7 Possible Benefits Of Lemon Water Based On Scientific Evidence

Reviewed by Alexandra Dusenberry, MS, RDN
Written by Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Lemon water seems to be the all-powerful beverage. More people, including acclaimed celebrities, are swearing by its therapeutic effects. Despite the sensation, research is still ongoing.

Current research states that lemon water may aid digestion and boost immunity (1). Well, there is more. In this post, we will explore the possible benefits of drinking lemon on your health.

What Are The Possible Health Benefits Of Drinking Lemon Water?

The vitamin C in lemon water may boost immunity and keep disease at bay. The citrate it contains may also reduce the risk of kidney stones. Drinking lemon water regularly may also boost your brain health, thanks to the presence of citrus flavanones.

1. May Boost Your Immunity


Lemon water is rich in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant. A cup (244 grams) of lemon water (juice) contains 94.4 milligrams of vitamin C, which is more than the RDA (2).

Vitamin C is known to boost immune function. It promotes immune defense by supporting various cellular functions. It enhances the proliferation of B- and T-cells, which are important components of the human immune system (3).

Vitamin C intake has also been linked to a lower risk of respiratory and systemic infections (3).

In another study, intake of garlic and lemon aqueous extracts was linked to modulation of the immune system. This way, it could also possibly aid cancer treatment (4).

Lemon juice scavenges free radicals and combats oxidative stress. Apart from boosting immunity, this may have other protective effects as well, including preventing liver injury (5).

2. May Aid Weight Loss

A cup of lemon water contains just about 54 calories (2). This way, it can easily make its way into your weight loss diet plan. Replacing high-calorie beverages with lemon water could be a good idea to boost your health and even keep away from additional calories.

Drinking lemon water also promotes hydration. Research shows that increased hydration can help with weight loss. Hydration expands cell volume, and this, in turn, boosts the body’s metabolism (6).

The polyphenols in lemon (lemon water) were found to suppress diet-induced obesity in mice. They also could prevent the accumulation of body fat (7).

Consuming lemon juice with a bit of honey can also have preventive effects on weight gain. Lemon honey juice was found to reduce BMI, fat mass, and total serum triglycerides in healthy individuals (8).

3. May Help Prevent Kidney Stones


Lemon water contains citrate (the salt in citric acid present in lemon water) that binds to calcium and helps prevent stone formation (9).

Drinking just half a cup of lemon water (juice of just two lemons) every day can increase urinary citrate excretion and cut the risk of kidney stones (9).

Among citrus fruits, lemons have the highest amount of citrate. This explains why lemon water could be the ideal way to prevent kidney stones. In studies, intake of lemon water in patients reduced the rate of stone formation (per patient) from 1 to 0.13 (10).

4. May Promote Mental Health

Citrus juice (like that of lemon) is rich in flavanones that have been found to promote cognitive health. These flavanones work by increasing blood flow to the brain. This can boost mental health (11).

The citric acid in lemon water can also prevent brain inflammation and fight oxidative stress, thus promoting brain health. Due to these properties, lemon water (citric acid) could show potential benefit in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases (12).

5. May Boost Exercise Performance

Lemon water improves hydration. Research shows that hydration, in general, boosts exercise performance. In a study on athletes engaging in in-season training, regular hydration could promote their performance. This is because hydration improves sodium loss that is often rampant due to an individual’s increased sweat rate during physical exertion (13).

Supplementation of citrus flavonoids was also found to boost exercise performance in trained athletes (14). The citrus flavonoids in lemon water may also have similar effects.

6. May Aid Digestion

Some research states that the acids in lemons may supplement the body’s natural stomach acids, further helping the body break down food. This could mean better digestion (1).

Citrus fruits, including lemons, contain pectin, which is a fiber primarily located in the peel of the fruit. Though this fiber may boost digestion, it can offer any benefit only when you take pulpy lemon water (15).

7. May Promote Skin Health

Citrus-based juices have been linked to better skin health. In studies, such juices were found to have potent antioxidant and anti-aging effects. They could prevent oxidative stress and even suppress wrinkle formulation (in mice) (16).

The vitamin C in lemon water has potent benefits for the skin. The nutrient promotes collagen formation, which is the main structural protein found in skin and connective tissues. Vitamin C also fights free radicals and protects the skin from the debilitating effects of oxidative stress (17).

Drinking lemon water every day has its share of benefits. We have seen some of the most important nutrients in lemon water. In the following section, we will further delve into them.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Lemon Water?

NutrientUnit1Value per 100 g1 cup = 244.0g1 fl oz = 30.5g1 lemon yields = 48.0g1 wedge yields = 5.9g
Total lipid (fat)g0.240.590.070.120.01
Carbohydrate, by differenceg6.916.842.13.310.41
Fiber, total dietaryg0.
Sugars, totalg2.526.150.771.210.15
Calcium, Camg615230
Iron, Femg0.
Magnesium, Mgmg615230
Phosphorus, Pmg820240
Potassium, Kmg10325131496
Sodium, Namg12000
Zinc, Znmg0.
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg38.794.411.818.62.3
Vitamin B-6mg0.0460.1120.0140.0220.003
Folate, DFEµg20496101
Vitamin A, IUIU615230.01
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)mg0.150.370.050.070
Fatty acids, total saturatedg0.040.0980.0120.0190.002
Fatty acids, total monounsaturatedg0.0060.0150.0020.0030
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturatedg0.0210.0510.0060.010.001

Source: USDA, lemon juice, raw

Though lemon water seems to be a simple beverage, it does have an impressive nutritional profile. In the following section, we will tell how you can prepare lemon water, and more importantly, how you can enjoy its goodness.

How To Make Lemon Water

This is as simple as it sounds. Juice the lemons (along with the pulp) and collect it in a container. Mix the juice with water, as per the requirement.

You can have lemon water warm or cold, though having it warm seems to have better soothing effects. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that warm water may have a higher concentration of polyphenols.

You can take lemon water first thing in the morning. Though some sources say it aids digestion, there is no concrete evidence for this.

You can ideally take lemon water at any given time of the day. However, taking it first thing in the morning can help you better rehydrate yourself (after a long duration without any hydration).

Before you start downing a soothing glass of lemon water, you may want to know the possible adverse effects it may have.

Does Drinking Lemon Water Pose Any Risk?

Drinking lemon water is usually safe. But it may cause a few mild adverse effects.

  • May Cause Dental Erosion

Drinking excess of lemon water may lead to dental erosion (18). One possible way to prevent this is by drinking lemon water using a straw. Remember to rinse your mouth with plain water afterward.

  • May Aggravate Acid Reflux

The citric acid in lemon water may cause acid reflux in some people. If you experience symptoms of heartburn following the intake of lemon water, please consult your doctor.

Some individuals believe drinking lemon water on an empty stomach may cause acidity. There is no research to back this up. It all boils down to an individual’s experience.


Drinking lemon water is a simple habit that can have incredible results in the long run. However, more research is warranted to establish its benefits clearly.

Be careful and do not consume it in excess. Use a straw and rinse your mouth after drinking lemon water.

Do you drink lemon water every day? How has it impacted your health and well-being? Do share your thoughts by leaving a comment in the box below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any myths associated with lemon water?

A: Yes. Certain individuals feel that lemon water can alkalize your body or detoxify your body. There is no research to support these claims. Also, the fiber in lemon water may not directly aid weight loss.

Does lemon water freshen breath?

A: Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning may freshen your breath. It is thought that lemon might stimulate the saliva in your mouth and prevent dry mouth, which may otherwise lead to bad breath.

How much lemon water can you drink in a day?

A: One medium lemon contains about 44 milligrams of vitamin C, which is over half the recommended daily allowance of the nutrient (19). Hence, taking the juice of about two lemons should do.

Does lemon water burn belly fat?

A: It may or may not. There is less research done in this regard.

Can you drink lemon water at night?

A: Yes. This can also keep you hydrated throughout the night. You may also drink honey-lemon water at night before heading to bed.

How long do you have to wait after drinking lemon water before you can eat anything?

A: There is no strict rule as such. As per anecdotal evidence, you may wait for 15 to 20 minutes before eating anything else.

Can you drink coffee after drinking lemon water?

A: Yes, you can. Give a gap of 15 to 20 minutes, though.

Can drinking lemon water make you pee more often?

A: There is a possibility. Though research is limited, certain individuals who take lemon water report more washroom visits. You may want to try lemon water for a day and check for yourself.


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Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the digital media field for over six years. He has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University. He considers himself a sculptor born to chip away at content and reveal its dormant splendor. He started his career as a research writer, primarily focusing on health and wellness, and has over 250 articles to his credit. Ravi believes in the great possibilities of abundant health with natural foods and organic supplements. Reading and theater are his other interests.