29 Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water (Particularly in the Morning)
A glass of lemon water to start your day could keep the doctor away…
Why do I say that?
Because according to Hippocrates “All disease begin in the gut” and modern research has been conclusive that an unhealthy gut leads to a myriad of diseases like diabetes and obesity.
Drinking this in the morning helps your gut by stimulating the production of hydrochloric acid, a critical ingredient needed by our stomach to digest and expel waste because it is rich in vitamin C.
And guess what? There are 28 more benefits that I want to share with you.
As recently as a few years ago, I would start my day by drinking a cup of coffee to “wake myself up”.
It was a habit that lasted around 7 years until I replaced coffee with juice this year.
I did not know that too much caffeine can lead to an early death so I had to cut it off my regular diet.
I heard about the benefits of drinking lemon water in the morning through my wife’s friend who was also into juicing, she told us about how good it is for our digestive system so I decided to research on this and found out it had even more benefits so I thought it was proper to share this with you.
I have to admit, I still drink coffee but only on occasion when I’m with friends but it is nowhere near the amount I was drinking before which was about two large cups a day.
Anyway back to the topic…
Why Drink Lemon Water?
A lot of experts that includes doctors and nutritionists encourage people to drink lemon juice or use it as a sweetener in their green juices because it is rich in vitamin C that is known to neutralize free-radicals in our body.
It has an alkalizing effect which helps greatly in balancing our body’s pH levels (more on that below). In fact it was called an “Alkalizing Superstar” by experts because of this.
Overall, this little yellow fruit packs a lot of nutritional punch. It is rich in antioxidants that will neutralize free radicals from oxidizing cells and it stimulates our digestive system to flush out toxins from the body.
Here’s the nutrition you’ll get from 100 grams of lemon juice
|Vitamins||Amount / Serving|
|Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)||0.2mg|
Source: Nutrition Data
The biggest benefit in my book is the very low sugar levels, according to ThePaleoDiet, per 100 grams it only has 0.2 grams of fructose and 0.2 of glucose which makes this fruit suitable for almost anyone looking for a quick nutritional boost every morning. Plus it has virtually zero calories so you won’t gain any weight.
You could sweeten it up, naturally
The most straightforward recipe would be squeezing half-a-lemon on a glass of warm water but if you think this is too sour for your taste, sweeten it up a bit by adding a teaspoon or two of pure honey. You do this not only for added flavor but also to help you…
Pick up your energy level
If you’re drained by 2 in the afternoon, trying drinking lemon water with honey because it helps in boosting energy levels because both of these ingredients are natural energy boosters. This certainly beats drinking artificial energy drinks like Red Bull.
Treat sore throat
This combination works well together in threating sore throat. Lemon helps dissolve mucus and lemon acts as a lubricant that coats the backside of your throat providing some relief.
This is my personal home remedy, when I have cough I’ll mix in honey plus half a lemon in a mug of hot water and will feel relieved afterwards. According to the Mayo Clinic, honey contains dextromethorphan an ingredient found in over-the-counter cough medications that works well as a home remedy to suppress coughs and even sore throat.
Adding honey (or any type of sugar for that matter) to lemon water could turn it into an acidic concoction that could lower your body’s pH levels.
According to Ross Bridgeford, if your body’s pH levels go down, the red blood cells turn into mold, bacteria and yeast which in turn excrete acid waste.
In short, sugar, whether it be honey or processed sugar combined with citrus makes the body highly acidic – a breeding ground for a lot of ailments.
Should I drink it hot or cold?
As much as I’d like to drink it hot in the morning to wake up my senses, a lot of nutritionists and health experts say that you should only use lukewarm water because boiling water may kill the enzymes and cold water may disrupt the digestive benefits because your body will use more energy to absorb the nutrients as compared to lukewarm water.
The only time to drink it hot would be if you want to relieve constipation, nausea and heartburn.
To sum it all up here are 29 reasons why you should drink this magical drink
1. A Post-Workout Drink
If you are tired of spending a fortune on Gatorade, this recipe that includes lemon, lime, water, sea salt, and honey/natural sugar could be a good and more affordable alternative.
One thing people don’t realize when they workout is that their body becomes very acidic after an intense workout. Lemon is a great neutralizer of that high acidity inside your body. 
Update (Nov. 12, 2014): I just read in FoodBabe’s site that lemon is rich in electrolytes and an be used in combination with apple and celery to replace a store bought energy drink like Gatorade.
2. Alkalizes the Body
Nutritionists like Gareth Edwards say that has a great alkalizing effect on the body because “minerals in it disassociate to make it alkaline” as it gets absorbed by the body.
Here’s a video explaining this in detail.
Even though lemon is acidic by nature, when it enters the bloodstream, “the alkalizing salts override the presence of acids” during the metabolic processes that happens when it enters the bloodstream. 
3. Asthma Treatment
Lemon has been listed in countless home remedies lists as one of the best natural treatments for asthma that’s because it is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radicals which causes smooth muscle contraction and airway constriction, both symptoms of asthma. It also helps clear out mucus from air vessels. 
4. Balances Blood Sugar Levels
Lemon is rich in a compound called Bioflavonoids which gives this fruit its yellow color. This same compound also naturally stimulates the production of insulin in our body that in turn balances our blood sugar levels which can help people who have diabetes. 
5. Balances pH levels
When our pH level increases it means our body is becoming more acidic which makes it more prone to diseases such as high cholesterol and diabetes. A great way of balancing pH levels is drinking water infused with fresh lemon juice to alkalize the body and lowering acidity levels. 
6. Brain Food
This little yellow fruit is rich in potassium which is considered brain food. 
7. Caffeine Replacement
Lemon is a natural energy booster, even more so if you add honey to it. I’ve said earlier in this article that I was a chain coffee drinker who gulps down 2 large mugs a day and I’ve replaced it lemon water with no regrets whatsoever. 
If you’re haven’t heard about “The Master Cleanse”, this is basically a diet that consists of only drinking lemon water mixed with honey, cayenne pepper or maple syrup for an extended period of time.
This method may not work for everyone but I’d like to point out that this method takes advantage the citric acid present in lemon that will help flush toxins from the colon, gallbladder and liver that otherwise would be absorbed by the body.
A similar effect can be had by drinking this first thing in the morning before any meals. 
9. Dissolves Phlegm
Citric acid present in lemon will dissolve phlegm. In addition to that it is rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C and K that help fight off cough and colds.
The traditional concoction involves combining lemon with warm water and honey. Warm water in a way sooths irritation (at the same time is a decongestant) caused by cough. William Sears says that honey is a very effective at dissolving phlegm, more effective than cough syrups. 
10. Fights Cancer Cells
Remember about the compound Bioflavonoids I was talking about earlier, it turns out that this also works as an antioxidant that fights cell oxidation and free radical damage which are the main culprits of cancer. Theresa Chung who wrote “The Lemon Juice Diet” went as far as saying that it can help prevent cancer. It also contains pectin that according to Vijaya Kumar have been known to protect the intestines from cancer.
11. Heart Food
Potassium found in lemon is vital for the function of our heart, it does not treat any ailment but it helps in preventing heart related illnesses like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and irregular heartbeat.
12. Helps Hydrate Our Lymphatic System
According to Dr. John Douillard, the lymph system largest circulatory system in our body, twice as large as the arterial system, it is responsible for flushing out waste and toxins out of our system. Keeping it hydrated is important to our overall health.
Actually, water alone is enough to hydrate the lymph system but I added lemon here because it helps in alkalizing thus balancing acidity levels.
13. Helps Treat Constipation
This combo is great as a home remedy for constipation. Water helps lubricate the digestive system and soften stool. Citric acid found in lemon induces bowel movement that will flush out undigested waste from the colon. 
14. Helps Treat Scurvy
Scurvy for those who don’t know is a disease that is a direct result of vitamin C deficiency. Sailors are most prone to this disease because of their extended mission trips on sea that often outlast their produce supply. Lemon water is the treatment of choice for this ailment because it is rich in vitamin C. Water is great as masking the sharp flavor thus allowing them to drink this concoction in large amounts.
15. Improves Digestive Health
A cup of warm water before any meal in the morning will help break down waste and flush out to toxins from the gut. That’s because at a molecular level, lemon is similar to your saliva that encourages the liver to produce bile – a fluid needed by our intestines to dispose waste and toxins. 
16. Improves Eyesight
Being rich in vitamin C also has a positive effect on your eyesight as this will help prevent eye conditions like macular degeneration and cataract. 
It also contains a tiny bit of vitamin A (1% per 244 grams), another key nutrient for good vision.
17. Improves Our Immune System
Lemons is rich in nutrients like bioflavonoids, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, citric acid, folate and pectin that boost our body’s immune system and immobilize free radicals – the cause of most ailments.
18. Increases Metabolism and Promotes Weight Loss
It is a little known fact that drinking 8 glasses of water (8 ounces per glass) each day actually boosts your metabolism or how much your body burns calories by 30%. This is based on a study done by Michael Boschmann of the Franz Volhard Research Center. Lemon adds some flavor to water which will help you drink more plus it has pectin which suppresses appetite. 
Tip: Most of the pectin and dietary fiber is found in the white pity part under the skin, make sure to eat this as well.
19. Keeps Our Body Hydrated
If drinking pure water is a chore for you consider adding a few slices of lemon in there to add a bit of flavor and sharpness to it. It’ll help hydrate your body and replenish lost vitamin and minerals you lose when you get stressed. 
20. Kills Free Radicals
Per 100grams of lemon juice, you’ll get 77% of your daily vitamin C requirements which is known to neutralize free radicals in our body.
21. Kills Worms
Parasites like worms thrive in an acidic environment by drinking something bitter like lemon mixed in water helps in flushing them out.
22. Lowers High Blood Pressure
A citrus fruit, like lemon is rich in vitamin C that helps in thinning the blood, in addition to its antioxidant properties. Another mineral found in this fruit that helps lower blood pressure is potassium that flushes out excess sodium. 
23. Lowers Stress Levels
One thing that gets depleted when you’re stressed is vitamin C so the next time your stress levels go up, take a break and replenish that lost vitamin C with a cup of warm lemon water. 
24. Prevents Bad Breath
It helps two ways here. First by killing the bad-breath-causing bacteria in your mouth and second, by flushing away toxins in your liver that when overworked releases bad smelling substances to the bloodstream, lungs then out the mouth. 
25. Radiant Skin
Its antioxidant properties help you get more radiant skin from the inside out by repairing damaged cells, flushing out toxins and killing free radicals that can ruin our skin. 
26. Reduces Uric Acid and Inflammation
Lemon is rich in potassium and citrate that prevent the crystallization and buildup of uric acid inside the body which also causes swelling. Since it is a diuretic it will help flush out excess fluid from the body and that includes the uric acid thus reducing inflammation. 
27. Treats Kidney Stones (and Prevent It)
Dr. Hoffman said in this article that the citrate present in lemon help inhibit oxalate crystals from forming, one of the most common kidney stones. He recommends mixing 4 ounces of lemon juice to two liters of water to increase urinary citrate levels. Oh, avoid adding any sugar or honey for the maximum benefit.
28. UTI Prevention
My wife has had her battles with UTI and a recent bout with it left her weak and unable to work for almost a week. Her friend’s sister had it much worst, the UTI she had led to septic shock which almost took her life fortunately she was able to overcome it.
Studies have shown that lemon has antiseptic properties that prevent sepsis – a condition when left untreated may lead to septic shock.
If you have UTI, drink lots of water to flush out toxins and facilitate the healing process. Lemon juice is a natural antibiotic that kill the bacteria inside the bladder and urethra so adding this to water will help in naturally relieving the pain. 
29. Your Liver Will Love It
Vitamin C, which is abundant in lemon, is needed by our body to produce glutathione which is needed to detoxify the liver. Also its antiseptic properties stimulate the liver in flushing out uric acid and other impurities. 
- The best time to drink lemon water would be in the morning 15 to 30 minutes before having any type of meal because your body will be able to absorb more nutrients on an empty stomach.
- Avoid any type of bottled/concentrated lemon juice as these are already pasteurized and contain artificial sweeteners that we don’t want. Remember adding sugar to a citrus fruit raises the body’s pH level. Using fresh lemon is always the best.
- I’ve read some articles that go as far as saying to drink this even before brushing your teeth, I say that’s going overboard but it’s worth a shot
- Lifehack recommends that you use half a lemon if you weigh 150 pounds or less and a whole lemon if you weigh over 150 pounds
- You can use a straw to drink this since the acids found in lemon can eat away at the teeth’s protective enamel coating
- You could follow up with a glass of water to wash away those acids
Looking to add more lemon to your diet?
- You could squeeze lemon on meat, seafood or salad dishes to add a contrasting flavor to these dishes
- Add lemon zest on drinks or desserts
- It could be used as a base for cakes, cookies and other desserts
Don’t throw away the skin
Don’t throw away the skin as it is a rich source of nutrients like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin A and C, calcium, beta carotene and iron. It is known to be a great anti-cancer agent because it flushes away carcinogenic stuff from our body.
You could eat the skin but I’d prefer to grate it on your desserts, food or drinks. It will all boil down on your preference. Remember if you’re planning on eating the skin make sure that you are using organic, that way you don’t have to worry about pesticides going into your system.
Avoid eating the rind if you have kidney or gallbladder stones avoid eating the skin as it contains high amounts of oxalates that can crystalize and become stones.
How to prepare?
You can do what I do and squeeze it on a cup of warm water but that’s messy and you’ll need to exert some effort. To get more juice out of lemon that you could use on lemon water or as a part of juice recipes you can use a lemon squeezer or juicer.
Another way to prepare lemon water is chopping them off in slices and soaking them in a pitcher of water. This will help add to the flavor of water and help you drink more. Just make sure to wash it thoroughly and scrub the rind.
If possible, avoid using the microwave
I’d avoid using the microwave to heat this because of the radiation that could possibly kill the nutrients in this drink, if possible use a thermos and fill up 3/4’s of the cup with water (at room temp) and the other 1/4 with hot water, that should do the trick. If you need to use the microwave cover the cup with a small ceramic (not plastic) plate so it shields the drink from radiation
Can pregnant women drink this?
Dietitian Julie Redfern says that drinking lemon water can provide some relief from dizziness, headaches, endema, and cramps. The American Pregnancy Association says that even lemon scent helps provide relief to morning sickness. Only avoid this when you have allergies to citrus or if you have ulcer. Make sure to consult with your gynecologist before making any diet changes during pregnancy.
Finally, avoid lemon if
You have an ulcer or if you’re by chance allergic to it. It would be best to consult your physician before consuming lemon if you think you may have these conditions.
The Bottom Line: It Promotes Healing and Improve Our Health
This magical fruit from the rind all the way to its juices is a rich source of nutrients, antioxidants and enzymes that help flush out toxins, prevent diseases and promote healing in our bodies. You’ll notice that all the benefits listed maybe redundant but that’s I’m trying to point out – they are related to one another.
Adding this drink to your diet will do a great deal in balancing your body’s pH levels that prevents it from being too acidic. It’s in an acidic environment where bacteria, parasites and cancer cells thrive.
Remember to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to keep your body hydrated.
This post has been shared in Urban Naturale Blog Hop #44.