The Impressive Benefits of Lemon Water
As runners, we already know how important it is to drink enough water. Not only do we need drink water to be sufficiently hydrated — just like the rest of the (non-running) population — when it comes to running, our performance can seriously suffer if we become dehydrated or worse yet, begin a workout in an already dehydrated state.
That said, the simple fact of the matter is that drinking water all day, every day, can get pretty boring. Certainly, we can consume water through other means — such as eating water-rich foods, like certain fruits and smoothies — but most of us would probably prefer to “save the calories” from our beverages and keep them confined to the food we eat.
The pee color test — simply checking out the color of your urine to determine your level of hydration, with dark yellow indicating dehydration and clear indicating over-hydration — will provide feedback as to where you stand at any given point during the day. For the most part, runners should aim for “light lemonade-colored” urine, though some medicines and foods may affect the urine’s shade.
Lemon water – good for taste variety and so easy that kids can do it
Many runners find that mixing-up their water intake can be the difference between not drinking enough and drinking as much as they should. In particular, a lot of runners often enjoy mixing citrus fruit into their water, such as lemons, to get a little flavor variety without a huge caloric cost.
One nice thing about lemon water is that it’s super easy to do — all it takes is cutting up a lemon and throwing the pieces into your water — that even children can do it (with supervision). Parents may find that if children get to “dress up” their water, they, too, may be more inclined to reach for a glass of water than they are to reach for something less nutritious, such as soda or sugary juice boxes.
Lemon water’s benefits, beyond taste and ease: vitamin C and potassium
In addition, lemon water is purported to carry with it several other benefits. As a fruit, lemons carry with them a pretty impressive nutritional profile, serving as an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium, among others.
It has been noted that lemon juice can be deleterious to teeth enamel, so it’s always a good idea to dilute the juice with water when drinking it. (Plus, it’s super sour! Ask a child to taste a lemon for the first time, and prepare to die of laughter). If you choose to drink lemon water — whether it’s hot or cold — consider drinking it through a straw to obviate its enamel-destroying capabilities.
We all think of vitamin C when it comes to our immune system and preventing us from getting sick. Lemons are an excellent avenue through which you can consume vitamin C.
In addition, potassium plays an important role in our heart health and digestive health, and lemons have an impressive amount of potassium in them, second only to vitamin C.
The biggest lemon water benefit: it can help you drink water!
Perhaps the greatest claim to fame about lemon water is simply that it can help people drink more water than they otherwise would. That, in and of itself, is really, really important.
While this statement isn’t a headline-grabbing, clickbait type of claim that asserts that LEMON WATER WILL CURE CANCER or that LEMON WATER WILL HELP YOU DROP 10 POUNDS BY TUESDAY, the fact of the matter is that water is really good for us. Period. We need to consume enough water each day so our bodies can function productively and well.
When people drink more water than they have before, they may very well find that they no longer suffer from issues like constipation and gas, facial acne, or fatigue. Basically, when people begin drinking water more regularly than they have before, they often report feeling better.
Drinking a sufficient amount of water — based on the aforedescribed urine color test — has been linked to all those findings, ranging from better bowel regularity, clearer skin, and more energy, among others. If throwing a few lemons in your water will be the difference between you drinking water in the first place, and not drinking it at all, then, by all means, throw some lemons in your water.
Is lemon water for me?
By now, it’s (hopefully) clear that lemon water isn’t inherently impressive or life-altering in and of itself. The lemons aren’t magical “superfoods” by themselves; however, if they help get you to drink more water than you have before, then that, itself, is notable.
A cursory Google search about the impressive benefits of lemon water will result in all types of wild claims, with promises that range from curing cancer, detoxifying your body, and more. Do a little deeper searching — and verify your sources — and you’ll find that most registered dietitians refute a lot, if not all, of the claims about lemon water’s magic. What most magical, the RDs explain, is that lemon water can be what helps people drink more water than they were before. Drinking more water is what’s “magical,” not the actual lemons, themselves.
Anytime we read about celebrities or “nutritional gurus” espousing that one food or drink is the latest and greatest, and that promise to solve all our nutritional and bodily maladies, it’s important to view the claims critically and thoughtfully. Eating tons of lemons probably won’t do much damage to your health, although your teeth enamel may certainly suffer. You can always consume vitamin C and potassium from other fruit and vegetable sources, too; lemons, by themselves, aren’t a panacea for every health ailment out there.
So: is lemon water for me? Sure. Do you want a little more variety in your daily beverage choice? If so, then by all means, buy some lemons (fortunately, they’re typically inexpensive), and throw some in your next hot or cold drink. Appreciate the taste variety, but don’t expect it to solve your health problems.