Toronto Nutritionist: Why nutritionists swoon over lemon water (and you should too!)

People like to say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but I’m here to say that when life gives you lemons, say awesome! Lemons have all sorts of nutritional benefits to them that are great for your health. Let’s explore, yeah?

Lemons were believed to first originate in India, but now span the entire globe and today they are found in everything from cuisine to skin care products – and a lot of things in between.

Lemons are a world-class seasoning, second only to salt and pepper, and you can be sure that that unmistakable tart flavour that just one squeeze offers will make your dish just right.

But enough about flavour. Let’s get to the really juicy information.

The medicinal benefits of lemons are extensive! They aid digestion by stimulating the flow of saliva, which eases the work of the liver. Lemons also act as a diuretic, laxative, and can be an important antiseptic and antimicrobial. They are also vital for treating colds, cases of flu and parasites and lemons are beneficial for bile formation, which also supports liver function. (Go liver go!)

These yellow delights also help improve mineral absorption and cleanse the blood. Sore throats, hiccups, weight loss and alleviating gas (oh yes) are all issues that lemons can help with too!

My favourite way to make lemon water!

Start the day with a glass of lukewarm water and lemon juice to alkalize the body and clean your system. Add raw honey and cayenne to taste (optional) to really jump start your metabolism.

Health Facts About Lemons*

  • Antibacterial properties that fight the Vibrio species of bacteria responsible for cholera
  • Help to remove accumulated toxins by cleaning the liver
  • Boost good digestion
  • Are acidic but are alkalizing in the body
  • Reduce heart disease, kidney stones, and infections
  • Highest rate of Vitamin C among all citrus fruit
  • It’s pectin and limonoid content lower cholesterol
  • Particularly high in Magnesium
  • High in bioflavonoids – which are antioxidants
  • Reduces inflammation

Lemon Water Nutrition Facts*

61 calories
3 grams protein
6 grams sugar
0 grams fat
112 milligrams vitamin C (187 percent DV) – take that oranges!!
303 milligrams potassium (9 percent DV)
31.7 micrograms folate (8 percent DV)
0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (6 percent DV)
0.1 milligrams thiamin (5 percent DV)
0.1 milligrams copper (4 percent DV)
1-gram fibre (4 percent DV)
14.6 milligrams magnesium (4 percent DV)
0.4 milligrams vitamin E (2 percent DV)

*Taken from

More Fun Facts About Lemons (throughout history this time!)

  • Around 500 AD, the ancient Egyptians developed lemonade. They called it “qatarmizat” and made it from lemon juice and sugar. Unfortunately, only the Pharaohs and the royal family could drink “qatarmizat.”
  • On August 20, 1630, lemonade was first sold as a soft drink in Paris. It was made with lemon juice, honey and sparkling water.
  • During the 1840s frozen lemonade was introduced and this may have been the precursor to lemon gelato in Naples, Italy.
  • The demand for lemons grew through the 1840’s as a cure for scurvy – a debilitating condition caused by lack of vitamin C.
  • The lemon growing industry began in California as a response to that demand and huge groves were planted.
  • And the oldest documented case of a child-made lemonade stand came from Edward Bok who in 1873 (at the age of 10) started by selling cups of water at the age of 10 for 1 cent a glass. He was doing so well that others began to sell water as well. So he decided to one-up his competition and add lemon and sugar and sell it for 3 cents a glass. Thus you have the birth of the lemonade stand.

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