5 Reasons You Should Drink Warm Water & Lemon

Written by Ashley Dentino
Medical review by Wendie Trubow, M.D., MBA
Functional Medicine Gynecologist
Wendie Trubow is a functional medicine gynecologist with almost 10 years of training in the field. She received her M.D. from Tufts University.
5 Reasons To Drink Warm Water & Lemon (And Why It's Good For You)

Image by Clique Images / Stocksy

The way you start each day is incredibly important. What you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for your day, waking up your body and mind.

According to ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down. Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature's rhythms, balance the doshas, and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.

Your mind may say you have to check emails, take the dog out, get the kids out the door, that you can't be late for work, or that you just don't have enough time to cultivate your own morning rituals.

But if you can make time for only one ritual that will improve your health, let it be a mug of warm water with the juice of half a lemon.

It's so simple, and yet the benefits are just too good to ignore. Here are all of the ways warm water with lemon will improve your morning:

1. It supports your immune system.

Lemons are high in vitamin C and potassium. You probably already know that vitamin C is great for fighting colds. It works as an antioxidant to support the immune system and fend off free radical damage. Potassium stimulates brain and nerve function and helps control blood pressure.

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2. It helps balance your pH.

Believe it or not, lemons are actually an incredibly alkaline food. Yes, they may taste acidic on their own, but once inside our bodies, they're alkaline. This is because the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized. And as you wellness warriors know, an alkaline body can be the key to good health.

3. It supports digestion.

The warm water serves to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis—the waves of muscle contractions within the intestinal walls that keep things moving. Lemons and limes are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract.

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4. It's good for your skin.

Starting your day with warm water will help keep your skin hydrated and glowing. And the lemon adds valuable vitamin C, which combats signs of aging in two ways. First, it can fight the free radicals that cause damage and signs of aging. Second, vitamin C provides the building blocks for collagen production, which keeps skin looking smooth.

5. It hydrates the lymphatic system.

This cup of goodness helps start the day on a hydrated note, which helps prevent dehydration (obviously) and adrenal fatigue. When your body is dehydrated, it can't perform all of its proper functions, which leads to toxic buildup, stress, and digestive issues—all symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Your adrenals are two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys and, along with your thyroid, produce energy. They also secrete important hormones, including aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone that regulates water levels and the concentration of minerals, like sodium, in your body, helping you stay hydrated. Your adrenals are also responsible for regulating your stress response. So, the bottom line is that you really don't want to mess with a deep state of dehydration!

Adopting just this one practice of drinking a cup of warm water with lemon in the morning for a month can radically alter your experience of the day. Don't be surprised if you begin to view mornings in a new light.

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Why does temperature matter for warm water with lemon?

The recipe is really simple—a cup of warm (not hot) water and the juice from half a lemon. The warm part is crucial, though. Not too hot; not too cold; the Goldilocks of lemon water, you might say. Too hot and you risk burning your mouth and causing long-term damage. In fact, a large-scale study of tea drinkers found that drinking liquids over 60 degrees Celsius was associated with a 90% higher risk of getting esophageal cancer.

That doesn't mean you should swap your morning mug for an iced lemon water, though. Too cold and you might shock your system rather than soothe it. In ayurveda, cold water is believed to dampen the system and cause poor digestion, while warm water promotes digestion and absorption. While there are no actual studies on how water temperature affects digestion yet, warm water certainly feels gentler on the system. Plus, the warm water may help steep out more of the nutrients in the lemon juice and peel for an added boost. 

If you choose to steep the entire lemon, remember to buy organic or thoroughly wash the lemon peels with soap and water. This will help to remove any pesticides that may have been sprayed on the fruit.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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