For starters, 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

Lemon Water Benefits

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."

A Boost for Your Immune System

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 the beneficial microbiome bacteria that strengthens immune system function. The majority of your immune system originates in the gut," says Dr. Greene, noting that pectin can also increase digestive enzyme production and promote regular bowel function, assisting in the elimination of toxins we are regularly 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.

How to Make Fresh Lemon Water

If you find yourself short on time, it may be tempting to use a dash of lemon concentrate, but Dr. 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.

Hydration Matters Most

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 consume approximately 3 liters of water daily is a great starting goal to ensure adequate hydration," Dr. Greene says.


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