The Benefits of Drinking Hot Water with Lemon

April 24, 2014

hotwaterlemon3B4A8865My older brother, Haim, has never had a cup of coffee. Never. Not once. He is convinced that he will outlive my entire family and most of his friends based on this merit alone. When he considers this, I often wonder what the use is in outliving the rest of the people he likes.

Who would he hang out with? Wouldn’t it get lonely?

As a rule, I am a deeply selfless individual. As a result, I tried to stop drinking coffee so that if my brother was correct and it is because of caffeine consumption that everyone else dies, he and I could remain on earth together — marveling in the good old times but lamenting, in that romantic way that siblings do, about the present.

And then I said to myself, self, who are you fucking kidding? You can’t go on without coffee. (More about this tomorrow in a special installment of We Tried the X Diet.) You tried that once when you were on a running kick and it was fine at first but once the novelty wore off, you definitively concluded that life without coffee is like kale without the nutritional benefits: coarse and frustrating to digest. In order to arrive at a happy medium, I resolved that before drinking my morning coffee, I would have a cup of hot water with lemon in it.

There are nutritional benefits aplenty associated with drinking hot water with lemon in the morning: it balances out your pH levels (or whatever), promotes healthy digestion (or whatever) and weight loss (if you’re into that stuff), and often doles out a case of the morning-poops (I know you know what I’m talking about).

But after a full month and change of waking up and practically having the hot liquid plus lemon drip into my mouth before even getting out of bed, I’ve accumulated five of the most personally lucrative benefits it’s offered — starting with the fact that the early introduction of hot water to my digestive system inexplicably wakes me up.

#2: The combination of the warm water and the lemon makes me feel clean, which as fate would have it, is not fortuitous at all — lemon juice flushes excrement out of the body (chiefly because lemons promote urination).

#3: My skin feels clearer, or at least the bags under my eyes don’t seem as pronounced. This could be occurring for a number of reasons but I like to think that it has something to do with the Vitamin C present in lemon.

#4: Poopoo-party: the drink makes morning bathroom trips as easy as: 1, splat, 3.

What? I never said that!

#5: While I know the most salient benefit of drinking hot water with lemon is in what it does for your immune system (the vitamin C! The potassium! Its alkalizing when it digests, etc), I have found it most interesting that it seems to make early-morning focusing easier. I used to consume a coffee on my way out of bed while my mind was still fresh and energetically ripe with the lucid thoughts of morning’s rise only to find that the former artificial energy stumped the latter natural energy and its corresponding fluidity. Now I have at least thirty full minutes of an unadulterated concentration…I’d finish this thought but I just had a coffee.

TRY IT TOO! TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK!

– Leandra Medine

  • Aubrey Green

    That’s a lot of will power your brother has, I’m impressed and fascinated. I too wonder who he would talk to if everyone else were gone. I take my water room temperature, rarely with lemon, it gives me canker sores :(.

    Just wondering, does’t coffee help you with going to the bathroom too, it does for me?

    • Leandra Medine

      yes it does BUT it also dehydrates the hell out of you

      • Jessica
        • http://www.ipanemaus.com Ipanema Swimwear

          Coffee can be great, but you can’t deny it does leave a dry feeling in your mouth, and you are likely to feel thirsty soon after drinking it.
          On a different note a friend recently told me about putting lemon in her coffee and how weird and amazing that was…maybe we just have to experiment further…

        • hanz

          Coffee is a diuretic so it does have a dehydrating effect. Studies contradict each other all the time and have all sorts of errors and biases, they aren’t always accurate.

      • Samia Liamani

        after a coffee (which i love) -> my skin literally just shrivels up and i need 3 bottles of water (which i never end up drinking) to get me back to normal.

    • Megan

      Ugh, I am also on this boat! I wish the citrus wouldn’t create havoc in my mouth.

      • Butterlings

        Use a straw :)

  • http://Mysmallwardrobe.com/ Carelia

    I’m coffee head, no lemon can replace the ole good cafecito.
    Xo
    Carelia

    SILVER SHOES AT A SILVER COFFEE SHOP…blog post at:
    Mysmallwardrobe.com

  • eleanor

    OOoh I’m definitely going to try this! :) Although I’m not that big of a coffee-addict yet, this sounds great!
    xxx
    http://eleanorcos.blogspot.com/

  • Guest

    An old Native American woman I met on a trip to the Grand Canyon 4 years ago told me that you should always have water before coffee in the morning and I’ve done it every day since. Apparently it has something to do with the fact that coffee is dehydrating and you need the opposite first thing in the AM? Anywhoo, I started the whole warm water with lemon and a DASH of cayenne pepper recently, and it definitely put an extra pep in my step.

  • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

    DOING THIS. When I’m not lazy, I drink a detox water of ginger, lemon, mint leaves, and cucumber. It’s a cold drink.

    • http://www.ipanemaus.com Ipanema Swimwear

      We love that detox!

      • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

        Yeah, I’m hoping it makes me look like your default picture. Not sure there’s enough lemons in the world, though.

        • http://www.ipanemaus.com Ipanema Swimwear

          Hey all you need is to set the goal for yourself ;)

  • Guest

    I go in and out of water with lemon stages, but I once went on a date with a man that compared my one-a-day coffee habit to that of a drug addiction.

    • pamb

      Well, caffeine IS a drug, but really, now… I think it’s the most benign drug addiction I can think of.

  • rebecca train

    “He is convinced that he will outlive my entire family and most of his friends based on this merit alone. When he considers this, I often wonder what the use is in outliving the rest of the people he likes.” Hahaha

  • Annalina

    Since lemon is acidic, I’d worry that over time my tooth enamel would wear away.

    • Kit

      My dentist gave me a hard time about this. It IS bad for your enamel. But she said that if I had to do it, you can avoid problems by brushing your teeth immediately after. No toothbrush? I guess drinking a big ol’ glass of plain water afterward will also dilute it and solve the problem.

      • Catherine

        Try drinking it with a straw. Minimizes damage.

      • Sasha

        I have very sensitive teeth, and so have done a little reading on steps that can be taken to avoid exacerbating the issue. I don’t know if it’s the same for lemon water, but I’ve read that drinking highly acidic liquids (especially the delicious ones, like Coca-Cola) and then brushing your teeth immediately afterward can have a wearing effect on your tooth enamel. According to this research, this is because the acid temporarily softens the very outer surface, allowing the toothbrush to scrub it away more easily. Drinking another glass of water, swishing a bit, and waiting a few minutes will, allegedly, protect your teeth from the extra wear and tear. I’m not an expert, but I figured I’d throw my two cents in. In conclusion, I agree with the commenter below: just use a straw.

        Holy crap, I’m bored!

  • http://www.Malta-Notebook.com/ Malta Notebook

    I had to end my love affair with coffee when I was pregnant… Which is also when I jumped on the hot-water-with-lemon bandwagon. Love it. Also find that a HUGE glass of cold water wakes me up in the morning even more than a hot coffee ever did. Go figure. x

  • Daniela Gómez

    I will try it cause I dont like coffe too :) Thank you Leandra! <3

  • Estelle Lbn

    It works! but too much lemon is bad for blood pressure. I think. (grandma told me that)

  • Maria Han

    I also add a little bit of honey! and ever since I started my daily coffee intake has decreased :)

    • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

      all honey everything!

  • XO Robin

    My bubbe did this her whole life, and so do I! It flushes everything out!!

  • http://kitschandfro.com Kitsch And Fro

    Oh snap! I’ve actually been doing the water/lemon thing (can’t be hashed with the hot water it’s too much work boiling water in the a.m) but the effects are amazing. I do actually feel refreshed and clean from the inside out and my skin feels and looks so much brighter/clear. The bathroom thing OH yes! Now to work on cutting down on the sweets, cakes and everything else I shouldn’t eat so much *le sigh*

    http://kitschandfro.blogspot.co.uk

  • Laura

    I stopped drinking Cofee because it hurt my stomach and gave me anxiety atacks sometimes, I REALLY loved coffee in it´s darkest form but if I wanted to avoid health issues I had to stop, not to deny that I do enjoy a cup once every six months if the ocation calls for it. So how do I keep awake? Black Tea infussioned with other fruits, it´s supposed to have caffeine in a mild amount. Also I add Chia to my bottled water, don´t know if it actually works but at least for me it does. Aside from that I will be trying this hot water with lemon thing, I´m all up for natural remedies, thanks Leandra.

  • Alesia Coleman

    I drink hot water with lemon and cayenne pepper, but I drink it at night. Sometimes up to 6 cups a night. I can for sure tell a difference if I skip a night and I wonder if I should be doing it in the morning as well? Am I missing some benefits by not drinking it in the morning?

    • Emily

      morning i way more important because your body needs a good flush – the cayenne can get a little sketchy unless you’re really going for the super laxative effect!

  • Shelby

    I googled this just this morning to see if my hot water with lemon habit was actually making a difference or all placebo effect.

    • Leandra Medine

      Aaaand? Also, I think your body is a better gauge than google of whether its making a difference!

  • Rebeka Osborne

    I always try and drink a big glass of water in the morning before anything else. I think warm water with lemon is great and I wish I did it more, it’s just that heating up water is such a pain. Maybe I should just start microwaving it? Or would that do weird things to the water and eliminate the goodness? (I acknowledge it’s sad I don’t know how a microwave actually works, don’t judge me).

    • Filipa Geraldes

      I microwave it, I think its fine. at least all the positive effects are still present. heat the water before adding the lemon juice.

  • Colette

    But like, how many lemons? And do you have to muddle them or something? And why are people adding cayenne! I don’t get it.

    • Emily

      I do juice from half a lemon per one mug of water – I just use a little hand squeezer, nothing fancy. The cayenne is used to make this shoot through your system and elevate the toilet status, it’s the base for a lot of weight-loss cleanses and I wouldn’t personally use it as my everyday. That being said, I LOVE adding a thin slice of fresh ginger root – great flavor and even more great health benefits (and my skin… so good, changed nothing else in my regimen than this and it’s night and day with fine lines and lovely sunspots)

      • Filipa Geraldes

        cayenne pepper is also good for those with low blood pressure. it helps to keep it stable so it doesnt drop.

  • LexoRexo

    I love all of them and all these reports as to which to consume first is a pain. Green juice? Lemon water? Bullet proof coffee?

    Which, btw, I made for the first time today and it seems to work!

  • Ruchika

    Very cute article. Couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Drinking warm water with lemon has been promoted by Ayurvedic believe red world wide and some people I know have said it really does clear up their system. Now if I wasn’t lazy, I would definitely do it everyday but I only got away with 2 days. I instead drink hot chai for breakfast AFTER I’m done with #4. :) I’m glad everyone is comfortable with discussing this! http://www.ichcha.com

  • Magan Biggs

    I’ve added Apple Cider vinegar to my morning hot water and lemon tonics. Not a bad additive :)

  • Stylish Housewife

    I am already a high strung, anxiety-ridden, jumpy person and I’m pretty sure my coffee only exacerbates the problem but… I.CAN’T.STOP. MUST have two cups of Dunkin Donuts Vanilla Nut coffee EVERY morning. Am curious if I drink my HOT coffee and then guzzle room temp water with lemon…will it have the same benefit as drinking hot water with lemon since coffee in belly is still warm? I’m with Rebeka…heating water is too time consuming. lol…

  • Emily

    This totally works! Add a slice of fresh ginger root for awesome flavor and even more benefits. Started this last summer and my skin is like night and day — stick with it! (I, like your brother, have never had a cup of coffee in my life and as I hit my ripe old late-twenties this has made a difference in my wake-up ability!)

  • Pallavi

    You are bloody hilarious! Ha!

  • Sarah Nesbitt Artecona

    Princess Diana also drank this and see how she ended up. I will try it anyway since a dead princess is better than no princess at all.

  • gina
  • Bobbi S.

    How many lemons should be used per glass?

    • Leandra Medine

      I pretty much use a third of one

      • Michelle

        Do you put the whole thing in or squeeze the juice out? Always wondered what the best method is!

        • http://www.millennielle.com/ ᴍɪʟʟᴇɴɴɪᴇʟʟᴇ

          squeeze the juice out AND drop the rest of the lemon in… why not? :)

  • http://www.elisabethbrubaker.com Elisabeth Brubaker

    What’s the difference between drinking hot water with lemon and regular cold water with lemon?

  • Gem

    I swear by hot water lemon with the tiniest drop of raw honey first thing in the morning.. The honey is supposed to prevent any irritation that the lemon juice may cause on an empty stomach, i.e. stomach ulcer, which is hard to believe as it makes your tummy feel soooo much better.

    I did it for years until my coffee habit took over and my skin feels a lot more worn out/greasy (too much?) and my eyes look a lot more tired now that it’s not a part of my daily routine. Got to stop with the coffee and get back on it. Definitely makes you feel a lot cleaner, inside and out..your mouth feels fresher, digestive system works better, skin glows, whites of eyes look whiter, yadi yadi yada..

    If it’s any conciliation, I’m actually sipping cold water with ginger and lemon as I write this, (purely because I overdid it with the bad stuff today) and it’s already making me feel a lot better.

    • Filipa Geraldes

      i was affraid of the lemon on an empty stomach part too but never felt anything. cant say that for hot coffee on my empty stomach, though! cant take it without some milk or my stomach starts to burn

      • Gem

        I normally cut out excess sugar most of the time but the honey doesn’t reverse the clean feeling at all.. I’m just used to it now..

        • Gem

          A bit of cayenne pepper is also good for the metabolism and warming..

  • G

    I love hot water with lemon. I also put magnesium powder in it. http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Vitality-Magnesium-Calm-1×16/dp/B000GJOZWE
    Its great for at night when trying to sleep. Im a big coffee drinker too. Has anyone ever tried bulletproof coffee?? Its my favorite and allegedly has no mycotoxins. This is the reason so many people get brain fog or crash when they drink coffee. This coffee gives me sustained energy and I feel great all day…God knows I need it running after 2 kids all day.:) By the way love love love this blog.:)

    • pamb

      Is bulletproof coffee the coffee with coconut oil or butter in it? How does it taste? I’m too a-scared to try…

      • G

        yes it is. I like it but its not for everyone. I put grass fed ghee, MCT oil, the coffee and blend it all together.

  • http://rosewatersaffron.wordpress.com/ Sharareh

    I tried this and always ended with a headache. Turns out that lemons are high on Tyramin which is a headache trigger and a boost of it in the morning… got me each time.

    http://rosewatersaffron.wordpress.com

  • chezsasha.com

    I’m glad you bring up what this trend/habit is really mostly about – poop – as opposed to all those other health articles that discuss “digestion” and other vague terms.

  • Catherine

    A cup of hot water with half a lemon and honey is my shit. If I drink it after not having it for a long time it actually makes me break out and I’ve convinced myself that it’s the lemon getting rid of all the toxins in my body.

  • kendra

    regular occurrence: double fisting my thermos of hot water/lemon that i bring from home and my to go paper coffee cup that i pick up on my way. my neighborhood baristas used to be like, “you sure you don’t want your americano in your thermos? cuz you are CARRYING a thermos.” but now they get it and yell at me to finish my lemon juice before i can pay.

  • Nikki Lowe

    Dr Oz said that when you get up in the morning and do a pee you’re pretty much starting the day on the back bender when it comes to hydration, so having a coffee will only make that worse thanks to its mad dehydration skills. Having a glass of water as soon as you wake up will replace that lost fluid and make it a little easier for your body to process your morning coffee. Or yeah, you could just give up coffee, but i guess the moral of the story is to just drink more water. Period.

  • Pilar Quinche

    Que buen consejo, yo tomo agua con limón todos los días y también ayuda a secar la grasa y a veces con vinagre de manzana.

    Pero el café también tiene sus beneficios, no puedo vivir sin el tinto de la mañana. Saludos.

    http://Www.blogdebloggers.weebly.com

  • lavieenliz

    coffee gives me panic attacks!! but I love it! I guess lemon and water is awesome too

    http://hashtagliz.com

  • Megan Myers-Bell

    I, like Haim, have never had a cup of coffee, but for reasons totally unrelated to its health consequences. The. smell. Ugh, I just can’t. No doubt, I will die from drinking copious amounts of Dr. Pepper and sweet tea, as any respectable Southerner should.

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    I feel like ridding of coffee is a good step, but people seem to often overlook ridding of alcohol when they are really health-obsessed!

    I have some friends whose parents spend out the wazoo in terms of trying to get the least-invasive, non-toxic, healthiest food and drink stuffs, eschew coffee, and YET they still have bottles of wine and hard liquor around the house….?

    That always confused me because it seems like if someone was *really* trying to drag out their lifespan, they’d get rid of that liver-killin’ liquid as well. Maybe it would just take the (manufactured) fun out of life, though.

    As for coffee, yum! I only drink decaffeinated because I am thoroughly afraid of being dependent on anything, but my my my does coffee have a good taste! Gr8 for #2, too.

  • http://www.morningneon.blogspost.com Zauni | Morning Neon

    I’m literally on day 2 of drinking warm water and lemon in the morning. I haven’t seen immediate benefits, but it’s been pretty relaxing and it makes me feel kinda posh. Just sayin.

  • Caitlin

    I don’t drink coffee and always drink green tea, white tea or lemon and warm water. Plus cold pressed green juices on the weekend. It’s the best! Everyone should be looking after their insides as much as they do their outsides! X

  • Greer

    I’ve always loved hot water and lemon, and often just hot water alone is better, so relaxing

  • Jacob James Jarzabek

    Mornin’ poopin’ and promotin’ healthy digestion are kinda the same thing…as is flushing out the excrement.

  • Sue

    I’ve tried hot water with lemon in the morning before and I felt good for an hour or so until it gave me nausea and a migraine. Probably because it was too much acid for me. May I ask those of you who consume it in the morning how much lemon they actually put in the water? or if any of you know how I could avoid nausea after drinking it?

  • coffeetoo

    as my user name goes to show, I can’t entertain the thought of abandoning coffee. Neither am I one of those people that would ever say things like “I have to have it!”/”Don’t talk to me before my first 2 cups”/ and so on – I just love the taste yet don’t need/want to drink it daily (maybe 5 days a week?) nor do I need to drink to “wake up.” It’s something I enjoy after I’m awake and already functioning in my day.

    That being said, I can only stomach lemon in water when the water is bubbly. I have always been amazed at people who can drink flat water with lemon or hot water with lemon.

    Taste, surely much like beauty, is in the, err, mouth of the beholder but lemons in flat/still water – hot or cold – make me feel like I’m drinking cleaning detergent. (Pinesol Lemon? Lysol Lemon? Lemon Clorox Bleach Wipes, etc)

  • Rena

    I recently discovered (and love) Teecino. It’s a natural coffee alternative, comes in a whole bunch of yummy flavors and while it doesn’t completely replace the coffee taste , it’s pretty damn close and it’s DELICIOUS.

  • Clarisa

    The only thing I hate about ready MR in the am is that everyone knows I am not working because I’m giggling.

  • The Green Creator

    Ooh I love it! I can’t go a day without!

    Read more here it:

    http://www.thegreencreator.com/lemon-water-in-the-morning/
    xoxo
    Bianca
    The Green Creator

  • http://www.nofearoffashion.com/ No fear of fashion

    I totally agree with is. Love my coffee, but my glass of luke warm water in the morning gives me great benefits. (Sorry no lemon… Hate lemon).
    Greetje

  • http://www.stylefile.in/ Dayle Pereira

    Definitely try this tomorrow morning!

  • Adrienn

    I’ve tried it as well but the taste of the hot water with lemon is simply disgusting :) Won’t try it again. Never. Ever.

    http://www.jujufashionblog.com/

    • http://www.anativeblonde.com/ Jess H.

      For me it tastes muuuch better when you squeeze the lemon in after the water’s been heated. Going lemon then heat is pretty… yuck.

  • andra

    Coffee or lemon water… hm… For me the salient angle of this awareness is somehow a curiosity, I find the idea that we can separate one item of our diet and follow the almost immediate consequences it supposedly has on you, like somekind of a dietary manifest. I think jump the step/or the controlled diet and think of the question why.

  • Julia

    I’ve been hearing so much about this, and am especially interested because that morning poop is one of the best feelings ever. Also, no more dark circles under the eyes? Count me in! :)

    http://exploresmore.com/

  • Michelle

    I love drinking hot water with lemon, and even better, hot water with lemon AND honey. My favorite drink.

  • MargaretInArabia

    For the last year or so, hot water with lemon first thing, then 2 cups coffee. Then I drink lemon water, room temp or sometimes cold, throughout the day. I eat less, digest better, skin looks great, etc. Interestingly, now when I awake up I crave the lemon water.

  • Sarah

    I’ve been drinking lemon water every morning but perhaps I’ll try heating it up for tea’s sake.

    xx Sarah | Loser Girl Wins

  • http://polauniqueclothing.com/ Pola Unique

    I am also into the water and lemon thing, It’s like early morning magic to my body! Can’t give up on my coffee either so I feel like it kinda balances all the bad I’m supposedly doing to myself ;)

  • beautopiaxoxo

    I have heard about the benefits of hot water with lemon from various people and definitely need to start trying this. I keep forgetting!

    http://beautopiaxoxo.blogspot.com

  • Erin

    Btw, I am a doctor (who loves your blog)….and did you know that coffee is the single largest source of anti-oxidants in the American diet? Additionally, it has been shown in large studies to decrease the risk of mortality, Alzheimer’s, development of diabetes, etc, etc. Many of these studies were wondering about the negative effects of coffee, and guess what, they turned out to have the opposite results!

    Of course, it’s possible that water with lemon and tea have the same effects, but it hasn’t been studies.

    Anyways, I think drinking coffee is a personal choice, but it’s a myth that coffee actually has terrible health side effects.

  • Isabelle

    In which proportion do your mix the water with lemon?

  • Mitika Suri

    Just found your blog, your writing style is right down my street, v funny :)
    Lemon and tea is deffo the way to go in the mornings! easy as 1 splat 3, right?

  • Serialmania

    The main thing that I drink lemon water is to clear up my pimple and to have a crystal clear skin and it worked. It take about 2 months of daily consumption though. I drink it 2 times a day. Remember everything take times to see the results….