A ketosis diet is one of the best when it comes to proven weight loss benefits. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, treat and reverse cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and control diabetes (1).
But some people still have their doubts about eating a diet that is high in acidic-forming foods. One quick and easy way to neutralize acids in the body is by adding lemon juice to your diet. Here’s why you need lemon water when you’re on the keto diet and how to make it.
Lemon Juice and PH Levels
Lemons are natural disinfectants. They safely and effectively clean everything they come in contact with, including toxins in the urine (2).
Lemon itself is acidic based on its pH level (around 2). So the question becomes: How does lemon juice become alkaline when it enters our body?
It turns out that a food’s pH level before it’s digested has little to do with the acidic or alkaline effect it has in our body. However, the acidic or alkaline byproducts produced once this food is digested by our body make the difference. This is known as “ash analysis” (3, 4).
Although lemons are acidic (citric acid), they transform into alkaline byproducts once they are in your body, making them one of the healthiest foods you can eat to remove toxins and return your state of health to an alkaline one.
When it comes to understanding the importance of lemon, it helps to know a thing or two about your pH levels. Your body needs to maintain a pH level of 7.35-7.45 for your cells to function properly. When the body takes on a blood pH level that is too acidic, it can no longer work to the best of its abilities. This state of health is known as metabolic acidosis (5).
Uric acid is a byproduct of purine, which is found in many foods on the keto diet, including caffeine, organ meats (liver and kidney), turkey, game meats, sardines, and seafood. Because the kidneys are responsible for removing toxins and acids from the body through the urine, having too much uric acid is associated with an increased risk of kidney disease. Neutralizing uric acid before it reaches the kidneys is an important part of keeping them healthy (6).
Lemon juice keeps the body alkaline and reverses acidosis by dissolving uric acid crystals, which is crucial for improving inflammatory conditions, such as gout. It also keeps your kidneys happy. Rather than eliminating meats and other foods that are high in purine from the diet, a simple solution is to drink lemon water.
Benefits of Lemon Water
Lemon water is high in vitamin C, which acts like an antioxidant in the body to prevent disease and keep the immune system strong. Drinking lemon water with meals also helps you absorb some nutrients better, such as iron (7).
Lemon water contains antioxidants that keep the body healthy by reducing inflammation, strengthening blood vessels, and preventing plaque buildup in arteries. It also keeps the kidneys healthy by preventing kidney stones, which is often caused by having too much uric acid in the body (8, 9).
How To Get Started
Lemon water is the easiest thing in the world to make. Start by adding two or three fresh lemon slices to a large water jug. Leave in the refrigerator and sip throughout the day. Limes are also good, too.
It’s a good idea to let your lemons sit in the water for a few minutes or even overnight to saturate the water. You can also add a few slices of organic lemon to hot water to aid digestion first thing in the morning.
Will lemon water kick you out of ketosis? No, because you don’t really need to drink a lot of concentrated lemon juice. You simply dilute it in water. For example, 1 fluid ounce of lemon (30.5 g) only has 2g of carb. You can incorporate lemon into your recipes and meals for more taste and enjoy all the health benefits.
Can You Make Lime Water Instead of Lemon Water?
Absolutely! You can use either lemons or limes to add to your water – or both. Limes will have a slightly different taste, but they’re overall very similar to lemons in terms of nutrition and benefits.
Limes are slightly higher in carbs (8 g net carbs per 100 g for limes versus 6 g net carbs per 100 g for lemons), but the amount of juice you’re using to make lime water is small, so this won’t make much of a difference.
Both lemons and limes are high in vitamin C and a number of other important micronutrients, such as flavonoids, carotenoids and others. Lime water will have similar benefits to your health as lemon water.
Lemon Water and Dental Health
An important thing to consider when adding lemon (or lime) water to your regime is that citric acid (contained in citrus fruits) erodes tooth enamel, and could therefore be harmful to your teeth. To minimize the risk of erosion, there are a few things you could do:
- Drink through a straw – this way, you’ll minimize the contact of the acid to your teeth
- Rinse your mouth after drinking lemon water – simply rinse or drink some fresh water
- Limit the time it takes you to drink your desired amount of lemon water – do not sip on it for many hours but instead drink it within 10-15 minutes
- Do not brush your teeth right after drinking lemon water – toothpaste contains abrasive substances that will further damage your enamel. After drinking lemon water, simply rinse with water and brush in 30 minutes or so.
Lemons have an acidic pH before they enter your body, but when you ingest them, they create alkaline byproducts.
This is important because alkaline foods help keep acidosis at bay. Additionally, lemons can help combat uric acid to reduce the risk of kidney disease.
Many meats contain purine, which creates uric acid when it is broken down in the body.
Lemon water helps dissolve uric acid crystals before it reaches your kidneys to keep them healthy. It also reduces inflammation in the body.
We recommend adding sliced lemons to a large container of water and letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy first thing in the morning to help flush toxins!
Want to learn more about keto? Check our Keto Diet Menu and Shopping List!