doesn’t really like the taste, then adding lemon to hot or cold water can make it more palatable. Drinking adequate water will benefit your health. It’s possible to mistake thirst for hunger, so if you have been advised to lose weight, try having a glass of lemon water first when you feel hungry to see if you’re really just thirsty. If you usually opt for fizzy or sugary drinks, lemon water would be a lower-calorie and lower-sugar alternative.
Lemons have been used for centuries and have been highly regarded in the past for treating scurvy, a now rare condition that can develop through lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Vitamin C is often claimed to support the immune system, however, studies have been inconclusive. One study found that although vitamin C did not prevent otherwise healthy people from catching the common cold, it may shorten the duration of symptoms, and halved the common cold risk in people exposed to short periods of extreme physical stress (e.g. marathon runners). Lemons also contain protective antioxidants called flavanoids. They are low in calories but high in flavour.
The effects of lemon water will not change regardless of whether you drink it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. If you like the taste of lemon water, it could be a good choice for first thing in the morning as we often wake up a little dehydrated – especially if you’ve had alcohol or salty food the night before.
Lemon water is simply that; the juice and/or slices of lemon including the peel in water. Warm or cold water is up to you. You can add other ingredients and flavours such as orange or mint if desired. The lemons can be juiced (in advance if convienient) and even stored in ice cube trays for freezing. Rolling a lemon between your hands or on a work surface before juicing is said to yield more juice. Unwaxed lemons make the ideal choice if you want to use the lemon zest or add lemon slices to water. If only waxed lemons are available, gently scrub the peel before use.