It’s a drink that celebrities love talking about, praising its youth preservation properties and insisting it’s the key to looking good and feeling fabulous, but the health benefits of drinking lemon water has been known as far back as ancient Rome.
Lemon water can be consumed warm or cold and some people prefer to add additional ingredients, such as mint leaf or lemon rind. The amount of lemon you put into your drink can depend on personal preference, but obviously, if you start pouring in spoonfuls of sugar to counteract the tart taste, you are also neutralizing any potential health benefits.
The Power of Vitamin C
Before we examine the anti-aging benefits of drinking lemon water and what it means for keeping our skin and bodies youthful, here’s a quick rundown on one of the key youth preservation ingredients, vitamin C.
- Also known as L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in some foods, including oranges, lemons, kiwifruit, bell peppers, oysters, liver and cabbage.
- Apart from occurring naturally, vitamin C is sometimes intentionally added to foods and is also available as a dietary supplement.
- Vitamin C is involved in many body functions and is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues.
- Unlike other mammals, humans can’t manufacture vitamin C. It is a vital component to our diet, and we need to obtain it from external sources.
“The more we study vitamin C, the better our understanding of how diverse it is in protecting our health, from cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, eye health [and] immunity to living longer,” says study researcher Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan.
Vitamin C Deficiency
An acute lack of vitamin C leads to a disease called scurvy. Patients suffer from a range of symptoms, including exhaustion, anemia, debility, swelling in some parts of the body and severe joint pain. In the modern, western world, scurvy is a relatively rare condition. Historically, it was a common affliction affecting sailors on long voyages, due to a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables on board.
Drinking Lemon Water – Youth Benefits for Your Skin:
Now we know more about vitamin C, and what happens when we don’t get enough, I want to focus on the benefits of drinking lemon water to better understand how it helps keep skin looking good.
- Collagen is a protein found in our muscles, skin, bones, digestive system and blood vessels. It works with keratin to provide the skin with strength, elasticity and smoothness. As we age, our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down. This is the degenerative process that leads to signs of aging such as skin wrinkles, necks becoming saggy and lines forming around the eyes and mouth. A diet high in sugar, high amounts of exposure to the sun and other lifestyle factors can also contribute to a reduced level of collagen.
As a fruit high in vitamin C, lemons are a natural aid for the formation of collagen. Regularly drinking lemon water will increase your vitamin C levels, and help to fight the signs of aging. Also, an increase of vitamin C has been shown to stabilize collagen mRNA and have beneficial effects in combating photo damage, another factor in skin looking old and tired.
- The antioxidant effects of vitamin C have been demonstrated in many experiments. Drinking lemon water can allow these antioxidants to fight damage caused by free radicals, reducing the breakdown of various tissues in the body, namely skin. Vitamin C can also help combat toxic chemicals and pollutants like cigarette smoke.
- The vitamin C found in lemon water may help reduce skin wrinkling. A study published in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition evaluated the associations between nutrients and skin-aging appearance. They concluded that people with a higher consumption of vitamin C had younger looking skin and fewer wrinkles.
- Apart from vitamin C, the other ingredient in lemon water is one of the most important substances to help your skin stay young and healthy; water hydrates your cells, keeps your complexion clear and can firm-up your skin. “I’ve found that water makes a big difference in skin health,” says Rachel Nazarian, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. “Without adequate water intake, skin appears duller, and wrinkles and pores more prominent.”
Drinking Lemon Water – Youth Benefits for Your Body:
Skin isn’t the only organ that can benefit from drinking lemon water. The helpful effects are felt by a range of processes in the body, including several which are important to the goal of youth preservation.
- Drinking lemon water gives your body more time to process the beneficial nutrients in food. This longer absorption period means insulin levels remain steady, which is important for regulating the amount of glucose in the blood. Research has also shown the citrus flavonoids in lemon water act as a digestive tonic, with appetite suppressing abilities.
- If you want an easy and efficient method to help flush away toxins in your body, drinking lemon water will cleanse the bowels and digestive tracts, as well as boosting the liver. By providing energy to liver enzymes when they are too diluted, you’re helping to filter toxins out of the blood.
- In a previous post, I talked about the dangers of stress in regards to premature aging. It has been noted that people who have high levels of vitamin C do not show the expected signs of stress when put through acute psychological challenges. Further studies also indicate a high vitamin C intake may help reduce the effects of chronic stress by inhibiting stress hormones.
- A note on lemon water and pH. I used to think that drinking lemon water will create a healthy alkaline environment in my blood and body. Unfortunately, there is no research yet supporting this theory. “Under no circumstances can an acidic food alkalize your blood, said Kat Day, a chemist and science blogger in Oxfordshire, England.” That being said, drinking lemon water will increase the acidity of your urine, which is your kidneys job of getting rid of excess acid.
Unless you’re already drinking approximately two liters of water a day, you could probably do with some more. It is such an important factor in keeping our bodies hydrated and healthy. Lemon water is an easy way to make the prospect of H2O a little more exciting, and if you drink it warm in the morning, it can make a refreshing alternative to caffeinated beverages. The antioxidant and nutrient benefits from the vitamin C in lemon water is the double-whammy that helps us feel good, reduces stress and keeps skin looking young and healthy.