A slice of lemon in a cool glass of water––the supposed best way to begin the day and kick-start your digestive system. But what about a winter warmer? Can boiling lemons have the same effect on your health? Let’s find out.
Fact or fiction – what are lemons good for?
Lemons, and lemon water by association, have a lot of so-called benefits, but do they really add up? This is where we take apart the top three lemon water myths and replace them with hard facts.
1. Lemons contain vitamin C and boost your immune system
Lemons pack 31mg of vitamin C, which around 51% of your daily amount. But, to get the full benefits of this zesty fruit you need to be eating a lemon a day, and that sounds a little bitter.
That said, adding lemon to your water does contribute to your daily intake, and can help to keep you healthy. So, we’ll chalk this one up as a fact.
2. Lemons aid weight loss
You’ve heard the rumors––drinking lemon in the morning will help you lose weight. But is it really true?
Lemons contain pectin which can make you fuller for longer, but for this to work you’d need to actually eat the lemon whole. Other ideas suggest that it’s the hot water that fills your stomach making you feel like you’ve been eating.
However, the most promising research is a study done using polyphenols extracted from lemon peel. This chemical compound was administered to mice, who seemed to gain less weight and body fat than other mice. Sadly, the jury is still out on whether human’s consuming lemon peel can experience the same benefits.
3. Lemons improve digestion
Filled with a total of 10% carbohydrates, lemons are composed of fibres and simple sugars. One of these fibres is pectin which can help maintain a healthy gut and decrease the speed of sugar digestion. This aids in the prevention of such problems as diabetes.
Unfortunately, this is another story of you need to consume the actual lemon to feel the full benefits.
What to take away?
Lemons might not live up to all the claims––what fruit ever does? ––but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a healthy way to start your day; they do contain lots of essential vitamins, critic acids, and other properties that can improve your health.
One factor we haven't yet mentioned is lemon’s flavonoids. These are potent antioxidants that aid in the body’s processes. Recent lemon flavonoid research suggests that these could be beneficial in slowing the onset of diabetes and other illness. However, at the moment, the results remain inconclusive but promising.
Hot or cold––what’s the difference?
Now that we know the zesty facts, let’s move on and discover the truth behind the hot and cold argument.
It’s tough enough to wake up on a winter’s morning without adding ice-cold water to the mix, so, does boiled lemon water have the same effect?
The truth is, this one is mostly a matter of preference. The key to getting the most of out of your lemon is to let it soak, so the water can absorb its properties.
That said there are some benefits to boiling your lemons, such as speeding up the process of releasing all those bright, zesty nutrients.
So, whether you’re boiling your lemons to reduce fatigue, or letting them cool overnight, in the morning you’ll still be met with a tasty drink that is good for you.
Too zesty? What else to add?
If you’re finding your boiled lemon water a little too boring, why not get a little creative? These are our favorite healthy add-ins:
- Honey – the classic. We’ve all heard of the benefits of honey and lemon for a cold; the honey soothes the throat, while the lemon acts as a wonderful antiseptic. But, you don’t need to reserve this just for when you’re sick, it can make a tasty drink any day.
- Ginger – a digestive aid that has been used for centuries, adding ginger to your lemon drink can give a spicy boost, that helps soothe your stomach.
- Green tea – the perfect accompaniment for a slice (or two) of lemon. Lemon aids the body in absorbing the antioxidants in green tea and combines to make a pleasing drink, which is good for you.