Lemon water is all over social media, but are its benefits really backed by science?

·3-min read
Is lemon water good for you? Here's what experts say. (Photo: Getty Creative)
Is lemon water good for you? Here's what experts say. (Photo: Getty Creative)

Watch any TikTok influencer's "What I Eat In a Day" video and, more likely than not, they'll profess to start the day off with lemon water. There are plenty of claims about the beverage, from its allegedly "detoxifying" properties to ability to hydrate you more thoroughly than regular H2O — but are they legit?

According to dietitian Alissa Rumsey, author of Unapologetic Eating, "there's no evidence to show that water with lemon is more hydrating than plain water." One reason why people may find that they're better hydrated when they switch to lemon water, she says, is because "sometimes people find it easier to drink a flavored water than plain water — so if it helps you drink more water overall, that's great."

One thing that lemon water does have is a little bit of vitamin C, as lemon is a citrus fruit. However, the vitamin isn't enough to support claims that lemon water is particularly superior over plain water. Brenna O'Malley, a non-diet dietitian and owner of The Wellful, a non-diet community and virtual private practice based in San Francisco, points out that while our bodies do engage in detoxification, that's a natural process through the kidneys. We do need to stay hydrated for our kidneys to function optimally, she says, "but lemon in water specifically, is not needed to aid in this process."

"By staying hydrated, we facilitate our kidneys working to flush toxins from our bodies as part of their natural processes," O'Malley explains. "There isn't evidence to support that vitamin C or lemon juice supports this process."

When it comes to lemons in general, there are certain potential benefits to incorporating the fruit in one's diet — which, yes, can include a squeeze in your morning glass of water. Integrative physician Dr. Taz Bhatia, who hosts the Super Woman Wellness podcast, says that lemons contain pectin, a soluble fiber that can aid in digestion.

Lemon water may not be the miracle cure for all ailments, but it can have a place in one's diet. If the taste of plain water gives you the ick, a squeeze of lemon may have you reaching for water over, say, another can of Diet Coke. While lemon water isn't especially beneficial, the experts Yahoo Life spoke with said that staying hydrated is of prime importance.

"Finding ways you enjoy to staying hydrated, whether that's with plain water, lemon water or rotating flavors can be a great way to add variety and enjoy your drink a bit more," O'Malley says.

For people who don't like plain water, she suggests using tea bags, cucumber, fruits or seltzer waters, which "can all add some flavor."

"Things other than water also count towards your hydration, like teas, juices, smoothies," O'Malley adds. "Some people really like the water bottles that have fun sayings on them to remind you to drink throughout the day, or adding in some physical reminders to fill up — like when you get up from your desk to bring your bottle to fill up, or having a goal to fill up your glass before and after lunch."

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