Lemon Water: Benefits to the Body and Potential Side Effects


Lemon water has gained popularity in recent times, with many individuals drinking lemon water in the morning when they wake up instead of tea or coffee. Many prefer drinking on an empty stomach to gain its full benefits. There are several science-based proven benefits for lemon and lemon water to your body and general health. Lemon is known to have many important plant compounds such as fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients that promote good health. Lemon water is the lemon juice squeezed in water with lemon juice varying depending on a person’s preference. Lemon water can be taken hot or cold, and some individuals can add a mint leaf, turmeric, honey, or lemon rind to the water for added flavor and nutrients.

Benefits of Lemon Water to Your Body

It is packed with vital nutrients

Lemons and lemon waters are excellent sources of antioxidants and vitamin C. It is estimated that one lemon squeeze contributes to 21% of a person’s daily needs of these minerals. Since it is a citrus fruit, it is rich in flavonoids, contributing to improved health and fighting diseases. Lemons also have some nutrients in small quantities, such as fat, protein, carbohydrates, and sugar. Additionally, it contains some minerals such as folate, potassium, and vitamin B. Lemon water has low sugar, few calories, and provides an array of health benefits.

It is good for hydration

It is recommended that women take 91 ounces of water per day while men take 125 ounces daily. However, taking plain water can be challenging for many people. Lemon squeeze in the water enhances its palatability, making drinking water for hydration enjoyable.

It contributes to weight loss

A study on mice showed that polyphenol antioxidants available in lemons contributed to weight reduction in overfed mice. The antioxidant compound helps neutralize blood sugar levels and enhanced insulin resistance which are the main causes of type 2 diabetes. The evidence from these researches demonstrates that lemon water can result in weight loss in humans. The weight loss could be attributed to drinking water and feeling full, thus eating less or increased metabolism. Research has not established the lemon water-weight loss relation yet.

It enhances skin quality

Lemon has abundant vitamin C, which can help reduce dry skin, skin wrinkling, and sun damage. A study conducted in mice in 2016 demonstrated that citrus-based drinks such as lemon water prevented wrinkles development in hairless mice. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can act as a brightening agent to your skin. Every morning, taking lemon water can balance the body into an alkaline state, thus reducing inflammation in the skin. The production of collagen protein which reduces the signs of aging and radiant skin, is facilitated by vitamins, and lemon water can provide plenty of those.

It improves digestion

Some people drink hot or lemon water every morning to prevent constipation and to get the digestive system on the go. Lemon juice has been used in ayurvedic treatment to stimulate “Agni,” which is believed to jump-start one’s digestive system. Lemon water can also enhance the absorption of aluminum hydroxide contained in the regular antiacids for acid reflux. It also eliminates toxins in the GI tract, thus relieving the pain associated with indigestion and constipation. It can also help in digesting food more efficiently, allowing the body to absorb nutrients efficiently.

It creates fresh breath

Consuming foods with a strong smell such as garlic, fish, or onion can result in an unpleasant breath. Drinking a glass of lemon water when you wake up after meals can help eradicate the bad smell. It is also believed to facilitate saliva production, preventing dry mouth and bacteria that could cause bad breath.

Helpful in preventing kidney stones

Citrate, a citric acid component in lemons, can paradoxically make one’s urine less acidic and break down small stones. The water can also prevent and flush out any kidney stones developing in the body.

Making Lemon water

Since lemon water has established benefits, it is important to form drinking it every day. You will need more than one lemon wedge in your mug. Use eight ounces of warm or cold water to make lemon water, then squeeze half a lemon in it. Ensure your lemon is properly washed.  You can add more flavors to make it sweeter and easier to drink, such as raw honey, a slice of ginger, springs of mint, cinnamon stick, or a sprinkle of turmeric powder.

Additionally, you can incorporate slices of fresh citrus fruits like oranges, limes, and cucumber. You can also choose to add lemon ice cubes into the water to form lemon water. The lemon ice cubes are acquired by squeezing fresh lemon juice into a tray and freezing it. You can use lemon water as a drink to improve your hydration throughout the day.

Side Effects of Lemon Water

For many people, lemon water is a safe, healthy drink; however, there are a few cases in which lemon water can have potential side effects. Because it is rich in citric acid, taking concentrated lemon water can result in tooth enamel erosion. Therefore, one can choose to use a straw for drinking and then rinsing the mouth with plain water after completion. It causes heartburn in some people, though others with heartburn experience relief from heartburn on taking lime water. Some people say that drinking lemon water increases their urination frequency, though there is no scientific evidence to suggest that natural vitamin C from lemon water is diuretic.

The Bottom Line

Studies suggest that lemon water has several health benefits. Drinking lemon water leads to more water intake keeping one hydrated throughout the day. The availability of vitamin C and antioxidants makes lemon water nutritious and healthy. It is also believed to help in weight loss and fighting diseases. The compounds found in lemon can improve skin health in addition to the water enhancing skin hydration. Taking lemon water is indeed worth incorporating into your daily routine for better health.

MS, Lund University, Sweden

Nutrition plays an important role in human life. Eating habits are one of the factors that affect our health. There is often a misconception among people that nutritionists force a very restrictive diet, but that is not true. In fact, I don't ban any products, but I point out dietary mistakes and help change them by giving tips and new recipes that I've tried myself. I advise my patients not to resist change and to be purposeful. Only with willpower and determination can a good result be achieved in any area of life, including changing eating habits. When I don't work, I love to go climbing. On a Friday evening, you are most likely to find me on my couch, cuddling with my dog and watching some Netflix.

Latest from Health


A bullet journal is a kind of advanced diary or notebook with organized sections to record