The directions for a detox regimen that I tried a while back suggested that cleansers drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning. Its thought to kick-start the digestive system.
The water added to the lemon juice should be warm but not uncomfortably hot. I looked into why this is recommended, and after what I’ve learned from experts and personal experience, I’ve made drinking warm lemon water a regular habit. Here’s why it’s good for you.
Lemon Health Benefits Quickly Explained
Lemons are healthy. Most of us associate lemons and citrus fruits with vitamin C, but that’s not all they have to offer. They’re low in sugar. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, lemons 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. They even contain more potassium than apples or grapes.
Lemon health benefits 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 lemon water benefits 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 this way. So, why not give it a try? Read on to find out how you can join me in my new morning routine of drinking lemon water first thing in the morning.
What Are the Benefits of 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 drinking 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 white blood cell production.
Those white blood cells are the defender cells that attack bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C may also keep existing immune cells healthier and better 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 lemon water in the morning can raise your body’s pH, 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 into warm water for their morning cup 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 is good for you because it 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 urination rate, which will help you purify. Therefore, toxins are released from your body at a faster rate, which then keeps your urinary tract healthy.
Even better, their citric acid content may help prevent kidney stones by making the 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 drinking 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 by helping purge toxins from the blood. In addition to drinking it, lemon water can actually be applied directly to scars to help.
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. You could always consult with your dentist for advice.
10. Lemon may even help respiratory problems
As noted above, drinking warm lemon water helps eliminate 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 help prevent 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 and reduce 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 stress’s physical and psychological effects.
In fact, people who have high levels of vitamin C in their bodies don’t respond to stress as 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 lemon in water in the morning might 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 as much in the morning. This is weird, I can’t explain it, but I’ll take it.
Easy Lemon Water Recipes
Warm Lemon Water Recipe
An easy warm lemon water recipe that you can flavor as you like with these ideas.
- half a lemon
- a cup full of warm water
- Fill a cup with warm water.
- Squeeze half a lemon into the warm water.
- Add extra flavor if you like with basil, lavender, mint, grated ginger, honey, turmeric.
If I’m in a hurry in the morning, I make lemon water using this easy recipe mentioned above.
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 Select a Good Lemon
Here are some tips for selecting the perfect lemon so that you can experience lemon water benefits with the tastiest and juiciest fruit
- Heavy lemons have the highest mineral content, but they also have the most sugar. Look for dense ones with thin skin 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. Those 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 they will have less juice than ones that are fresh and ripe in either case.
Tools and Tips
Drink your warm lemon water in cups with coffee or tea stains as lemon is a DIY hack for removing these stains. Then, grind the used lemon rinds in your garbage disposal to help deodorize it. This helps ensure that no part of this precious citrus fruit goes to waste.
After cycling through several lemon squeezers, I’ve shifted to a stainless steel lemon squeezer with over 1000 stellar reviews that I 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.
FAQs About Drinking Lemon Water
Despite it being such a healthy habit, there are a lot of questions that people have about drinking lemon water.
Why does lemon water have to be warm?
I couldn’t find a concrete answer at first for why the water should be warm. Having studied Chinese Medicine, I assumed that cold water likely provides a shock or stress factor to the body that causes an imbalance of yin and yang as it takes energy for your body to process food and drinks that are cold or really hot.
It’s also the case that using warm water in your morning lemon water helps extract more polyphenol from the lemons. You can use cold or hot water if that’s your preference, but you may not get the same health benefits.
How much lemon should I use?
I asked BluePrintCleanse, who recommended all detoxers start the day with warm lemon water, how much lemon they recommend you put in your water. They suggested just a wedge or 1/8 of a lemon. I find it easier to squeeze half a lemon into my mug, so that’s what I do.
Can I drink lemon water everyday?
When making adjustments to your dietary regimen, it is wise to consult your medical professional. Many devotees do drink warm lemon water in the morning daily.
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. I also highly recommend fresh ginger slices in lemon water.
What does lemon in the morning do for weight loss?
Lemon water is a very low-calorie beverage as the average lemon without skin has 17 calories. By drinking it instead of sweetened coffee or juice, you are already cutting calories out of your diet. 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 consuming 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 no studies are 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 it to the mornings is that you’ll be able to brush your teeth right afterward. The acid in lemon juice probably won’t impact your tooth enamel, but you do need to be mindful of your teeth.
How much lemon water should you drink a day?
Let’s break it down. If one normal-sized 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).
Is cold lemon water good for you?
Yes. Cold lemon water offers health benefits thanks to vitamins and minerals added by lemon slices or lemon juice. People who do not prefer plain water may drink more water if it’s flavored with lemon instead of other cold beverages like soft drinks.
What does hot water and lemon do?
Adding lemon to hot water makes it taste better while adding essential vitamins and minerals that help boost your immune system, clear skin, freshen breath, and other health benefits listed here. Make sure that the water is not so hot as to risk burning your mouth. Warm water is preferable.
How often should you drink lemon water?
There is no set recommendation for how often you should drink lemon water. The best solution is to consult with your medical professional for advice. Many people make it a daily habit and consume lemon water throughout the day.
Do you enjoy the benefits of hot lemon water in the morning? Do you think that lemon water is good for you? Let me know in the comments.
See also: 15 Health Benefits of Cucumber Water
Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).
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