If you usually reach for a cool soda or beer on a hot summer’s day, then you’re certainly not alone. But perhaps you should be switching your choice of beverage to lemon water – something that millions are thought to sip every day. Why? Well, although it’s an acquired taste, lemon water is becoming increasingly popular across the planet – and that’s perhaps because of the surprising impact it has on the body if you drink it for a week straight.
As its name suggests, lemon water is a very simple combination of just two basic and easily attainable ingredients, and making it is as easy as pie. Simply pour a glass of clean, safe-to-drink H2O – tap water in most developed countries is fine – and then carefully squeeze about half the juice from the yellow-colored fruit into the liquid.
And as well as being easy to make, the drink is also relatively cheap – particularly if you live in a warm enough climate to grow and maintain your own lemon tree. That’s likely at least part of the reason why it’s such a popular thirst-quencher in Asia. But the effects of the sour concoction may account for its increasing ubiquity, too.
Yes, as we previously mentioned, drinking lemon water can have quite the dramatic impact on the human body. And while some of these changes are more or less immediate, others are reported to take hold after only a week of consuming the beverage several times a day.
So, what exactly does lemon water do to us? And what happens if you go the distance and incorporate this drink into your life for at least seven days? Well, content marketing guru Bill Widmer has revealed some of the things you can expect if you choose to take on the lemon water challenge.
In a piece for the website Lifehack, Widmer picked out some problems that the juicy concoction is alleged to flush away. And, apparently, one of these issues is tiredness. The expert wrote, “If reaching for a cup of coffee every few hours is becoming your norm, you should really consider drinking lemon water for a week to cleanse your system.”
Widmer even suggests forgoing your joe altogether, adding, “While the first two days are going to be a little tough due to caffeine withdrawal, by the end of the week you should start feeling a lot better than you have in a while. Stop reaching for your coffee mug and start squeezing lemons to get more energy in your day.”
The second thing Widmer covered was getting sick. He noted, “If a runny nose and constant cough occur every other week for you, lemon water can help! The natural vitamin C in lemons will help your immune system fight off viruses and bacteria. Drinking more water will also help cleanse your system and remove bad toxins from your bloodstream.”
And according to the marketing specialist, lemon water may even help you stick to that diet. “Thanks to lemon acid and pectin, infusing your water with this fruit will help your stomach feel fuller for longer periods of time,” he explained. “Pectin is a natural chemical found in many [types of] produce, so feel free to combine lemon with some water to give your stomach a little more substance to digest. You can have lemon water before any meal to keep you from feeling overly hungry.”
Even if you’re eating in moderation, though, you may still experience tummy troubles. Fortunately, lemon water can help those, too – or so Widmer has claimed, anyway. He explained, “Drinking lemon water for a week can cleanse your system of toxins and other harmful bacteria, and [it] also has a similar molecular structure to your stomach’s digestive juices. Lemon water will trick your liver into creating bile, which helps move food throughout your digestive tract. This is why any indigestion, bloating or gas is alleviated with the consistent consumption of this drink.”
The next item on Widmer’s list was the bane of many a teenager’s life: acne. He revealed, “Lemon produces antioxidants [that help] prevent your skin from breaking out. Additionally, lemon helps your body produce collagen, which is known to smooth out wrinkles in the skin and promote skin elasticity. Drink lemon water for a week, and you’ll see some major changes in your face!”
And if you want to get in shape, lemon water may be the key. How? Well, Widmer has clarified this, too, writing, “The acidic nature of lemon juice combined with the juice’s negative[ly] charged ions give your body a boost in energy. This energy boost means your metabolism will kick into higher gear. In addition to [giving you] a faster metabolism, the pectin will keep you fuller for longer periods of time – again helping you kick those detrimental eating habits.”
Finally, Widmer argued that lemon water helped with psychological issues – including mood swings. He expounded, “Lemon consumption has been found to reduce stress levels and improve moods. If you drink lemon water for a week, your improved energy levels will combine with the natural stress relief properties of lemon juice and result in optimum and controlled mood levels.”
So, if you’ve previously been on the fence about lemon water, those many supposed benefits may just encourage you to make the leap. But we shouldn’t just take Widmer’s word for it, as other folks have been doing some investigating of their own into the effects of the fruity beverage.
Nicole Yi knows better than many about this, too, as she once consumed lemon water for seven days straight. And in 2018 Popsugar’s former associate editor for fitness penned a piece for the site revealing what exactly she had experienced during her week-long experiment.
Yi began her article by writing, “With perks [such as] digestion aid, weight loss and kidney-stone prevention, lemon water sounds like a miracle elixir. So, when I found out that the benefits of lemon water actually weren’t all hype, I knew I had to put it to the test myself.”
Yi continued, “For one whole week, I added half a lemon sliced – any less won’t yield enough vitamin C – to my water and drank it from morning till night, refilling as needed throughout the day.” And while the journalist “didn’t wake up each morning with glowing skin and a flat belly as [she had] expected,” she did notice one unanticipated benefit.
Specifically, Yi observed, “During the week of my experiment, I was surprised to see how much more water I was drinking each day. Most of the time, my problem with plain old water is that it’s too boring to drink. But lemon added enough flavor to make things interesting, encouraging me to reach for my infused glass more and more.”
Yi found that her H2O intake close to doubled, in fact, going from around 20 to 32 ounces per day over the length of the challenge. However, she went on, “This little experiment also came with an unexpected side effect: I began to feel slightly nauseous in the mornings when I drank the lemon water on an empty stomach.”
Yi continued in her Popsugar column, “I don’t typically eat breakfast — mostly due to force of habit, not because of intermittent fasting — and I refused to give up my cup of coffee for this experiment. That plus lemon water on an empty stomach until lunch was a recipe for stomach irritation. This might be due to the acidity of the coffee and the alkalizing effect of the lemon, but I can’t be sure. While it wasn’t enough to keep me from continuing, I’d definitely line my tummy with some food before trying this again.”
Summarizing her experiment, Yi concluded, “I don’t recommend drinking lemon water all day, every day for an extended period of time for the sake of preserving your teeth enamel. But if you’re seeking an easy way to reset healthy habits, try starting your morning off with a warm glass of lemon water to replenish your body and give yourself a boost of vitamin C. And if you’re just as bad as hydrating, it may be worth infusing your water with different fruits to see if it makes a difference like it did for me.”
Freelance writer Gianluca Russo similarly took on the lemon water challenge, drinking a glass of the stuff every morning for a week after rising out of bed. He also noted his newfound habit’s apparent effects in a 2019 article for the website Insider. And it seems that Russo had only positive things to report.
Russo explained how the regimen had improved his skin, writing, “First off, upon the completion of my one-week lemon water challenge, I noticed my skin was almost flawless, [with] no breakouts, no excess oils [and] no new blemishes. I also found that, to the touch, my skin was much softer and appeared to be much brighter. Essentially, the lemon juice created a natural highlight on my face.”
Russo continued, “I also found that the lemon water helped with my breath. Having been cursed with bad breath, mornings have always been a particularly difficult time for me. However, I soon found that the lemon water improved this, [as] the fruit’s citric acid helps to break down and fight bacteria in the mouth.”
After the writer had completed his seven-day routine, though, his acne reportedly began to return – suggesting that maybe the lemon water had made a difference. Furthermore, he noted, “At the end of the week, I also found I was much less bloated. Lemons are a natural diuretic and help the body let go of any extra salt it’s hanging on to. In turn, this decreases bloating.”
And while Russo didn’t manage to spot any more immediately discernible health benefits, he did suggest that drinking water may have boosted his immune system, as he hadn’t felt ill during the experiment. That said, he admitted, “I found each day that I became thirsty faster in the mornings. I also found that if I didn’t quench this thirst, a weird aftertaste was left in my mouth.”
But while such anecdotal evidence is all well and good, what do the experts say about the pros and cons of lemon water? Well, Jo Lewin is a registered nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition in England, meaning the subject is well in her wheelhouse. And she has given her thoughts on the matter in a piece written for BBC Good Food’s website.
Before analyzing the many claims that have been made about lemon water, however, Lewin outlined the basic facts about lemons themselves. She wrote, “Lemons and other citrus fruits are well known for their colorful pitted skins and tart, refreshing taste. Lemons contain citric acid and have a high vitamin C content.”
But consuming lemons for health reasons is not a new practice, as Lewin pointed out. She went on, “Lemons have been used for centuries and have been highly regarded in the past for treating scurvy – a now rare condition that can develop through lack of vitamin C. Vitamin C is often claimed to support the immune system; however, studies have been inconclusive.”
So, does getting a regular supply of vitamin C through lemon water prevent you from contracting a cold? Well, while Lewin cited a study that suggested this isn’t the case, this investigation nevertheless found that the vitamin “may shorten the duration of symptoms [as well as halve] the common cold risk in people exposed to short periods of extreme physical stress – for example, marathon runners.” Lewin added, “Lemons also contain protective antioxidants called flavonoids.”
The nutritionist also took a look at the supposed benefits of lemon water that have been touted by writers such as Widmer. “Headlines have linked drinking lemon water to many other health claims, including weight loss, improved digestion, ‘alkalizing’ effects on the body, improved skin and detoxification,” she wrote. Nonetheless, Lewin went on, “The research, especially human studies, to support these health claims is minimal.”
It’s not all bad news for those convinced of lemon water’s advantages for health, though. As Lewin attested, “Some evidence has linked vitamin C and flavonoids to improvements in skin. Vitamin C is known to help the body produce collagen, which contributes to the integrity of skin.”
And although it contains naturally occurring sugars from the fruit, lemon water is viewed by Lewin as a good bet for quenching both thirst and hunger. She wrote, “It’s possible to mistake thirst for hunger, so if you have been advised to lose weight, try having a glass of lemon water first when you feel hungry to see if you’re really just thirsty. If you usually opt for fizzy or sugary drinks, lemon water would be a lower-calorie and lower-sugar alternative.”
Naturally, then, as lemon water is predominantly made up of H2O, it is also excellent for hydration. Lewin stated, “Dehydration is common and can present with headaches, dizziness and tiredness. It’s important to make sure that you consume enough fluid while exercising or in hot weather. The [British National Health Service] advises drinking six to eight glasses of fluid – ideally water – a day.”
Lewin additionally acknowledged the assertions that the beverage can assist with stomach issues, writing, “Some people find drinking a glass of lemon water, particularly first thing in the morning, aids digestion.” Yet she stopped short of suggesting that the drink was a miracle cure, saying instead that any positive findings to this end were “mainly subjective, and reports are anecdotal.”
Furthermore, Lewin questioned the legitimacy of the claims that lemon water should be consumed immediately upon rising. She opined, “The effects of lemon water will not change regardless of whether you drink it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. If you like the taste of lemon water, it could be a good choice for first thing in the morning, as we often wake up a little dehydrated – especially if you’ve had alcohol or salty food the night before.”
And the nutrition expert denied that lemon water assists in the detoxifying process. She revealed, “There is currently no evidence to suggest that lemon water has an alkalizing or detoxing effect on the body. The liver is responsible for eliminating toxins from everything we eat, drink and are exposed to in our environment, so no amount of lemon water is going to ‘detox’ our bodies. There is also no truth to the claims that lemon water balances pH levels.”
A number of these findings were backed up by Joe Leech, who in a May 2020 article for Medical News Today similarly questioned the veracity of some of the claims made about lemon water. Leech hinted, however, that the flavonoids in the fruit could potentially reduce inflammation, while lemon’s citrate may heal or prevent kidney stones.
Yet the writer was largely skeptical about some of the perceived benefits to consuming the drink, writing, “There are many other health claims surrounding lemon water, but most do not have any scientific evidence to support them.” He also poured cold water on claims that lemon water could aid substantial weight loss, effectively alkalize the body, help fight cancer or, perhaps most bizarrely, raise IQ.
So, we’ve covered the potential positives to sipping lemon water, but are there any drawbacks we should know about? Well, perhaps just one. In her article for BBC Good Food, Lewin highlighted the consequences long-term lemon water drinking could have on our teeth, explaining, “Fruit juices and acidic liquids can impact the enamel of teeth, so it is best to dilute concentrated lemon juice with water or drink through a straw.” Altogether, then, while lemon water is not quite the magic potion many would have us believe, it is a perfectly healthy and refreshing thirst-quencher that can be safely consumed as part of a balanced diet.
But if taking your water with a slice or five of lemon still doesn’t sound too a-peel-ing, why not heat your H20 up instead? You may be already doing so, in fact, if you’re a tea lover or coffee fiend. And as it happens, warm water, too, can have some notable effects upon your body.
The most common water-related rule of thumb suggests that you drink eight glasses of the clear stuff each day. But before you fill up your first cup with cool or even ice-cold H20, you really should read on. You see, it turns out that consuming warm water in the morning may actually do your body more good. And these are just 20 of the most surprising benefits to knocking back a tepid drink or two before breakfast.
20. Improving digestion
Yes, a warm glass of water can soothe even the testiest of tummies. In general, drinking ample amounts of H20 helps flush out the small intestine; failing to do this, however, means the organ absorbs all of the fluids it can get – causing dehydration as a result. And without enough liquid flowing through the small intestine, bowel movement can therefore be affected.
So, proper hydration may just be the key to solving ongoing constipation issues as well as making it more comfortable and less painful to go. Hot water hastens all of these wonderful side effects, too, as it has been shown to break down food faster than cold or even warm liquid.
19. Soothing the central nervous system
As the central nervous system encompasses both the brain and the spine, it’s naturally all-important to your day-to-day functioning. And a 2006 study by the University of California, San Diego, has found that the central nervous system may also control the body’s inflammatory responses, making it a huge player in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Thankfully, then, a glass of hot water in the morning can help keep that vital setup running smoothly, as H2O keeps everything lubricated. You see, proper hydration helps your brain, spine and other aspects of the nervous system respond accordingly, with the result being that you’ll likely end up feeling less achy and panicky as a consequence. Arthritis-related side effects could be put on pause, too.
18. Promoting detoxification
While many of us know that pressed fruits and vegetables are good for detoxifying the body, fewer people realize that piping hot water can offer similar benefits. However, you’ll have to forego cups of H20 that are cold to warm if you want to start an internal detox session.
After all, drinking hot water will raise your body temperature. Then, as you start getting warmer, you may break out into a sweat. And as soon as those beads start to fall, you’ve successfully detoxed with the help of hot water alone. Sweat purges the body’s toxins and clears out pores to boot.
Stunningly, 75 percent of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration, according to a 1998 study by the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. In other words, there’s a good chance that you need to drink more fluids. And making a point to consume a glass of warm water in the morning can naturally get you on track to meet your daily requirements.
Now, when it comes to hydration, there’s no particular benefit to making sure you drink warm or hot water as opposed to the cold stuff. But as you’ll continue learning, warm water has ample benefits when sipped in the morning, so you may want to make your first pour a tepid one.
16. Pumping up circulation
You may not know that you have poor circulation – especially because the condition has a varied list of symptoms. Some people may have tingling in their limbs, for example, while others may notice their joints swelling up. Regardless of how it shows itself, though, a lack of proper circulation can be a serious danger to a person’s health, so talk to your doctor if you think you may need a blood flow boost.
And, in fact, if you have poor circulation, your doctor could very well recommend that you drink a glass of warm water first thing in the morning. Why? Well, the clear beverage works as a vasodilator, which means that it encourages blood cells to expand and flow more freely. Then, with blood pumping properly, muscle aches and bodily pains may subside, too.
15. Dulling menstrual cramps
So many remedies exist to help women alleviate pain caused by their menstrual cramps – but not all prove to be winners. So, if you’ve already tried popping pills, using heating pads or relying on hormones to ease the ache, try sipping on warm water next time; you may be surprised by its effectiveness.
In actual fact, warm water can help with any kind of bodily twinges, as boosted circulation means muscles relax and pain reduces. When it comes to menstrual cramps specifically, though, a hotter than room temperature cup of H20 helps the stomach muscles to unwind, and this naturally helps curb the sometimes unbearable agony that arrives during that time of the month.
14. Warding off colds and sinus issues
When you feel a cold coming, start drinking warm water as soon as the symptoms start, as proper hydration can help your body move mucus more quickly. Yes, while that may sound gross, the more fluid you knock back, the more “productive” your sneezes, coughs and nose-blowing will be.
And water in its warmest form – steam, that is – can help with sinus pressure, too. For one thing, the hot vapor can break up sinus clogs. In addition, if you apply a hot compress to your sinuses, you can help to diffuse the pressure that builds up there mid-infection. So, drink up, breathe in the steam and press a damp cloth to your face until you start to feel better.
13. Stimulating hair growth
Perhaps you’ve chopped off your hair only to wish it’d re-grow immediately. On the other hand, maybe you have trouble lengthening your locks regardless of how long you wait between haircuts. Either way, a daily hot water-drinking regimen can help to change all of that. That’s right: the heated beverage can speed up hair growth, too.
You see, sipping on hot water not only softens strands, but it also benefits them from the inside out. Basically, your hair is energized at its roots, and this can inspire it to grow once again. So, if you want a fuller mane, grab a hot mug full of water and drink up; you’re just a few mornings away from the ’do of your dreams.
12. Assisting with symptoms of achalasia
Achalasia is a condition that affects the esophagus’ ability to push food from the mouth to the stomach. And those who have achalasia may feel as though they can’t always swallow food; instead, there may be the sensation that a meal is lodged in the throat rather than sliding smoothly into the stomach.
Researchers have found, however, that warm water stands as a potential solution to achalasia – even if they don’t know precisely why it works so well. And sipping a heated cup of H2O is apparently of particular benefit when paired with either an oily meal or a meat-centric dish.
11. Aiding in weight loss
Long before questions of water’s temperature came into the conversation, experts have known that the clear stuff can be a real boon in any weight-loss journey. With ample hydration, you see, a person feels more full, and that can help stall extraneous eating. Then there’s the fact that water helps push waste from the body while promoting the absorption of vital nutrients.
Things get even better when you swap cold water for a warm glass, though. According to Medical News Today, a 2003 study found that just heating up your water’s temperature could play a part in shedding those pounds. Apparently, downing a 99-degree glass of water pre-meal could speed up your metabolic rate by up to 40 percent.
10. Deflating high blood pressure
Unchecked, high blood pressure can wreak havoc on a person’s body, as it strains everything from the heart to the brain. And some of the life-threatening conditions risked as a result of hypertension include strokes, kidney disease, heart attacks and aneurysms.
If you’re on a quest to cut your blood pressure, then, try sipping a glass of warm water each morning. This daily ritual should push salt from the body and thus dilute thicker blood to a thinner, freer-flowing consistency. Blood pressure levels could come down as a consequence, too – possibly preventing the scary conditions that a higher number could cause.
9. Ushering in the benefits of coffee
Of course, you can just drink warm water as it is in order to reap its many rewards. In the mornings, though, many of us are considerably keener on coffee. Yet there’s no need to necessarily swap your mug of joe for plain H20, as coffee made with warm water can in itself be a healthy option.
For starters, regular coffee consumption may can ward off serious diseases including cancer and Parkinson’s. In fact, there’s another benefit that goes hand in hand with that one: drinking coffee can help you live a longer life. How’s that for a pick-me-up?
8. But tea can help, too
Yes, tea also has a slew of benefits that you can deliver to your system first thing in the morning. And if you drop a tea bag or diffuser into hot water, let it steep and then sip, you may not only be protecting your teeth from damage, but you could also be warding off the threat of a stroke, liver disease and cancer.
Torn between tea and coffee? Well, you may want to choose the former if you prefer a lighter dose of caffeine; some herbal blends even come with absolutely zero caffeine in them. And while your traditional teas do give you that little boost, they still typically contain half the amount of caffeine to be found in coffee.
7. Fighting dandruff
Dandruff starts to flake and fall from your scalp for a number of different reasons. Perhaps a new self-care product has caused dermatitis, which results in itchy, flurrying dandruff, or maybe you’ve failed to shampoo your hair enough – which in turn may end in cell accumulation.
But dandruff could also appear because of dehydration. After all, each speck is a bit of dead skin, and these tend to detach when you’re improperly hydrated. So, sip a glass of warm water every morning to help keep dandruff at bay – and get that liquid working for your scalp.
6. Fighting off stress
In 2011 the American Psychological Association realized something that we now know to be very true: stress had become a huge problem in the U.S. Or, as the organization’s report put it, “Chronic stress [which]… interferes with your ability to function normally over an extended period is becoming a public health crisis.”
With so many people feeling frazzled, then, it’s vital to have methods for alleviating that pressure. And one way to ward off your own anxieties is to fill a cup with hot water and start sipping. That soothing sensation helps cut stress, with this method applying to all hot beverages – from coffee to tea and beyond.
5. Helping you make and keep friends
Yes, believe it or not: wrapping your hands around a warm mug of water could strengthen your social connections. And science has actually proven the importance of having chums to rely upon. Apparently, good buddies can help you live longer, sharpen your mind and keep your waist circumference down, among other benefits.
So, fortify these health-boosting bonds by drinking warm water in the a.m. How does that work? Well, University of Colorado Boulder research has found that subjects who clutched warm heating pads were more likely to choose gifts for friends instead of for themselves. Similarly, another part of the study revealed that a hot cup in hand helped people see others’ personalities in a kinder light.
4. Safeguarding your teeth
Of course, most of us already take steps to protect our teeth from damage. Sometimes, though, brushing twice daily isn’t enough to maintain your pearly whites. You may have to be careful about what you eat and drink, too – and that’s precisely where our friend warm water comes into the conversation.
As it turns out, warm water is gentler on the teeth than cooler liquid – especially if your mouth contains any sort of dental restoration. You see, some materials used in fillings could react to the temperature of cold water by actually detaching from your teeth. By contrast, tepid H20 – not hot, as that’s also too extreme – protects your chompers in the long run.
3. Neutralizing acne
Taking care of your skin isn’t just a topical job. Sure, you can wash your face daily, slather on moisturizers, lie under sheet masks or cut through oil with an astringent. But you should also consider fighting patches of bad skin with a big gulp of warm water.
Again, as hot water enters your body, it can boost your temperature and elicit a bit of sweat, and emptying your pores in this way helps clear your skin in the long run. Water also generally cleanses the body of toxins when it flows through our systems – meaning it could clear out the nasties that cause acne, too.
2. Relaxing you at the end of the day
With a sip of cold water, you’re telling your muscles to contract. Sipping something warm, though, boosts blood flow to all of your body’s tissues. And this reaction feels something like a gigantic sigh of relief, as your once-achy muscles and joints should begin to ease back to normal.
Yes, while this list is all about the benefits of making drinking warm water into a morning ritual, it’s important to mention that nighttime beverages have their perks, too. Perhaps best of all, a glass of warm water before bed can help you ease into sleep ASAP. Plus, you’ll also feel fuller overnight – great news for all midnight snackers out there.
1. Restoring youthful skin
Although you may attempt to ward off the years by slathering on a bunch of anti-aging serums, creams and lotions, you could prevent the appearance of aging lines and wrinkles by reaching for a glass of warm water instead. The heated liquid in particular restores cells and boosts skin’s overall elasticity – which is what makes us appear youthful in the first place.
Warm water’s anti-aging properties don’t start and end with the skin, though. As previously mentioned, water performs a vital role in flushing toxins from the body. And if you don’t drink enough H2O, those accumulated toxins make it easy for your body to acquire illnesses and thus potentially age more quickly. So, drink up and don’t look back; warm water’s great for you now and forever.