Skim through a lifestyle magazine or peruse a health blog and you’ll likely find a common early morning drink that many people swear by—hot lemon water. Some celebrities say it’s the first thing they drink when they wake up and holistic experts tout it as a powerful health tool, but why? And is it worth incorporating into your daily routine?
What makes lemon water beneficial?
The benefits from this simple drink come from combining lemon juice and water together, two sources that are highly advantageous individually.
Water, after all, is the building block of the human body and assists in a slew of vital functions like helping to hydrate, flush waste, and deliver oxygen throughout the body. Lemon has a number of therapeutic properties that can aid in digestion, strengthening the immune system, and cleansing the body.
As much as we may cherish the wisdom that comes with our years, none of us like to notice any signs of aging, like wrinkles or dark spots.
And now there’s an amazingly simple way to reduce visible signs of aging while promoting healthy skin. And it doesn’t involve expensive beauty creams, harsh chemicals or potentially risky cosmetic procedures!
The nutritional makeup of lemons is impressive as the fruit contains vitamins C, B6, A, and E, and other elements including folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Of these, perhaps the strongest nutrient in lemons is Vitamin C—one lemon makes up about 51% of our daily vitamin C needs. As with many citrus fruits, lemon also has significant concentrations of citric acid.  Additionally, various flavonoid compounds (plant metabolites) are present in lemons, which have proven to be strong antioxidants with the potential to reduce oxidative stress.
The fruit also boasts other essential nutrients, but in insignificant amounts to warrant noticeable health results.
What are the specific benefits? Here are 5.
While many debate the extent of the drink’s beneficial effects and it’s subject to further study, the nutritional properties in hot lemon water suggest that it could aid in the following:
- Easier Digestion. Lemon juice can help flush out unwanted materials and its high citric acid content may help reduce indigestion in those that lack stomach acidity.
- Efficient Detoxifying. The bitterness of lemon activates bile flow which can help emulsify and remove fat soluble toxins. Thus, hot lemon water can assist in daily elimination of toxins and, according to some experts, act as a liver and gallbladder cleanser.
- Stronger Immune System. The high vitamin C content in lemons boosts the immune system—vitamin C has been found to maintain the integrity of cells and help reduce the outcome of respiratory tract infections.
- Clearer skin. As the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, vitamin C helps neutralize free radicals. Free radical damage is responsible for many symptoms of aging and the antioxidant properties in lemons can help offset this damage.
- Reduced anxiety. Lemon balm has long been considered a calming herb that can help combat stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Rather than using the squeeze from a fresh lemon, it is suggested that steeping dried lemon balm in hot water can also simulate calming effects.
Is it worth trying? YES! But
In short, there is no reason not to drink hot lemon water either in the morning or throughout the day. Its nutritional and hydrating benefits have the potential to give you a boost of energy and keep your immune system strong, along with a chance of clearer skin, more focus, and less stress—all things we can use more of in our busy lives! The drink doesn’t require a substantial investment of time or money and, at the very least, will help start your day on a more hydrated course than a typical cup of coffee.
If you do choose to embrace this trend, be aware that vitamin C concentration is affected by heat. In order to maximize the benefits of warm lemon water, be sure to keep the water under 158 degrees Fahrenheit, which will preserve roughly 90% of the lemon’s vitamin C content.
It should also be noted that consuming too much lemon water may speed up tooth erosion or trigger heartburn symptoms due to its high acidity. Experts suggest either drinking from a straw or alternating between lemon and regular water to avoid these issues.
Brittany DeLong is a health enthusiast and freelance writer and editor based in Sterling, Virginia. For the past eight years she has focused her writing on health, fitness, and lifestyle topics for various publications including The Health Journal, Posh Seven Magazine, and Washington Family Magazine. Brittany earned a master’s degree in electronic publishing from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from George Mason University. She is an avid hiker and most recently hiked to the summit of Huayna Picchu in Peru.