It’s a truth universally acknowledged that drinking water is great for the body. It boosts the metabolism, flushes out toxins, and hydrates the body—among other things.
In fact many health experts recommend drinking eight glasses of water every day—about 2 liters or half a gallon—in order to stay healthy and hydrated.
Despite this the popular advise, however, not many people enjoy drinking water, or even have the energy to do it, because quite simply, water tastes bland.
So in an effort to make water more appealing to the palate, many put slices of lemon and other fruits into their water—a popular method used for cleanses and detox.
But according to one study, actually putting lemon in your water can actually undo the benefits of drinking water. Why? It’s because fruits are a notorious carrier of bacteria.
In a 2007 study published in Journal of Environmental Health, researchers swabbed lemon slices from 21 different restaurants and found that 70% of the samples had microbial growth, including 25 different microbial species.
The study said:
“The microbes found on the lemon samples in our investigation all have the potential to cause infectious diseases at various body sites, although the likelihood was not determined in this study.
“Restaurant patrons should be aware that lemon slices added to beverages may include potentially pathogenic microbes.”
In a Yahoo! report, clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University School of Medicine Philip Tierno said that this is because most often than not, lemons aren’t being handled properly.
“People are touching the lemon in your glass, handling it, cutting it, placing it in a container or a cup, or a glass; and then picking up those slices at a later point in time and dropping them into a drink and putting them on the rim of a glass.
“You can easily see how those lemon slices and lemon wedges can be contaminated.”
Dr. Tierno doesn’t want you to stop putting lemon slices in your drink, but he does advise to make sure you clean the fruit thoroughly before cutting it.
Particularly because the bacteria can linger on the fruit’s skin.
It’s also important to note that when you’re at a restaurant, it’s best if you ask for your water sans the lemon.
READ: Most households handle raw chicken the wrong way
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