Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning has become a healthy daily ritual for many. But does the science support the hype around this tangy citrus drink? Research shows that lemon water provides a burst of vitamin C, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds that offer an array of health perks.
From boosting digestion and immunity to aiding weight loss and beyond, lemon water packs a nutritional punch. Read on to learn the top 10 research-backed ways drinking lemon water daily can improve your health.
1. Lemon Water Aids Digestion and Gut Health
Starting your day with a glass of warm lemon water on an empty stomach can get your digestive system moving. The citric acid from the lemon helps stimulate the production of gastric juices like bile and stomach acids. This helps break down food for better digestion.
The polyphenols in lemons may also help relax the stomach muscles to improve food transit time in the gut. Faster food transit means less opportunity for constipation. Additionally, some studies show lemon polyphenols help suppress gastric lesions and ulcers in the stomach lining.
So if you suffer from heartburn, constipation, bloating, or other GI issues, lemon water may offer relief by supporting better overall digestion.
2. Lemon Water Boosts Immunity and Fights Inflammation
Lemons are packed with vitamin C, providing over 30 mg in each 100g of fruit. This vitamin C gives lemons immune-boosting antioxidant properties.
Vitamin C supports immune cell function and activity. It also helps produce collagen, which repairs tissue damage. The antioxidants in lemon water help combat inflammation and oxidative stress as well.
Drinking the juice from just one lemon each day provides enough vitamin C to meet your recommended daily intake. This makes lemon water an ideal daily beverage to keep your immune system strong and help fight colds, flu, and infections.
3. Lemon Water May Support Weight Loss
Animal studies reveal that polyphenols extracted from lemon peels may help reduce weight gain and metabolic disease risks. The researchers found that lemon polyphenols suppressed fat accumulation and improved insulin resistance.
Though human studies are still limited, the potential is promising. Drinking lemon water instead of calorie-laden sugary beverages can also help reduce overall daily calorie intake to support weight loss over time.
Add lemon to your water instead of fruit juices or soda for a low-calorie, low-sugar alternative that hydrates and provides nutrients. Just be sure to rinse your mouth after drinking lemon water to prevent potential enamel erosion from the citric acid.
4. Lemon Water Helps Keep You Hydrated
Plain water is an ideal hydrator, but some people find it boring. Thankfully, you can add lemon to boost the flavor of water and encourage you to drink more throughout the day.
Staying hydrated is crucial for health, from brain function to metabolism and energy levels. But about 75% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration.
Adding a squirt of lemon juice or lemon slices to your water gives it a zesty, refreshing taste that can help increase your daily fluid intake. Drinking lemon water counts towards your total daily fluid requirements to stay hydrated.
5. Lemon Water Benefits Skin Health and Appearance
The vitamin C in lemon juice helps promote collagen production, which keeps your skin plump and supple. Collagen repairs skin cells and helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
The antioxidants in lemons also help protect your skin from sun damage. Applying lemon juice or rubbing a slice on your face can even help fade dark spots, acne scars, and age spots for more even and radiant skin.
Drinking lemon water also delivers hydration and nutrients from the inside out. Proper hydration keeps your skin looking supple and healthy. So lemon water offers dual skin benefits when applied topically or added to your drinking water.
6. Lemon Water Helps Prevent Kidney Stones
Kidney stones develop when minerals like calcium build up in the kidneys and form hard deposits. Citrate from lemon juice helps block these stone-forming minerals.
One study found that drinking just 2 ounces of lemon juice diluted in water each day raised citrate levels in the urine enough to potentially prevent kidney stones. The citric acid binds to calcium to help flush it out.
If you are prone to developing kidney stones, drinking lemon water daily could help reduce your risk. But be sure to consult your doctor as well.
7. Lemon Water Freshens Breath
Have stinky morning breath? Drinking lemon water can serve as a natural breath freshener. The citric acid from the lemons kills odor-causing bacteria in your mouth and throat.
Rinsing your mouth with lemon water can also help neutralize bad breath. Just be sure to rinse with plain water after to prevent potential enamel erosion from frequent exposure to citric acid.
Lemon is a smart ingredient to add to homemade mouthwash and toothpaste recipes as well. Both can help freshen your breath for cleaner, better oral health.
8. Lemon Water Helps Boost Iron Absorption
Iron deficiency and anemia are common nutrient deficiencies, especially in women. Thankfully, the vitamin C in lemons can help boost iron absorption from plant-based foods.
Adding lemon juice to iron-rich meals like spinach salads can increase iron absorption by up to six times, studies show. The citric acid and vitamin C help convert ferric iron into a more bioavailable form.
If you follow a plant-based diet or suffer from anemia, drinking lemon water with meals can help increase your iron intake and prevent deficiencies over time.
9. Lemon Water Supports Heart Health
The antioxidants and vitamin C in lemon water support heart health by reducing inflammation, blood pressure, and bad LDL cholesterol levels. One study found that lemon polyphenols suppressed LDL oxidation and elevated HDL cholesterol.
Research also shows that patients drinking lemon juice daily for 6 weeks significantly reduced blood pressure levels. The results suggest citrus flavonoids improve vascular function and reduce hypertension.
So drinking lemon water each day may help lower blood pressure and balance cholesterol for a healthier heart.
10. Lemon Water Helps Boost Mood and Energy
The scent of citrus alone can lift moods and reduce stress. But beyond aroma, lemon water also provides hydration and nutrients to help you feel more energized.
Dehydration causes fatigue, headaches, irritability, and poor concentration. Lemon water keeps you hydrated to sidestep these issues. It also provides instant energy from natural fruit sugars and sustained energy from the fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B-vitamins.
Starting your morning with a warm glass of lemon water can help you feel refreshed, motivated, and ready to take on the day with a positive mood.
How to Make Lemon Water
Now that you know the many potential ways lemon water benefits your health, let’s look at how to make this easy citrus drink at home:
- 1 lemon
- 8-12 oz cold water
Wash lemon thoroughly under running water to remove dirt and bacteria.
Slice the lemon and add the slices to your glass. You can also squeeze the juice directly into the water if preferred.
Add 8-12 oz of cold or room temperature water.
Muddle the lemon slices gently to release more flavor.
Let the lemon water infuse for 5-10 minutes at room temp.
Drink lemon water hot, cold, or at room temp based on your preference.
Consume within 12-24 hours for maximum freshness.
Consider adding mint, ginger, honey or fruit for extra flavor.
Drink first thing in the morning or before meals to aid digestion.
Rinse mouth after to prevent potential enamel erosion.
Tips for Drinking Lemon Water Daily
To reap all the potential digestive, immunity, weight loss and health benefits, aim to drink lemon water daily. Here are some tips:
Drink first thing in the morning before eating to stimulate digestion and detox.
Sip lemon water 30 minutes before meals to potentially curb appetite and aid weight loss.
Add lemon to a pitcher of water to sip throughout the day for hydration.
Drink after a workout to replenish electrolytes lost from sweating.
Consume before bed for a vitamin C boost before overnight fasting.
Drink with iron-rich plant foods like spinach to increase iron absorption.
Pair with meals to help break down nutrients for better digestion.
Infuse your water with lemon slices overnight in the fridge for refreshing cold lemon water all day long.
The Bottom Line
Lemon water is an easy, low-calorie drink packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and plant compounds that boast a variety of health benefits. From improving digestion and immunity to aiding weight loss and beyond, drinking lemon water daily can support your overall health and wellness in multiple ways.
Just add some fresh lemon juice or slices to cold water for a refreshing, flavorful beverage. Drink lemon water hot or cold, before meals, upon waking, or anytime you need a boost of hydration and nutrition.