If you’re one of the many people (like myself) searching for immune system boosters during the pandemic, I’m sure you have come across a variety of “health hacks” that sound too good to be true. Lemon water falls squarely into this category.
Long promoted as a detoxifier and fat burner, lemon water is a popular item at many health food restaurants, touted by celebrities, personal trainers, and Instagram influencers.
It’s all the rage these days.
Throw in a pinch of black salt, renowned as an effective home remedy for various ailments, and you may have the perfect morning drink.
But does the nutritional value of lemon water match the hype? And what do the experts say?
First, let’s dispel a few myths.
Drinking lemon water doesn’t directly promote weight loss. However, it can indirectly promote weight loss if you use it to replace juice, coffee with sugar and cream, and energy drinks. Plus, staying hydrated is an incredible way to decrease your caloric intake.
As Anna Z. Feldman, M.D., an endocrinologist at Joslin Diabetes Center said to SELF, “Drinking plenty of water during the day, and even a glass before you start eating, can help you feel fuller faster.”
Lemon water doesn’t “detoxify” your body. People love to toss buzzwords around like detox, without understanding what they mean.
Your body is well-equipped to eliminate toxins on its own–human beings have been doing it for thousands of years. Organs like your liver, kidneys, and small intestines can handle the task without supplemental help. Adding lemon and black salt to your water may aid in digestion, but it is not a detox.
Finally, the actual research backing lemon water is mostly anecdotal. What we need to focus on is the ample amount of research supporting water, lemon, and black salt as separate ingredients. Combining the three will obviously bring you their singular benefits.
I’ll admit, I have always been somewhat skeptical about lemon water and black salt. After drinking it every morning for a week straight, I did notice some surprising benefits linked to the increase in hydration, acidity from the lemons, and digestive relief with the black salt.
Of course, a much longer trial period is needed to conclude any long-term effectiveness and in addition to eliminating the possibility of a placebo. But the short-term effectiveness was encouraging.
With that said, here are a few science-backed health benefits of drinking lemon water with black salt.
1. Superior Hydration and Vitamin C
Water is the best possible thing you can drink for hydration. If lemon water can work any sort of miracle, it is the ability to keep you hydrated. Some people fail to drink enough water because they don’t like the taste on its own, or prefer sweeter beverages.
Adding a squeeze of lemon with a sprinkle of black salt can certainly enhance the flavor. You will also get the added benefits of lemons nutritional profile.
Citrus fruits like lemons contain vitamin C, an antioxidant known to protect cells from damaging free radicals. Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble nutrient found in some foods that also assists the body in creating collagen and improves our body’s absorption of iron from plant-based foods.
According to the United States Department of AgricultureTrusted Source, the juice of one lemon provides about 18.6 milligrams of vitamin C. The recommended daily amount for adults is 65 to 90 milligrams. So, a few cups of lemon water can help you achieve the recommended daily average while keeping your system hydrated.
Salt is simply a naturally occurring compound that we often use to increase flavor in food. Our bodies can’t function without some sodium (salt is a combination of sodium and chloride).
It’s needed to transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscle fibers, maintain a proper fluid balance, and the essential minerals in salt act as important electrolytes in the body.
2. Aids digestion and reduces muscle cramping
Water helps break down food so that your body can absorb nutrients. Adding lemon and black salt only amplifies this process.
The acidity in lemons breaks down food in the same way as stomach acid. Black salt is also an antioxidant-rich compound, helping your body regulate high blood pressure and cholesterol levels while preventing the likelihood of blood clotting within vessels.
Again, water is the key driver in reducing muscle cramps. Adding salt brings electrolytes which are proven to reverse the effect.
3. Good source of potassium
Lemons are an amazing source of this vital macromineral with 138 mg of potassium per 100 grams of lemon. Your body needs about 3,500 mg of potassium per day, making lemon water a fantastic option to reach your recommended daily intake.
Black salt contains a sufficient amount of potassium that is crucial in regulating muscle functioning and absorbing other minerals well. It may effectively reduce muscle cramps and spasms by relaxing them enough.
With sodium, potassium helps your body retain enough water to function properly while balancing out electrolcyte levels. Potassium helps your brain get enough oxygen, stimulating cognitive function and increased neural activity.
How to make lemon water
When making lemon water, I recommend using fresh lemons over artificial lemon juice from a bottle. I like to slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a cup of hot tea or a glass of cold water.
To make the drink as healthy as possible, consider adding black salt and/or one of the following ingredients:
- Raw Honey
- Cucumber Slices
- Other Citrus Fruits
Starting the day with lemon water and black salt is a great way to wake up refreshed, hydrated, and energized with some vitamin c. Just remember that lemon water is not a magical elixir.
If you really want to kick the day off right, follow a cup of lemon water with a protein-rich breakfast and some exercise.