It'll help boost your immune system.

Lemon has long been a popular addition to both cold and hot drinks alike. Slices of the yellow citrus are used for everything from garnishing a cocktail to adding a bit of bright flavor to hot tea, but did you know there may actually be health benefits to adding lemon to your water? Medical professionals explain what those benefits are, and why you may want to work a daily dash of lemon into your routine.

ice water with lemon
Credit: Getty / bhofack2

A Great Way to Start Your Day

According to holistic nutritionist Julie Hefner, starting your day with lemon water can have restorative benefits. "Drinking water, especially if it's warm water first thing in the morning, can help flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body," she says. And those positive effects are only increased by adding a slice of the vitamin C-enriched fruit. "Lemons can keep you full and are great for your skin," she says. "I like to zest the rind of the lemon and add it to salads, vegetables, chicken, and fish dishes because of the beneficial nutrients and intense aromatic flavor."

Immune Booster

Adding a bit of lemon to your water can keep you healthier and shorten the length of your cold, says Dr. Ryan M. Greene, medical director and managing partner of the Monarch Athletic Club; the fruit's fiber, called pectin, is what gives them their immune-boosting properties. "This type of fiber will help feed beneficial microbiome bacteria strengthening immune system function as the majority of your immune system originates in the gut, increase digestive enzyme production and also promote regular bowel function, assisting in the elimination of toxins we are exposed to and consume." Additionally, the vitamin C found in lemon juice has been known to reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory infections.

Make Sure It's Fresh

If you find yourself short on time it may be tempting to use a dash of concentrate, but Greene says fresh is best. To get the most benefits from your lemon, he suggests washing and removing the rinds before letting them soak in your water for 20-30 minutes. This will allow the very best of the vitamins, minerals and fibrous components found in the citrus to transfer to your drink.

Stay Hydrated

No matter how you drink it—warm, cold, with fresh-squeezed or from-the-bottle-lemon-concentrate—hitting your daily water intake goal is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and optimal digestion. "Overall, for most individuals, aiming to achieve approximately three liters of water consumption daily is a great starting goal to ensure as adequate hydration as possible," Greene says.


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