Looking for an alternative to coffee? Consider drinking cold lemon water in the morning for a quick boost of energy. It's a healthy way to quench your thirst, boost your hydration levels and get more vitamin C into your diet. Plus, cold lemon water is caffeine-free and packs a lot of nutrition.
Both lemon juice and cold water have potential health benefits. Mix them together to make a refreshing beverage that may jump-start your metabolism and make weight loss easier.
Is Lemon Water Really Healthy?
Take any health magazine or check out any health blog, and you'll see lemon or lemon water detox plans mentioned at least once. This beverage is taking the world by storm, promising quick weight loss and better health. Proponents say that cold lemon water benefits your heart as well as your metabolism and immune system.
Lemon water is by no means a cure-all, but it has its perks. This beverage requires two ingredients: lemon juice and water. You may also add mint leaves, turmeric, ginger or apple cider vinegar. Turmeric, for example, boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, according to a review published in the journal Foods in October 2017.
Lemon juice, the primary ingredient in this refreshing drink, is loaded with vitamin C and flavonoids. One serving, or a half a cup, provides more than 50 percent of the daily recommended vitamin C intake, plus the following nutrients:
- 27 calories
- 8.4 grams of carbs
- 0.4 grams of protein
- 0.3 grams of fat
- 0.4 grams of fiber
- 3 percent of the daily value (DV) of potassium
- 2 percent of the DV of copper
- 1 percent of the DV of zinc
- 1 percent of the DV of manganese
- 2 percent of the DV of magnesium
- 6 percent of the DV of folate
According to a report published in European Food Research and Technology in January 2014, lemon juice is a good source of flavonoids, especially apigenin, naringenin and diosmetin. Apigenin, for instance, has been shown to induce cancer cell death and reduce metastasis (the spread of cancer cells throughout the body). Most studies have been conducted on mice, so more research is needed to confirm its effects on human subjects, however.
The flavonoids in lemon and other citrus fruits exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antiviral properties, as reported in a March 2013 review published in the EXCLI Journal. These natural compounds fight free radical damage and protect against chronic diseases. They also inhibit platelet aggregation, reduce blood sugar levels and improve sensitivity, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Considering these facts, it's no surprise that lemon water is promoted as one of the healthiest beverages out there. This natural drink keeps you hydrated and infuses your body with vitamin C.
Plus, it's rich in potassium, a mineral that supports the proper functioning of your nerves, cells, muscles and kidneys. Low potassium levels in the bloodstream can have serious health effects, from calcium loss to cardiac arrhythmias and elevated blood pressure.
Cold Versus Warm Water
There is more than one way to make lemon water. Some people prefer to use warm water, while others mix lemon juice and ice-cold water. However, there isn't too much of a difference between cold and warm water from a nutritional standpoint.
Cold lemon water is more refreshing, especially on the hot summer days. According to the University of Washington, it might also give your metabolism a boost. Researchers there report that drinking a cup of ice water burns 8 more calories than drinking the same amount of water at room temperature. This means that if you drink five cups of cold water a day, you'll torch an extra 40 calories — that's the equivalent of one cup of Brussels sprouts, so it's not much and it may not give you enough of a metabolic boost to really make a difference for weight loss.
A small study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in September 2012 assessed the effects of cold water on thermoregulation and physical performance. Compared to cold water, room temperature water was more effective at improving exercise performance. It also led to a greater increase in core body temperature. The study participants who drank cold water experienced a decrease in performance on the bench press.
However, cold water helped the subjects maintain a stable core temperature during exercise. This may lead to enhanced physical performance and prevent your body from overheating, especially at higher environmental temperatures. Drinking cold lemon water is even better — the potassium in lemon juice will keep your fluid levels and blood pressure within normal limits.
Plain water, in general, is essential to your health. In fact, it might even help you stick to your diet and improve appetite control.
Read more: The 12 Worst Foods for Appetite Control
According to a large-scale study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in February 2016, water consumption may help reduce total daily food intake. Subjects who increased their water intake consumed fewer calories from soft drinks, fatty foods and sugary foods. Their sodium and cholesterol intakes decreased, too.
Cold Lemon Water Benefits
Drinking cold lemon water in the morning — or anytime throughout the day — is unlikely to help you lose weight. However, it can prevent dehydration and boost your antioxidant intake. If you drink soda on a regular basis, you can replace it with lemon water to cut sugar and calories.
Due to its high water content, this beverage can facilitate weight loss and prevent weight gain. A January 2013 study published in the International Journal of Obesity has found that replacing sugary drinks and fruit juices with plain water may help reduce the amount of weight gained over a four-year period. Furthermore, water may increase your metabolism and raise core body temperature, leading to greater energy expenditure aka more calories burned.
If you're not a fan of plain water, mix it with freshly squeezed lemon juice. This will keep you hydrated, which in turn, may aid in fat loss. According to a mini-review published in Frontiers in Nutrition in January 2016, increased hydration might be the key to improved appetite control and faster metabolism.
Water consumption increases lipolysis, or fat breakdown, and reduces food intake. Mild but chronic dehydration, on the other hand, has been linked to weight gain. Most studies cited in the above review have been conducted on rodents, but their results can be applied to humans, as the researchers note.
Lemon juice doesn't burn fat, but it may facilitate weight loss. Vitamin C, one of its most abundant nutrients, may lower blood glucose levels, modulate lipolysis and balance the hormones that influence appetite, according to a May 2014 review published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. This water-soluble vitamin may protect against obesity and its consequences.
If coffee gives you jitters, drink cold lemon water in the morning instead. This beverage contains no stimulants, making it ideal for those who are sensitive to caffeine. It's also a healthier alternative to energy drinks, sports drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages. Enjoy it between meals, during your workouts or whenever you're thirsty.
- MDPI: "Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Raw Lemon Juice"
- European Food Research and Technology: "Polyphenolic Contents in Citrus Fruit Juices: Authenticity Assessment"
- Journal of Cancer Prevention: "Role of Apigenin in Cancer Prevention via the Induction of Apoptosis and Autophagy"
- NCBI: "Recent Studies on Flavonoids and Their Antioxidant Activities"
- Linus Pauling Institute: "Flavonoids"
- NIH: "Potassium"
- Washington.edu: "Mythbusters: Will Drinking Water Help With…?"
- USDA: "Brussels Sprouts"
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: "The Effect of a Cold Beverage During an Exercise Session Combining Both Strength and Energy Systems Development Training on Core Temperature and Markers of Performance"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Potassium Lowers Blood Pressure"
- Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics: "Plain Water Consumption in Relation to Energy Intake and Diet Quality Among Us Adults, 2005–2012"
- International Journal of Obesity: "Changes in Water and Beverage Intake and Long-Term Weight Changes: Results From Three Prospective Cohort Studies"
- Frontiers in Nutrition: "Increased Hydration Can Be Associated With Weight Loss"
- Diapedia: "Lipolysis and Lipogenesis"
- Journal of Nutritional Science: "Vitamin C in the Treatment and/or Prevention of Obesity"