Most of us are constantly looking for new ways to improve our health routine. One way that is so simple, yet underrated, is drinking warm lemon water.
While lemon water might not be the sexiest trend around, science has proved that there are many health benefits packed into this simple drink.
And best of all, we all can easily afford it. With a cost of about 25 cents, lemon water has an impressive benefit-to-cost ratio compared to other health drinks that could cost upwards of $8.
These key nutrients play specific roles that can significantly increase your health and longevity in a number of ways.
Lemon water is packed with many essential nutritional compounds like vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and citric acid (1).
1. Aids Digestion
There’s no denying that digestive aids are on the rise (2). From kombucha to probiotics, the demand is at an all-time high for natural remedies to treat digestive issues.
Surprisingly, most people do not know that lemons are natural laxatives–don’t worry it’s not like drinking prune juice or taking Exlax.
Lemons contain an organic compound called citric acid that stimulates the colon to remove waste from the body (3).
Lemons contain a very high concentration of citric acid compared to most citrus fruits and have thus been proven to be an excellent aid to digestion (4). So instead of costly digestive drinks, drinking some lemon water each morning can give your digestive system the kick start it needs.
2. Makes Your Skin Glow
While the holy grail to completely cure acne and wrinkles has yet to be discovered, lemon water is shown to help alleviate both symptoms.
You see, lemons are rich in vitamin c, which is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant.
Vitamin C and the other natural antioxidants in lemons help attack free radicals in our bodies.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that form in our body from food, medicine, water, and even the air we breathe.
The bad news is free radicals can cause significant harm to our bodies. In fact, free radicals are associated with a long list of diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. They are also one of the main causes of physical aging because they attack healthy cells.
So those wrinkles that you see in the mirror are caused by free radicals.
Luckily, lemon water helps protect skin against free radical damage (oxidation). As a result, lemon water can help maintain a healthy complexion (4).
The vitamin C found in lemons also increases collagen production (5). Collagen helps plump and tighten the skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
3. Boosts Immune System to Fight Common Colds
When you want to boost your immune system with vitamin C to fight off illness, what’s the first fruit that comes to mind?
Most people think of oranges.
There are, however, plenty of other fruits that contain high amounts of vitamin C. And lemons are one of them.
Lemons contain almost as much vitamin C as oranges and have plenty of other natural compounds like bioflavoniods, potassium, and antioxidants.
These compounds will give your immune system the boost it needs to fight off illnesses like the common cold (6). Drinking warm water with lemon also helps the body absorb these vitamins, which increases the immune-boosting effects.
But there’s a catch.
Vitamin C only helps fight illness if you’re regularly consuming it before you get sick. That’s why it’s best to drink lemon water every morning. Not only will it decrease your chances of getting sick, but it can significantly reduce the duration of olds when you do catch one (7).
4. Freshens Your Breath
Skip the breath mint, and grab a lemon instead!
While it may come as a surprise, lemons are great at naturally freshening your breath.
The citric acid found in lemons has antibacterial properties that kill bacteria that cause bad breath.
Interestingly, saliva also helps destroy bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath (8). For instance, that infamous morning breath is caused by the lack of saliva in your mouth while sleeping.
When you wake up and drink lemon water, the tang of lemons stimulates saliva production. This is why drinking lemon water in the morning is a great way to freshen your breath.
Just be careful to not let lemon sit on your teeth too long because the acidity can lead to tooth decay. Also, don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking lemon water.
5. Stay Hydrated
Water is the most important nutrient the body needs.
While there’s been some debate over how much water a person needs to drink per day, we all can agree that drinking water is important.
Adding some lemon improves the taste of water which is really helpful for those who don’t enjoy drinking plain water. Plus, getting into the habit of drinking lemon water every day will help you reach your body’s daily water needs.
Which is helpful considering most of us don’t drink anywhere near enough water.
6. Speeds Up Workout Recovery
Lemon water is a fantastic post-workout drink.
Not only does lemon water help you hydrate after exercise, it also helps with recovery thanks to the powerful antioxidants in lemons.
As you workout, lactic acid builds up in your muscles and causes a burning sensation.
The more in shape you are, the less burning sensation there is because there’s a higher number of blood vessels in the bloodstream that help break down the lactic acid. (9).
Lemon water is a great to drink after a workout because it breaks down lactic acid which allows for you to train longer, get stronger, and recover faster.
Also, most sport drinks are high in calories and sugar. Lemon water is a great alternative because it has next to zero sugar.
7. Keeps Your Heart Healthy
As we have already discussed, lemons are packed with vitamin c.
Among it’s many other benefits, vitamin C is shown to be a key nutrient in keeping your heart healthy.
In fact, people who have low levels of vitamin c are more prone to heart attacks, stroke, or peripheral artery disease (7).
While drinking lemon water because of its vitamin C content will not solely protect you against a heart attack, it does help protect your arteries against damage. Healthy arteries equals a healthy heart.
8. Enhances Your Mood
Doesn’t starting your morning with a warm cup of lemon water sound relaxing?
Mornings set the mood for the rest of the day and starting your’s off with warm lemon water helps calm the body and mind.
This sets the standard and enhances your mood for the rest of the day.
It has also been proven that simply smelling lemon can help increase your mood. Aromatherapists uses lemon extract as a naturally calming and clarifying scent. (10).
9. Weight Loss
Lemon water is not a miracle weight loss drug, but it can definitely aid in your weight loss journey.
A glass of warm lemon water in the morning helps you feel full longer and eat less later. It’s also a healthy substitute for other sugary drinks or coffee.
Lemon water also boosts your metabolism and burns extra calories. Based off a study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, one cup of warm water can increase your body’s internal temperature and metabolism (11).
While it may not be as effective as burning 500 calories on the treadmill, lemon water can help reduce your calorie intake and boost your metabolism throughout the day.
10. Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones
The prevalence of kidney stones is increasing globally and if you are prone to them, lemon water is a great tactic to prevent new ones from forming.
Citric acid is shown to be a great aid against kidney stones (12). When ingested, citric acid is broken down and carried out of the body through urine. While in the urine, citric acid coats small kidney stones and prevents them from collecting other material and turning into larger stones.
So the more citric acid in urine, the less likely kidney stones will form (13).
How to Make Lemon Water
Now that you understand the importance of drinking lemon water, it’s time to show you how.
When: It can be drank anytime throughout the day, but it is best to drink lemon water first thing in the morning. This allows your body to absorb all the nutrients and use them throughout the day.
How: Only two ingredients are needed: water and organic lemons.
Option A: using whole lemons
Step 1: heat about 8oz of water to a low simmer.
Step 2: slice one whole, cleaned lemon.
Step 3: place the lemons and hot water into a cup.
Step 4: Brew for about 3 minutes.
Step 5: leave the lemons in the cup and drink. Use a straw if you want to prevent the acid from slowly degrading your tooth enamel.
Option B: using lemon essential oil
Another option is to buy consumable lemon essential oil on Amazon. The benefits to buying essential oil instead of whole lemons are
- Longer shelf life than whole lemons.
- Easily bought online and shipped to your house.
- Saves you time from not having to cut lemons each morning.
- Can be easily brought with you to make lemon water on the go.
- See more about the benefits of lemon essential oil
Step 1: heat about 8oz of water to a low simmer.
Step 2: transfer water to cup and add about 3-5 drops of lemon essential oil.
Step 3: stir and drink.
The Bottom Line
There’s more to lemon than meets the eye.
Lemon water is full of enriching nutrients that can help start your day on the right track. Instead of spending a fortune on health drinks with 20+ ingredients that you can’t pronounce, stick to just two: lemons and water.
No matter how you cut it, lemon water is a simple and inexpensive way to improve your day and overall health.