Myth Busted: Is Warm Lemon Water Really Good for You?
If you’ve ever had that annoying tickle in the back of your throat or a hoarse voice from a night of karaoke that got a little too intense, you probably know the tried and true method of warm water with a little honey and a squeeze of lemon. But what about regular old lemon juice? Health gurus around the internet have been praising a morning brew of warm lemon water, but why? Is it the healing nectar everyone says it is or is it just a myth?
Several health benefits have been attributed to warm lemon water, but how many of them are true? There isn’t conclusive evidence for a lot of the results, thus it’s hard to connect warm lemon water as causation for improvements in your health. Let’s break down some of the myths associated with this citrus concoction.
Detoxing is a bit of a buzz word these days. You might have heard someone say they went on a “detox diet” or maybe you’ve tried a digital detox to reduce stress and reconnect (if you haven’t done one lately, you totally should).
However, lemon water is not a detoxifier for your body. The liver, your main detoxifying organ, makes toxins less dangerous through biochemical processing inside the liver cells (1). If you want to “detox”, you need to implement diet and lifestyle changes that provide your liver with the time and energy to continuously remove toxins from your body. This can include anything from eating organic to trying a little yoga or adding vitamin supplements.
2. It makes your body more alkaline
Once again, the alkalization of your body is up to a few vital organs. While lifestyle and dietary changes can certainly allow these organs to function better, drinking lemon water does not inherently make your system more alkaline (3).
3. Increased metabolism
This is also a common myth, but a myth nonetheless. Warm lemon water won’t change your metabolism, that’s part of your genetic code. However, it does lead us to our first actual benefit of drinking this simple tea.
Will lemon water cure all of your ailments? Nope, but it’s also not a useless hack from the internet. Warm lemon water has vitamins and minerals that have true health benefits which might induce you to add a mug of this nectar into your morning routine.
1. Weight loss
That’s right. Although it doesn’t speed up your metabolism, warm lemon water has been connected to aiding weight loss. A study done with 30 female nursing students found that those who drank a mug of warm lemon water twice a day for three weeks lost up to 8 pounds. The inclusion of warm lemon water was the only difference between the two test groups, proving that it is effective in promoting weight loss. It’s not the only factor, but it might just be able to give you an extra boost.
Obviously, if you drink more water you will be more hydrated. No myth there. The butterfly effects of being well hydrated, however, make this a notable point. Drinking water helps your skin, your hair, your digestion, your liver, keeps you energized, and much much more.
For some people, adding a squeeze of lemon into their water makes them more inclined to stay hydrated as opposed to always having plain water.
This might also help to control your appetite which can contribute to weight loss as well. Starting your day with water is also a great habit to get into regardless.
PSA! Lemon juice is still acidic. Drinking too much can wear down the enamel on your teeth. The dash in your morning water shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s something to be aware of in the long run if you start adding lemon to all of your water bottles.
3. Immune boost
Lemons provide a great source of vitamin C, and a tablespoon of lemon juice in warm water in the morning gives you about 13% of your daily dose. Vitamin C can help alleviate stress and fight viral infections and sore throats as well.
There are also potassium and other vitamins to be found in lemons. These can help keep you healthy and provide a bit of the nutrient your body needs each morning.
4. Prevents kidney stones
This one sounds like it should be a myth, but the citric acid, specifically the citrate found in citric acid, helps break up small stones and prevent new ones.
Things we can’t prove
Some people claim warm lemon water is a mood balancer or that it boosts their energy. A lot of these benefits can actually be attributed to better hydration, so we can’t really verify or discredit them.
There is so little lemon juice in lemon water, that the minerals and vitamins within are only in trace amounts. For that reason, there aren’t many benefits that can be directly linked to this brew.
Maybe a little bit of magic
“But wait!” You say. “I’ve been drinking warm lemon water every morning for months now and I can tell you all the ways I feel better.” Ya know what I have to say to that?
Not all the benefits of warm lemon water are tested, verified, and backed by health professionals, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t benefiting from the habit. Starting your morning with a warm mug between your hands is calming, and the steady routine can be stress-reducing. Less stress can be beneficial for your body in so many ways, and there’s nothing to say the inclusion of warm lemon water into your day doesn’t have something to do with it. While I can’t recommend this simple drink as a solution to all of your troubles, I can say that a little warm lemon water never hurt anyone. So squeeze, stir, and enjoy.
Tips for making warm lemon water
Warm lemon water is pretty self-explanatory. Warm the water, add the lemon juice, bada bing bada boom. There are just a few things to keep in mind when you prepare your morning brew.
- Keep your water warm not boiling.
- Don’t add too much lemon juice. The juice from half of a fresh lemon or about one tablespoon per mug of water should be enough.
- Add a little honey or apple cider vinegar sometimes for a different taste profile and some added health benefits.
Written by Christiana Sinacola