There is often misunderstanding of lemon’s pH outside the body versus inside the body. Let’s get this straight and expound on 10 benefits of regularly taking lemon juice with warm water (note: NOT equal to lemonade!)
Outside the body, lemon juice is acidic (pH is below 7). This is a non-issue. Everyone knows this. It’s a citrus fruit.
Inside the body however, when lemon juice has been fully metabolized and its minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream, its effect is alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of the body (pH above 7 is alkaline). Please notice the difference.
Why is it important for body tissue to be alkaline rather than acidic? Well, for chemistry enthusiasts, we know that in long-term acidic environments, normal cell structure and function are damaged. The exception to this is the stomach, where the hydrochloric acid secreted there is intended to aid in cellular digestion of food. But even the stomach is internally lined with special cells to prevent the acid from burning through the stomach’s layers, which is a condition otherwise known as “gastritis” or stomach ulcer.
Similar to the food we eat, human tissue – muscles, organs, fascia, cells and blood simply break down faster in acidic conditions. The only difference however, is that ingested food becomes fuel for life in its metabolized state whereas broken down tissue dies and becomes toxic waste.
How does the body become acidic? Through unbalanced diets too rich in acid-producing or inflammatory foods, repressed or unexpressed negative emotions, persistent negative subconscious thought patterns, and overall wear and tear in human body functions.
You may have heard that the acidity of lemon juice reduces the healthy enamel on teeth. The answer to this lies in whether a person sucks on fresh lemons or limes all the time. If so, then yes, doing so will damage the teeth’s enamel.
But drinking lemon-water does not expose the teeth for excessive amounts of time to high citrus acidic levels in the mouth, thereby causing no harm to the enamel. In fact, it improves plaque-stained teeth and bad breath.
You may have also heard that lemon juice causes cavities. Yikes! Not true. I even checked with my own holistic-focused dentist (who I recommend in a heartbeat - Dr. Ross Gorrell in Tsawwassen, B.C., Canada). No matter if someone takes a lot of lemon juice in their diet, if they have relatively more sugar (processed foods, pastries, candy, pop, cakes, breads, chocolate, etc.), then it's the comparatively higher amount of sugar intake that leads to cavities. When metabolized in the bloodstream, sugar is highly acidic, and because blood is the body's amazing superhighway, this leads to the breakdown of teeth, among many other symptoms of unbalanced health.
Simply put, outside the body lemon juice is acidic; inside the body after its minerals dissociate, its effect is alkalizing. So in fact, lemon juice is both acidic and alkalizing.
Now what are its long-term benefits, indicators of general pH level in the body, and exceptions for those who would not be recommended to take it?
10 BENEFITS of Drinking Warm Lemon-Water (i.e. not claimed to be a "cure" for the following conditions)
- Decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol
- Cut through and reduce phlegm congesting the lungs and sinuses, or phlegm expressed externally as pus (ex. acne, boils, shingles)
- Cut through adipose (fat) and cellulite tissue to assist weight loss, especially when taken first thing in the morning before breakfast
- Decrease “fatty” liver
- Astringe body fluid to help prevent abnormal fluid discharge (ex. night sweats, spontaneous daytime sweats, seminal leakage, urine incontinence, bedwetting) - this is based on over 4000 years of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which each flavour in food is understood to have a therapeutic purpose, and "sour" flavoured foods are used in herbal medicine to help astringe unwanted leakage of body fluids
- Maintain teeth and mouth health
- Reduce sweet, pastry and gluten cravings (which all cause acidic environments in the body)
- Detoxify and alkalize acidic conditions seen in many diseases ailing people today (ex. rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, gout, diabetes type II, multiple sclerosis, digestive disorders, allergies, chronic fatigue)
- Nourish and relax tight fascia tissue – ligaments, tendons and connective tissue
- Maintain glowing, moisturized healthy skin and boost immunity
General pH Level Indicator
Keeping your dosage of lemon juice per 1 cup water consistent, a simple indicator of whether your body is more acidic or alkaline is whether lemon juice in hot or warm water tastes sour or not. If the sour taste is strong, your body is very acidic. If it’s not sour at all and even tastes like lemonade to you (without the sugar), your body is in a healthier, more alkaline state.
Depending on a) your ratio of lemon juice to water; b) body’s level of acidity; and c) consistency in daily intake, the taste of lemon-water should eventually not taste very sour at all.
Those who would not be recommended to regularly take lemon-water are those who have strong acid reflux (heartburn) or ulcers (known or unknown) – mouth, esophageal or stomach ulcers. In these cases, lemon juice will cause an irritating “burning” sensation, because it has not yet been metabolized by the body and is still in its acidic state when passing these areas of the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, other remedies would be suggested.
NOTE: Taking LIME juice in warm water has similar benefits to drinking warm lemon-water. See this comparison of nutrition facts between raw lemon and lime juice.
Resources: For evidence-based information on the benefits of lemon juice, read the following:
"He who does not know food, how can he understand the diseases of man?"
- Hippocrates (460 - 357 B.C.)