The directions for a BluePrintCleanse I tried a while back suggested that cleansers drink lemon water first thing in the morning to kick start the digestive system. The water added to the lemon juice should be lukewarm, or as hot as is bearable. I looked into why this is recommended and after what I’ve learned, I’ve made drinking lemon water a regular habit. Here’s why:
The Health Benefits of Lemon
Lemons are healthy. Most of us associate lemons with vitamin C, but that’s not all they have to offer. They’re low in sugar and according to the USDA National Nutrient Database, contain everything from vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid to minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Lemons even contain more potassium than apples or grapes.
The health benefits of lemons go beyond vitamins and minerals, however. As you’ll read below, lemon juice has antibacterial and antiviral properties and can be a digestive health aid. Some people find that the benefits of lemon water in the morning extend to weight loss, clearer skin, and even a clearer mind.
I don’t know if replacing my cup of coffee with a cup of warm water and lemon juice in the morning will be a cure-all or inspire me to stick with a total health makeover, but there aren’t a lot of downsides to jump-starting your day with lemon in the morning. So, why not give it a try? Read on to find out how you can join me in my new morning routine.
10 Benefits of Drinking Warm Lemon Water in the Morning
When it comes to tips for healthier living, there’s a lot of information online, and not all of it is backed up by research. That’s what inspired me to take a look at the benefits of lemon water in the morning with a critical eye.
1. Boosts your immune system
Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. But the question I had was why? When I looked into it further, I discovered that Vitamin C has been shown to increase the production of white blood cells. Those white blood cells are the defender cells that attack bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C may also keep existing immune cells healthier and better able to produce enough of the kind of antibodies that attach to viruses and bacteria to mark them for destruction.
2. Lemons are good for your brain
They’re high in potassium, which research shows stimulates brain and nerve function. Let’s dig deeper. Just one lemon contains 80 milligrams of this essential mineral — which is also important for basic cell and muscle functions and maintaining your body’s fluid balance.
3. They are heart healthy
The potassium in lemons may help control blood pressure, but that’s not all. The vitamin C you’ll get from drinking warm lemon water in the morning may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
4. Lemon juice balances the body’s pH
Lately, you may have noticed that people are talking a lot about reducing the body’s acidity by eating and drinking alkaline foods. You may be surprised to learn that while lemon juice is acidic outside of the body, its effect is alkalizing after it has been fully metabolized. That means that drinking warm water and lemon in the morning can raise the pH of your body, promoting healthy cell function and structure and creating a less hospitable environment for bacteria and viruses.
5. It helps with weight loss
Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which could help fight hunger cravings… if you’re eating a whole lemon. And some people lose weight more quickly just by upping their water intake. But many people also find that juicing them and then drinking warm water and lemon juice in the morning helps them lose weight faster. One research study found that polyphenols in lemon juice have the power to suppress body fat accumulation. The same research showed that the same compounds in lemons significantly reduced weight gain — even for those who were overeating.
6. Lemon water also aids digestion
Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. That’s important when you consider that a study showed that over 30% of men and women over age 60 had atrophic gastritis, a condition marked by little or no stomach acid. Drinking warm lemon water can help get your digestive system get moving in the morning without overloading it. Plus, efficient digestion reduces heartburn and constipation, so you won’t have to worry about the acid in lemons giving you heartburn.
7. Lemon water is a diuretic
Drinking warm lemon water throughout the day will increase your rate of urination, which in turn will help you purify. Toxins are, therefore, released from your body at a faster rate, which then keeps your urinary tract healthy. Even better, the citric acid in lemons may even help prevent kidney stones by making urine less acidic and giving your body the citrate it needs to break up or flush out small kidney stones. Lemons actually have the highest concentration of citrate of any citrus fruit. Studies have shown that one of the proven benefits of lemon water in the morning is decreased stone formation.
8. It clears skin
The vitamin C in warm lemon water helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemon water purges toxins from the blood, which helps keep skin clear as well. In addition to drinking it, lemon water can actually be applied directly to scars to help reduce their appearance. You’ll have beautiful, glowing skin in no time as the nutrients found in lemon nourish your skin from the inside out and the outside in.
9. And freshens breath
Not only does warm lemon water make your breath nicer, but it can help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. But be careful about brushing your teeth after your warm lemon water in the morning. The citric acid in lemon juice can erode tooth enamel, so you should monitor this. I admit that I’m slightly worried about it. You could always consult with your dentist.
10. Lemon may even help respiratory problems
As noted above, warm lemon water helps get rid of chest infections and halt those pesky coughs. It’s thought to be helpful to people with asthma and allergies, too. This may be because the vitamin C in lemon juice boosts the immune system and the compound limonene also helps the body resist asthma triggers as a result. The antioxidants in lemon juice may help the body in its fight against allergens and irritants. And the antiseptic properties of lemon might be helpful in preventing mucus build-up.
11. It’s good for the liver
Compounds in lemon may also help your liver do a better job of filtering toxins out of your body because citrus flavonoids in lemon can protect the liver against damage caused by toxins while also reducing fat in the liver. Lemon juice on its own may not be a detoxifying agent, but it could be doing a lot to help your body cleanse itself naturally.
12. And keeps you zen
Vitamin C is one of the first things depleted when you subject your mind and body to stress. As mentioned previously, lemons are chock full of vitamin C — which has been shown in numerous studies to reduce both the physical and psychological effects of stress. In fact, people who have high levels of vitamin C in their bodies just don’t respond to stress like you’d expect. They feel less of it in highly stressful situations and then bounce back from those situations faster. So, one of the most surprising benefits of drinking warm lemon water in the morning might just be that you feel more centered throughout the day.
13. Helps kick the coffee habit
After I have a glass of hot lemon water, I actually don’t crave coffee in the morning. This is weird, I can’t explain it, but I’ll take it.
Why Does Lemon Water Have to Be Warm?
The one thing I couldn’t find a concrete answer for at first is why the water has to be hot. Having studied Chinese Medicine, I assumed that cold water likely provides a shock or stress factor to the body. It takes energy for your body to process cold and really hot water, believe it or not. And while that’s true, it’s also the case that using warm water in your morning lemon water helps to extract more polyphenol from the lemons. You can use cold or hot water if that’s your preference, but you simply won’t get the same health benefits.
The one thing I couldn’t find a concrete answer for is why the water has to be hot. Having studied Chinese Medicine, I can only assume that cold water likely provides a shock or stress factor to the body. It takes energy for your body to process cold and really hot water, believe it or not. I asked BluePrintCleanse how much lemon the recommend you put in your water. They suggested just a wedge or 1/8 of a lemon.
Easy Lemon Water Recipes
If I’m in a hurry in the morning, I use this simple warm lemon water recipe:
- Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon into a mug of warm water. Stir.
But, if you have more time on your hands and need something to drink throughout the day, this detox water has health benefits and tastes great.
- Fill a large pitcher of water, perhaps 12 cups or 3 quarts in size.
- Squeeze 3 lemons (6 average-sized limes works, too).
- Slice one cucumber thinly and add to water.
- Drop in a handful of mint leaves.
How to pick a good lemon:
- Heavy lemons have the highest mineral content, but they also have the most sugar. Look for dense, thin-skinned lemons to get the most health benefits.
- Lemons with finely-grained peels usually have the most juice inside.
- Lemons should be bright yellow, with no patches of green. Lemons with green patches or a green tinge will be less ripe and much more acidic.
- Old lemons may be squishy or feel very hard, but in either case, they will have less juice than fresh, ripe lemons.
Tip: Drink your warm lemon water in cups that have coffee or tea stains. The lemon water will help remove them. Then grind the used lemon rinds in your garbage disposal to help deodorize it.
Update: After cycling through a number of lemon squeezers, I’ve shifted to a stainless steel lemon squeezer with over 1000 stellar reviews that I absolutely love and can toss into the dishwasher. I’ve been through peeling paint and corroded plastic with other brands. I feel this is worth mentioning if you’re going to make drinking lemon water or lime water a daily habit. Also, these reusable stainless steel straws are great if you’re concerned about lemon hitting your teeth.
What If I Don’t Like Lemon?
You could also try warm turmeric and lemon water. Some people like this better than plain lemon in the morning because the flavor is more interesting and turmeric has numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. And if you prefer the flavor of lime over lemon, you’ll get many of the same health benefits drinking lime water, though you will probably need to squeeze an entire lime to get the same amount of juice you can squeeze out of half an average size lemon.
FAQs About Lemon Water
What does lemon in the morning do for weight loss?
Lemon water is a very low-calorie beverage. By drinking it instead of sweetened coffee or juice, you are already cutting calories out of your diet. A glass of warm lemon water contains just six calories. Staying hydrated will also help you lose weight, and water with lemon is a much better hydrator than coffee or tea in the morning. Some research suggests that increased hydration may also speed up the breakdown of fats in the body. Additionally, the polyphenols in lemon juice may speed up both weight loss and body fat reduction.
Can lemon juice in the morning be bad for you?
Some people are worried that drinking too much lemon water can be bad for bones because it is so acidic, but as noted above, lemon alkalizes in the body. Unfortunately, no scientific studies have been done on lemon’s effects on the bones, though there are also no studies showing that drinking lemon juice in water is bad for health.
Is it okay to drink lemon water all day?
If you love the flavor and drinking it is keeping you from sipping on sodas, why not? The only reason you might want to consider limiting your consumption of warm lemon water to the mornings is that you’ll be able to brush your teeth right afterward. The acid in lemon juice probably won’t have any impact on your tooth enamel, but this way you can drink it without concern.
How many times a day should you drink lemon water?
Let’s break it down. If one normal size lemon contains about 50 mg of vitamin C, you can get all you need by juicing just two lemons, adding that to warm water, and drinking it in the morning. Taking in more vitamin C by drinking lemon water throughout the day won’t hurt you, but there’s one more good reason to enjoy a cup or two right when you first wake up. That’s when your body is most dehydrated, so you’ll replenish the water you lost overnight and give your digestive system a healthy boost before breakfast.
Does lemon juice in the morning reduce belly fat?
The best thing you can do to reduce belly fat is to stay well hydrated, which will reduce water retention and combat belly-inflating symptoms like bloating, puffiness and weight gain. Warm lemon water gets things moving in the morning, too, which means you won’t spend the day dealing with constipation (another major cause of belly bloat).
Are you going to join me in getting benefits of lemon water in the morning? Let me know in the comments. And if you drink warm water and lemon juice in the morning, how is it going for you?