Simple changes can have a big impact on your well-being. We’re told we need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated—not to mention the million and one reasons why your body needs water to function. But plain water isn’t always enticing. One way to make your water more exciting is to add a squeeze of lemon or a few lemon slices. It may seem simple, but the hint of lemon can make you reach for your water bottle more often. Plus, the fresh lemon has a few potential added benefits for your health.
“Most of the benefits reported from drinking lemon water are not exclusive to lemon water, but in fact reveal the nutrition and health benefits of lemons,” says Kristen Carli, MS, RD, the founder of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness. “Mixing these two ingredients together does not result in some magic transformation, but it’s rather refreshing!”
It’s true—lemon water isn’t a magical concoction that will solve all your health woes, but it certainly has some perks worth mentioning. Here are six nutritious reasons to quench your thirst with lemon water.
Health Benefits of Lemon Water
Lemon water is a great way to drink enough fluids.
The most obvious health benefit of lemon water is that it’s a clever way to get yourself to drink water. About 60 percent of your body weight consists of water, so it’s no surprise that it’s involved in many bodily functions, some of which include regulating your body temperature, protecting your organs, and carrying nutrients to your cells. Without enough water, you run the risk of dehydration, which can have some serious side effects if taken to the extreme.
“If lemon water helps you drink more water, I am all for it,” says Maggie Moon, MS, RD, Los Angeles–based dietitian and author of The Mind Diet. “The brain is made up of mostly water, so starving it of water hits hard, resulting in dehydration symptoms as mild as fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating or as severe as confusion, inability to form sentences, collapse, and even death.”
How much water do you need? While every single body technically has a different fluid intake (dependent on unique factors such as age, sex, body mass, lifestyle, climate/environment, and activity levels). But having an informed, estimated guidepost is helpful: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends nine cups daily for women and 13 cups for men. The average U.S. adult currently drinks about 44 ounces of water per day (roughly 5.5 cups), per the CDC, so many of us could benefit from adding more fluids (hello, lemon water) into our daily routines. The good news is you can get fluids from both food and drinks.
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Lemon water is a good source of antioxidants.
If there’s one thing we associate citrus fruits with, it’s antioxidants. Since lemons are high in antioxidants, lemon water could be a tasty way to reap some of the benefits of an antioxidant-rich diet.
Antioxidants work by preventing cell damage, also known as oxidative stress. This cellular damage has been linked to a variety of diseases, but antioxidants can counteract oxidative stress, thereby preventing disease, per the National Institutes of Health.
“The more antioxidants, the better,” Carli says. “You really can’t get too many antioxidants in your diet, as they’re inversely associated with risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.”
Lemon water contains beneficial vitamin C.
“Lemon water provides vitamin C, and the body needs vitamin C everyday,” Moon says. It’s often associated with immune health, but it’s also essential for wound healing, iron absorption, and blocking free radical damage, notes the National Library of Medicine.
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Lemon water also provides potassium.
Vitamin C is a notable micronutrient found in lemons, but it’s not the only one. Though it's not necessarily the highest-potassium food you can heat, lemon definitely does provide some potassium, almost 32 mg per fluid ounce of lemon juice and almost 10 mg per tablespoon of zest. Potassium is an essential mineral (and electrolyte) with many important jobs. It's mainly known for its roles in nerve functioning and helping to regulate your blood pressure.
Lemon water has a healthy compound called citric acid.
Lemon juice is also famous for its citric acid content, a compound found in citrus fruits that’s linked to many health benefits. Studies have shown that consuming citric-acid-rich lemon can help improve blood pressure. It’s also been associated with helping to prevent kidney stones. In a small 2019 trial, subjects who drank two liters of lemonade per day had a decreased risk of developing kidney stones.
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Lemon water can help your body absorb more iron.
When you don’t get enough iron in your diet, you may be at risk of iron deficiency or anemia. It affects millions of people worldwide, and it’s more likely to affect women and children than men. Some people naturally have more difficulty absorbing iron, which is why Moon recommends combining iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C, such as lemon water. Vitamin C increases iron absorption in plant-based foods, per the National Institutes of Health.
The most readily available form of iron—heme iron, which is found in animal protein—may not need the boost from vitamin C. But vegans, vegetarians, and people who consume plant-based iron sources could find that a glass of lemon water alongside their meals could help with absorbing iron. Researchers have found that up to 30 percent of the heme iron in animal proteins is absorbed, while only 2 to 9 percent of non-heme iron is absorbed from plant-based sources. Beans, spinach, seeds, and quinoa are some examples of plant-based sources of non-heme iron. When you eat these foods, consider adding a squeeze of lemon for flavor or enjoying a glass of lemon water for the added benefit of improved iron absorption.
Lemon water can have anti-aging effects, inside and outside.
The benefits of vitamin C for your skin are well understood. In skin care, vitamin C is thought to stimulate collagen, fend off free radical damage, promote anti-aging, and hydrate skin cells. And drinking lemon water may have similar effects.
“In addition to working as an antioxidant in the body, the vitamin C in lemon juice could help create collagen,” Carli says. “Collagen production naturally declines as we age, which is all the more reason to help support your body's natural production of collagen by providing your body with plenty of vitamin C.” More research is needed, but there is some evidence that vitamin C increases collagen synthesis.
It could also have anti-aging benefits outside of the appearance of your skin, owing to its hydrating power. “A 2023 study in Lancet suggests that adults who stay well-hydrated are slowing down their biological clocks,” Moon explains. “The study shows they manage to slow down premature aging, they’re healthier, live longer, and are less burdened by chronic disease.” Staying hydrated with lemon water could mean living longer but also ensuring those years are more enjoyable with good health.
Lemon water is a healthier alternative to sugary beverages.
If you’re drinking lemon water, it means you’re not drinking something else. Water makes up just over half of nonalcoholic beverages consumed by adults in the United States, but the other half includes sweetened, fruit, and diet beverages, per the CDC. The CDC also notes that an estimated 63 percent of U.S. adults drink sugar-sweetened beverages daily.
“The biggest proponent for including more lemon water in your diet is as a way to replace the soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages in your diet,” Carli says. “Adding fruit like lemon to water is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a flavorful alternative to sugary drinks.”
While sugar can be enjoyed in moderation, replacing your sodas, sweet teas, and fruit drinks with lemon water could be a great way to lower your sugar intake while upping your consumption of water and antioxidants. Win-win!
How to Make Better Lemon Water
Making lemon water in your own kitchen is pretty much as straightforward as it sounds. Moon recommends the following tips for extra-delicious lemon water:
“Make the most of the lemon peel. Wash the lemon well and zest some lemon peel right into your water to release its aromatic oils,” she says. “Then cut a slice and squeeze some juice in, too.”
Does Sparkling Water Hydrate You?
Can Lemon Water Cause Dehydration? No, lemon water can not cause dehydration and is a good way to hydrate the body. One dehydration definition is body water loss without a proportional loss of sodium and potassium, and lemons are a reasonably good source of potassium with approximately 80 mg of potassium per lemon.Does lemon water really hydrate you? ›
Can Lemon Water Cause Dehydration? No, lemon water can not cause dehydration and is a good way to hydrate the body. One dehydration definition is body water loss without a proportional loss of sodium and potassium, and lemons are a reasonably good source of potassium with approximately 80 mg of potassium per lemon.What does drinking lemon water first thing in the morning do? ›
Lemon also happens to be a strong detox agent. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning will flush out all the toxins from your system. Lemon is also known to purify your blood, thus keeping your body free from many health disorders.What happens if you drink warm lemon water every morning for 7 days on empty stomach? ›
Lemon water boosts liver health and leads to production of bile juice, which is essential for a healthy digestion. Apart from that, the amalgamation of warm water and lemon helps in cleaning the system and the presence of Pectin, a soluble fiber in lemon helps in improving gut health.What are the results of drinking lemon water? ›
Drinking lemon water before meals may help promote and improve digestion. That's because the citric acid found in lemon juice has been shown to boost gastric acid secretion, a digestive fluid produced in the stomach that enables your body to break down and digest food.How much lemon water a day is good? ›
How much lemon water should you drink? Stephens recommends using the juice from two to three lemons (about four to six tablespoons) throughout the day, and drinking one or two glasses of lemon water with meals, and one glass in between meals. But don't necessarily add lemon to every glass of water you drink.Is lemon water good for your kidneys? ›
Lemons contain citrate, which helps prevent calcium from building up and forming stones in your kidneys. Interestingly, the benefit doesn't seem to be present in oranges, making lemon a unique tool in kidney stone prevention.How long does it take for lemon water to start working? ›
How long does it take to get the results? Results such as improvement in digestion and higher energy levels can be seen within one week of regular consumption of warm lemon water.What happens to your body when you drink lemon water before bed? ›
Hot lemon water may induce relaxation before bed, which could help with sleep. It can also help with general hydration. Lemon contains vitamin C, which is important for several bodily functions. Hot lemon water may provide other benefits, but there is a lack of evidence behind most health claims.Does lemon water detox your liver? ›
Many citrus fruits, including lemon, can be added to water to help stimulate and flush out the liver. To help improve liver function, enjoy 4-6 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed with water each day.
Gastrointestinal Issues and Ulcers
The acid in lemons can harm the stomach and intestinal linings, leading to ulcers. If you are already prone to ulcers, it's best to avoid drinking lemon water daily.
Drink it fairly quickly, and wait at least a half hour before eating to reap the most benefits.What is the best time to drink lemon water? ›
Lemon water is most effective if consumed first thing in the morning. It is recommended to add lemon juice to warm water because it helps extract vitamin C and polyphenols from the lemon and its peel.What are the 10 benefits of drinking lemon water? ›
- Reduces inflammation. ...
- Aids digestion. ...
- Helps you lose weight. ...
- Cleanses your system. ...
- Keeps your skin blemish-free. ...
- Gives your immune system a boost. ...
- Excellent source of potassium. ...
- Freshens your breath.
Lemon drink contains traces of several minerals that may be beneficial in lowering blood pressure. Calcium and potassium both can lower blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension. A study suggests that lemon water can help bring the number to the normal range immediately.How much lemon should I put in my water? ›
How much lemon should you put in your water? 1 lemon to 8 cups water. This recipe makes for 8 cups of water at a time, perfect for parties or for storing in the refrigerator and sipping on all day long.Does lemon water reduce belly fat? ›
Lemon water can promote fullness, support hydration, boost metabolism, and increase weight loss. However, lemon water is no better than regular water when it comes to losing fat.Should lemon water be hot or cold? ›
Drinking it ice cold may hinder the digestive benefits of the lemon water. And it makes your body spend more energy trying to heat it up. But lemon water at warm or room temperature provides you with the most health benefits. It allows the enzymatic and energetic properties of the lemon their full flow.Does lemon burn fat in the tummy? ›
The answer to this is easy: No. Lemons do not have special fat-burning qualities, explains Czerwony.What organs does lemon water help? ›
GOOD FOR YOUR ORGANS
Some studies have shown that lemon water can help stimulate proper stomach acid production and bile production, which is beneficial to your liver and lymph system.
Beets and their juices contain Betaine which increases urine acidity, prevents build-up of struvite and calcium phosphate and reduces the chances of kidney stone formation. Other effective cleansing agents are coconut water, cucumber juice and cherries.What is the fastest way to flush your kidneys? ›
- Drink more water. Drinking enough fluid every day is essential to a person's overall health. ...
- Reduce sodium intake. ...
- Make dietary changes.
One of the best times to drink warm water is when you get up in the morning. This helps to kick-start your metabolism, so it functions at optimal levels throughout the day. It's also a good idea to drink warm liquids with your meals as this helps to keep everything fluid and protects your internal organs.How long does it take for lemon water to reduce belly fat? ›
Health experts say that you could get rid of belly fat by drinking lemon juice for 7 days. You can have this in the morning, on an empty stomach, at least 20 minutes before breakfast. Here is how to very easily prepare this special lemon juice.How long is the lemon water detox? ›
The cleanse is usually done over a 10 day period where you abstain from consuming anything but water and the “lemonade”. During the cleanse, you should drink 6-12 glasses of the “lemonade” daily or whenever you feel hunger while abstaining from any other foods.Does lemon water lower cholesterol? ›
Thanks to their naturally high vitamin C levels, lemons are also beneficial in helping to lower blood cholesterol levels. Mixing the juice of two to three lemons in water each day can be enough to lower your low-density lipoprotein (also known as 'bad' cholesterol) and lower the risk of heart disease.Do lemons detox your body? ›
The idea that a lemon water detox can “cleanse” your body is false, Dubost said. The body removes toxins through its gastrointestinal tract. For that, it needs fiber. Lemon water doesn't contain the fiber necessary for the body to “self-cleanse.”Is it better to drink lemon water before or after a Meal? ›
Yes, it's ok to drink lemon water after meal, but not immediately after you have finished your meal. You should wait at least one hour to drink it. However, the best time to drink lemon water is when you just wake up in the morning on an empty stomach about 30 minutes before having breakfast.Does lemon water repair fatty liver? ›
Citrusy lemon packed with a powerhouse of vitamin C, potent antioxidants avert free radicals from damaging liver cells and improve liver health. Aside from this, the natural hepatoprotective traits of lemon exhibit a positive impact on the alcoholic-induced fatty liver by bringing down the lipid profile levels.Is lemon water good for your bladder? ›
"Drinking lemon water can be a healthy habit that encourages optimal bladder health by providing much-needed hydration to the body—and that's enough of a reason to drink it in the day," she says.
Lemons are rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, which help in the production of glutathione. This enzyme works to neutralize toxins in the liver. Just squeeze one lemon into water and drink 2 to 3 times a day. Do NOT just buy lemonade in the store.Does lemon water interact with medications? ›
Do not ever drink grapefruit, orange, lemon juice along with medications as they are rich in flavonoid compounds that can affect metabolism and can in turn normal dose of a drug into a toxic overdose. Juices may also prevent drugs from getting absorbed into the blood completely.Why should I stop drinking lemon water 6 reasons? ›
The phenolic compounds and nutrients present in lemon water may boost liver function and immunity and reduce body inflammation. However, excess intake of lemon water may cause side effects like tooth decay, sunburns, canker sores, heartburn or acid reflux, migraine, and frequent urination.When should you not use a lemon? ›
How do you know when a lemon is bad? Lemons that have gone bad will feel soft and squishy. They may have a slimy outer skin instead of a bright yellow rind. Lemons that have gone bad may also appear shriveled and wrinkled or have a powdered and dusty surface that's gray, blue, or green in color.Should I brush after drinking lemon water? ›
Do not brush your teeth straight after drinking lemon water. You should allow your teeth to re-mineralize for 1hour before brushing. Brushing your teeth whilst under an acid attack will erode teeth even faster due to chemical wear from the acid softening the enamel, in conjunction with mechanical wear from brushing.What should I eat after lemon water? ›
Drink the juice of one lemon in one cup of warm water first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach). 2. Make sure to wait 30 minutes before eating breakfast, as this will ensure your body gets the most energy and nutrients from the food you eat.How long does a glass of water stay in your stomach? ›
How long does it take water to digest? Liquids leave the stomach faster because there is less to break down: Plain water: 10 to 20 minutes. Simple liquids (clear juices, tea, sodas): 20 to 40 minutes.What happens when we drink lemon water after dinner? ›
If you are one of those who often suffer from the problem of constipation, bloating or heartburn taking a glass of lemon water after a meal can help you get rid of all these problems. Drinking warm water may also boost your metabolism and help you burn some kilos.
Salt or sodium
Salt, or specifically the sodium in salt, is a major contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease. This is because of how it affects fluid balance in the blood. Table salt is around 40 percent sodium. Some amount of salt is important for health, but it's easy to eat too much.
The top drinks for lowering blood pressure include water, fruit juices (pomegranate, prune, cranberry, cherry), vegetable juice (tomato, raw beet), tea (black, green), and skim milk.
Normal: Less than 120/80. Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80. High blood pressure (hypertension) Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89. High blood pressure Stage 2: Systolic 140 or higher or diastolic 90 or higher.Is it OK to put bottled lemon juice in water? ›
Fill a 12-15 ounce mug filled with warm (but not boiling) water and add the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Always use a fresh lemon; never use bottled lemon juice. Organic lemons are best if you have access to them. If not, wash your lemon well before cutting into it.How long should lemon be in water? ›
Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours to allow the lemons to infuse. Stir well and strain, discarding the lemons. For serving, add fresh lemon slices for garnish and plenty of ice. The infused water will keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.Does lemon water help with inflammation? ›
Lemon water has several health benefits thanks to its high vitamin C concentration, flavonoid content, and acidity. Both flavonoids and vitamin C are strong antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects, therefore they may protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation in the body.Is it OK to drink lemon water all day everyday? ›
Consuming large amounts of lemon water daily can damage the stomach. Due to its acidity, it can cause heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. One of the downsides of drinking lemon water daily is that it can trigger the development of ulcers. The acid in lemons can harm the stomach and intestinal linings, leading to ulcers.Does lemon water replace electrolytes? ›
Yes, lemon water naturally contains more electrolytes. Usually, they are a good source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.Is it better to drink lemon water at night or morning? ›
Lemon water is most effective if consumed first thing in the morning. It is recommended to add lemon juice to warm water because it helps extract vitamin C and polyphenols from the lemon and its peel.Is lemon water good for arthritis? ›
Lemon water may help reduce some symptoms of arthritis when consumed alongside your normal medicine routine. Promoting collagen synthesis and tendon repair.What are signs of low electrolytes? ›
- Brain swelling.
- A fast or abnormal heart rate.
- Nausea and vomiting.