Coffee, tea, plain water— the list of early morning beverages is long. However, some people prefer to start their day with a cup of lemon water. This seemingly simple drink is thought to improve your health in a variety of ways. Does it really work?
Lemons are a good source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that has a range of health benefits (17). However, most of the health benefits attributed to drinking lemon water are unproven.
Let’s take a look at some of the purported health benefits of drinking lemon water, along with the available evidence.
Benefits Of Drinking Lemon Water
Serves As A Digestive Aid
Lemon water is often touted as a digestive aid. This is because lemon juice is a source of citric acid, which may help stimulate the production of digestive juices (7).
Citric acid may also promote the release of enzymes that help break down food.
Evidence suggests that drinking lemon water after meals may improve indigestion. A 2021 study found that drinking 300 ml of lemon water before eating meals appeared to promote peristalsis, the muscular contractions that push food through your digestive system (6).
Promotes Weight Loss
Lemon water is sometimes promoted as a weight-loss aid. This is likely because lemon juice is a low-calorie way to add flavor to water or other beverages, making it a healthy alternative to sugary drinks.
Avoiding sugary drinks, along with other unhealthy lifestyle choices, is essential for weight loss (18).
With that being said, drinking lemon water on an empty stomach in the morning alone, without making other changes to your diet and lifestyle, is unlikely to lead to significant weight loss.
Read More: A 14-Day Lemon Water Challenge To Lose Weight
Vitamin C is a nutrient that helps support the immune system. Lemons are a good source of this said nutrient and it is thought that getting enough vitamin C may help improve immunity (16).
Evidence supports the role of vitamin C in immunity. A 2020 review found that vitamin C supplements may help reduce the duration and severity of respiratory infections, such as the common cold (15).
Helps Prevent Kidney Stones
Lemon juice is thought to have a high citrate content, which may help prevent kidney stones. Citrate helps bind minerals in the urine, making them less likely to form stones (10).
The water in lemon water is also helpful. The National Kidney Foundation recommends drinking enough water daily to help prevent kidney stones (1).
Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms (11). Lemon water contains water and electrolytes, both of which help promote hydration. Drinking it first thing in the morning is a good way to start your day off hydrated.
Rich Source Of Antioxidants
Lemons are a rich source of antioxidants, like vitamin C, which are nutrients that help protect your cells from damage. These nutrients scavenge harmful toxins and byproducts that can damage cells, sometimes leading to inflammation (5).
Inflammation is a natural response that helps heal the body. However, chronic inflammation is associated with several health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer (2).
Improves Skin Health
Lemons are often promoted as a skin-healthy food due to their high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for collagen production. Collagen is a protein that helps keep skin looking plump and youthful (13).
Research suggests that vitamin C may also help protect the skin from damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun (14). Don’t put lemon juice directly on your skin, however, as it can cause irritation and hyperpigmentation.
May Help Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other health problems (8). Lemons are a good source of potassium, which is why it is said that drinking lemon water as part of a potassium-rich diet may help lower blood pressure.
Potassium helps relax and widen blood vessels, which can reduce blood pressure (12).
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How To Make Lemon Water?
To make lemon water, start by slicing a lemon into thin wedges. Then, add the lemon slices to a glass of water and enjoy. You may also squeeze the lemon juice into the water if you prefer.
Lemon water is best enjoyed fresh, but you can also store it in the fridge for up to a day.
You can infuse more flavor and nutrients into this beverage by adding:
- A pinch of black pepper (for added antioxidants)
- A slice of fresh ginger (for an immunity boost)
- A teaspoon of honey (for added sweetness)
- A sprig of fresh mint (for added flavor)
- A pinch of cinnamon (for added flavor and antioxidants)
- A pinch of turmeric (for added flavor, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory benefits)
When To Avoid Drinking Lemon Water?
Though there are many potential health benefits of drinking lemon water, there are a few situations in which you may want to avoid it.
For example, people with GERD or acid reflux may want to avoid drinking lemon water because it can increase their symptoms (4).
Lemon water can also worsen tooth enamel due to its high acidity (9). To protect your teeth, drink lemon water through a straw and rinse your mouth with plain water after drinking it.
Read More: Lemon Water Health Benefits – Does It Break A Fast?
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions about lemon water.
Is It Good To Drink Lemon Water In The Morning On An Empty Stomach?
There is no evidence to suggest that drinking lemon water on an empty stomach is harmful or helpful. Many people find that drinking lemon water first thing in the morning helps them to start their day off on a healthy note.
Is It Better To Drink Lemon Water In The Morning Or Evening?
Lemon water is often consumed first thing in the morning as a way to promote hydration and digestion. However, there’s no evidence that drinking it at different times of day has different effects.
You may want to avoid drinking lemon water immediately before bedtime, as the acidic drink may contribute to heartburn especially if you lie down soon after drinking it.
Is It Safe To Drink Lemon Water Every Day?
Yes, it’s safe to drink lemon water every day. However, some people may experience side effects, such as heartburn, diarrhea, and tooth enamel erosion.
To avoid these side effects, drink lemon water through a straw and rinse your mouth with plain water after drinking it. You may also want to limit your intake of lemon water if you have GERD or acid reflux.
Does Lemon Water Reduce Belly Fat?
There’s no evidence that lemon water has any effect on belly fat. However, drinking lemon water instead of sugary beverages may help you lose weight in the long run.
How Many Lemons Should I Put In My Morning Water?
There’s no set amount of lemon that you should add to your water. However, most people add the juice of half a lemon to eight ounces of water. You can add more or less lemon juice to taste.
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Is It Better To Drink Lemon Water Hot Or Cold?
There is no evidence to suggest that one temperature is better than the other. Some people prefer to drink cold lemon water because it is more refreshing, while others find that hot lemon water is more soothing.
Your choice may also depend on the time of year or your personal preferences.
The Bottom Line
Lemon water is a refreshing beverage that provides several health benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants and may help promote hydration, improve skin health, and lower blood pressure. However, people with GERD or acid reflux may want to avoid drinking it.
Additionally, lemon water can interact with certain medications. Talk to your doctor if you’re unsure whether it’s safe for you to drink lemon water.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 6 Tips To Be “Water Wise” for Healthy Kidneys (2015, kidney.org)
- Chronic Inflammation (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Citric Acid-Enriched Extract of Ripe Prunus mume (Siebold) Siebold & Zucc. Induces Laxative Effects by Regulating the Expression of Aquaporin 3 and Prostaglandin E 2 in Rats with Loperamide-Induced Constipation (2021, liebertpub.com)
- Dietary Intake in Relation to the Risk of Reflux Disease: A Systematic Review (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of vitamin C on inflammation and metabolic markers in hypertensive and/or diabetic obese adults: a randomized controlled trial (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of Citric Acid in Lemon Water on the Human Intestinal Microbiota: A Comparison between Pre-Meal Intake of Water and Lemon Water. (2021, web.s.ebscohost.com)
- Glycemic response, satiety, gastric secretions and emptying after bread consumption with water, tea or lemon juice: a randomized crossover intervention using MRI (2022, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Higher Blood Pressure as a Risk Factor for Diseases Other Than Stroke and Ischemic Heart Disease (2015, ahajournals.org)
- Influence of Various Acidic Beverages on Tooth Erosion. Evaluation by a New Method (2015, journals.plos.org)
- Medical and Dietary Therapy for Kidney Stone Prevention (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Public knowledge of dehydration and fluid intake practices: variation by participants’ characteristics (2018, biomedcentral.com)
- Role of potassium in regulating blood flow and blood pressure (2006, journals.physiology.org)
- The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health (2017, mdpi.com)
- Topical vitamin C protects porcine skin from ultraviolet radiation‐induced damage (1992, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Vitamin C—An Adjunctive Therapy for Respiratory Infection, Sepsis and COVID-19 (2020, mdpi.com)
- Vitamin C and Immune Function (2017, mdpi.com)
- Vitamin C in Disease Prevention and Cure: An Overview (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies – Weight Management (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)