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Ever imagined hot Indian summers without our sherbets to cool us down? Difficult isn’t it? Indian summers are the made enjoyable with these tasty cool drinks. Though various fruit sherbets can be made, none is as healthy and easy to make as a lemon juice or nimbu pani, as it is popularly known in India.

Lemon water, also known as nimbu pani, is nothing but the juice of a lemon squeezed into water. Nimbu pani consists of around 5% of citric acid which gives it a sour taste.  Depending on your liking it can either be made sweet or salty or both. It can be consumed either hot or cold. Additional ingredients like mint, chaat masala, cumin powder etc can be added for better satisfaction of taste buds. There are a number of Nimbu pani recipes to spice up your drink, making it simple yet varied and delicious.

Apart from being a cooling drink, lemon water is also popularly used as a weight loss and detox remedy by some. But did you ever wonder what makes this simple recipe loaded with so many health benefits?

Lemons are enriched with a variety of nutrients such as vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and sodium. They are a notable member of the citrus family and are also a good source of potassium. Vitamin C alone makes a repository of health as it helps improve immunity.

And that is not even the half of it.

If you are curious to know more about the benefits of lemon water, this article is for you.

Some basic facts about Nimbu/Lemon:

  • Botanical Name: Citrus Limon
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Common Name: Nimbu
  • Native Region and geographical distribution: Lemons are believed to be originated in Assam, Northern Burma or China. Asian countries like India, China and South American countries of Argentina, Brazil and North American nations like Mexico jointly amount to more than half of lemon production in the world
  • Interesting facts: Maximum juice can be extracted from a lemon by rolling it on a flat surface before cutting it. Also, lemons with thinner skin are juicier.
  1. Nimbu pani nutrition facts
  2. Nimbu pani health benefits
  3. When to take lemon water
  4. Lemon water side effects
  5. Takeaway

Lemon is made up of carbohydrates (10%) and water (88-89%) but it contains some amounts of proteins too. A standardly sized lemon contains merely 20 calories. It is an appreciable way to add flavour to water without increasing its calorie intake. Lemons are also enriched with Vitamin C which makes it a perfect treat for your immune system.

As per the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 grams of lemon juice contains the following values:

Nutrient Value per 100 g
Water 92.31 g
Energy 22 kCal
Protein 0.35 g
Fats 0.24 g
Carbohydrate 6.9 g
Fibre 0.3 g
Sugar 2.52 g
Mineral  
Calcium 6 mg
Iron 0.08 mg
Magnesium 6 mg
Phosphorus 8 mg
Potassium 103 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Zinc 0.05 mg
Vitamins  
Vitamin B1 0.024 mg
Vitamin B2 0.015 mg
Vitamin B3 0.091 mg
Vitamin B6 0.046 mg
Vitamin B9 20 mg
Vitamin C 38.7 mg
Vitamin E 0.15 mg
Fats/ Fatty Acids  
Unsaturated 0.040 g
Monounsaturated 0.006 g
Polyunsaturated 0.021 g

Lemon water or nimbu pani has several benefits for your health. It is an antioxidant food and detoxifier and also aids in getting rid of bad breath. But most importantly it is a an immunity booster. Here are some of the scientifically evident health benefits of lemon water. 

  1. Lemon water for weight loss
  2. Lemon water for skin care
  3. Lemon water for digestion
  4. Lemon water for bad breath
  5. Lemon water boosts immunity
  6. Lemon water for kidney stones
  7. Lemon water for heart health

Lemon water for weight loss

Lemon is an extremely rich source of vitamin C. Studies suggest that vitamin C deficiency is directly correlated to an increased body mass. In a clinical study, individuals with adequate vitamin C levels were reported to oxidize 30% more fat during a workout regime than individuals with vitamin C deficiency. However, another study reports that vitamin C may not be helpful in losing weight in the short term as it helps burn fat in the body and does not promote immediate weight loss. So, you need to be patient with this one. Lemon water is further low in calories and helps detoxify your body which, in turn, improve metabolism.

Nonetheless, if you want to get the maximum benefits from your morning lemon water, it is best that you supplement it with an exercise regime and a balanced diet.

(Read more: Diet chart for weight loss)

Lemon water for skin care

Apart from promoting weight loss, lemon water is primarily known for its benefits in improving skin conditions. This is because lemon water is made up of antioxidants like vitamin C that not only reduce blemishes but also wipe away wrinkles!

Vitamin C plays an essential part in collagen biosynthesis which is an important protein responsible for skin integrity. It also protects skin cells from UV damage, which defines its mechanism of action.

Warm lemon water detoxifies your blood and hence is very useful for maintaining your skin’s radiance.

Additionally, lemon water supplies hydration to your skin and we all know that a dehydrated skin quickly loses its elasticity and shine, giving way to wrinkles and fine lines.

Lemon water for digestion

Traditionally, nimbu pani is believed to relieve constipation and improve digestion. Though there is no scientific claim to confirm this theory, lemon contains vitamin C has been demonstrated to increase intestinal contractions aiding the process of digestion. This helps to relieve you from constipation.

Lemon water is mostly recommended to be taken lukewarm as warm water further aids in softening stools, facilitating their easy passage through the intestines.

It also stimulates bowel movements and stimulates the digestion of food in the gut. Additionally, as a diuretic and detoxifier, lemon water makes sure that all the toxins get flushed out from your digestive system, improving digestive function and relieving constipation.

(Read more: How to improve digestion)

Lemon water for bad breath

Besides the consumption of smelly foods, improper digestion and acidity can lead to bad breath. Drinking warm lemon water boosts metabolism and keeps the stomach healthy which, in turn, keeps the mouth odour-free. Bacterial growth is yet another cause of bad breath. Lab studies indicate that the inhibitory effect of lemon on bacterial growth may be helpful in reducing bad breath.

Lemon gives a citrusy flavour to breathe which itself is quite refreshing. Further, water washes away bad breath by increasing saliva production.

However, lemon is inherently acidic and may erode tooth enamel, so it is advisable that you take lemon water in moderation.

Lemon water boosts immunity

Nimbu pani is a miraculous and extremely effective remedy to improve immunity and treat disorders of the throat. Vitamin C contained in lemon is effective in suppressing the onset of cold. Therefore, drinking nimbu pani is very good for treating common cold and flu.

Nimbu pani, when used as a gargle or oral wash, can help prevent sore throats, tonsillitis, and can help mitigate gingivitis and canker sores as well. Citric acid makes up about 5 to 6% of the juice. It actively inhibits bacterial growth by breaking down bacterial cell membrane.

Not only this, vitamin C also stimulates both the cellular and humoral immune system. In other words, it activates the immune system at all levels, making you less prone to diseases.

(Read more: Immunity boosting foods)

Lemon water for kidney stones

Kidney stones are mineral salt clumps that get deposited inside your kidneys. They elicit symptoms like nausea and abdominal pain. Though surgery and potassium citrate tablets are the most common options available to treat this problem it can relapse due to lifestyle factors. Passing kidney stones is immensely painful, an experience so excruciating that you may not forget.

Fortunately, citric acid present in lemons has been found to reduce the formation of kidney stones. Though it is not as potent as potassium citrate, it is definitely a better remedy to medicines and surgery.

Being a diuretic, lemon water keeps flushing all the toxins from the kidneys and does not let extra mineral compounds reside in the kidney linings for long, which makes nimbu pani an excellent aid for kidney stone prevention.

Lemon water for heart health

Cardiovascular diseases are one of the common causes of mortality.

Several studies indicate that the intake of food high in Vitamin C helps reduce cardiovascular diseases. The risk of stroke and heart attack increases if there are low levels of Vitamin C especially among those who are obese or have high blood pressure.

A study done on Japanese population confirmed this along with demonstrating significantly lower risk of stroke in people who take adequate amounts of vitamin C. In a clinical study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, regular vitamin C consumption was found to be inversely associated with coronary heart disease risk.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, it prevents lipid peroxidation, which is responsible for arterial plaques and atherosclerosis. Thus reducing stroke and heart attack risk.

Additionally, lemons are rich in potassium, which makes it an excellent hypotensive (reduces blood pressure) agent. A balanced blood pressure reduces stress on the heart and arteries thereby keeping the cardiovascular system healthy.

(Read more: Heart disease prevention)

Lemon water can be taken at any time of the day but there is an exceptional inclination to consume lemon water in the morning as it is believed to aid in weight loss. Consumption of lukewarm lemon water is usually recommended to stimulate metabolic function. 

  • Nimbu Pani is a perfectly great drink. But, if not mixed at the right water proportion, it can cause erosion of the teeth enamel, which makes your teeth more sensitive and prone to cavities. This can be managed by drinking Nimbu Pani with a straw so that it has very little contact with your teeth.
  • It is recommended that you rinse your mouth right after drinking lemon water. However, it is advisable to wait a minimum of thirty minutes to brush your teeth after taking nimbu pani as teeth will be in an acid-softened state and it will lead to damage.
  • Lemons are full of Vitamin C, and too much of it can induce nausea and vomiting.
  • Lemon juice, when consumed with warm or lukewarm water, can act as a diuretic. A lemon water detox can aid in promoting liver functioning and regularity. It increases the urine output and if this gets out of hand, one can also feel extremely dehydrated. This is because lemon juice soaks up all the excess water in your body. In this process, it gets rid of a considerable number of electrolytes and sodium. Sometimes when the amount being flushed out is excessive, it causes this side effect. Further, acidic fruits like lemons irritate the bladder and cause frequent urination.

Nimbu pani is one of the most loved drinks not only because of its tangy taste but also because it's easy to make. Additionally, thiS vitamin C-rich fruit juice protects against many ailments. The health benefits of this combination are ample but it also has a few side effects if consumed in excess. In the end, it all comes down to the quantity and proportions. 

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References

  1. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Basic Report: 09152, Lemon juice, raw. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release [Internet]
  2. Yokoyama T, Date C, Kokubo Y, Yoshiike N, Matsumura Y, Tanaka H. Serum vitamin C concentration was inversely associated with subsequent 20-year incidence of stroke in a Japanese rural community. The Shibata study. Stroke. 2000 Oct;31(10):2287-94. PMID: 11022052
  3. Joshipura KJ et al. The effect of fruit and vegetable intake on risk for coronary heart disease. Ann Intern Med. 2001 Jun 19;134(12):1106-14. PMID: 11412050
  4. Ballot D et al. The effects of fruit juices and fruits on the absorption of iron from a rice meal. . Br J Nutr. 1987 May;57(3):331-43. PMID: 3593665
  5. Péneau S et al. Relationship between iron status and dietary fruit and vegetables based on their vitamin C and fiber content. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1298-305. PMID: 18469253
  6. Selim Sacirović et al. Monitoring and Prevention of Anemia Relying on Nutrition and Environmental Conditions in Sports . Mater Sociomed. 2013; 25(2): 136–139. PMID: 24082840
  7. Mir IA, Tiku AB. Chemopreventive and therapeutic potential of "naringenin," a flavanone present in citrus fruits. Nutr Cancer. 2015;67(1):27-42. PMID: 25514618
  8. Bae JM, Lee EJ, Guyatt G. Citrus fruit intake and pancreatic cancer risk: a quantitative systematic review. Pancreas. 2009 Mar;38(2):168-74. PMID: 18824947
  9. Aras B et al. Can lemon juice be an alternative to potassium citrate in the treatment of urinary calcium stones in patients with hypocitraturia? A prospective randomized study. Urol Res. 2008 Dec;36(6):313-7. PMID: 18946667
  10. Pumori Saokar Telang. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 143–146. PMID: 23741676
  11. Johnston CS. Strategies for healthy weight loss: from vitamin C to the glycemic response. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005. PMID 15930480
  12. Massimo Bellini et al. Irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation: Fact and fiction . World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Oct 28; 21(40): 11362–11370. PMID: 26523103
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