I’ve been drinking warm lemon water—or my fancier version: My Morning Elixir—for nearly a decade now. Starting your morning off with a warm glass of tangy water is a great way to kickstart your body’s systems after a long slumber. In fact, you’d get a lot of benefits by just drinking warm plain water right after waking—but adding lemon to the mix is even better!
If you suffer from any kind of intestinal sluggishness, adding lemon water to your routine is a great way to make sure your digestion gets started first thing in the morning—and can really help things move along. I’ve struggled with life-long constipation, and after years of trying different remedies, I was amazed by how well regularly drinking warm lemon water in the mornings helped (among other things—another post for another time).
Lemons are nutritional powerhouses, but are often overlooked for daily consumption because of their sourness. And when they are used, they are paired with so much sugar that it counterbalances the positives. Now, I love a good slice of lemon meringue pie as much as the next gal, but that pie isn’t going to nourish your body in the same way that regular consumption of unsweetened fresh lemon juice will.
Since my Lyme diagnosis, I’ve increased my intake of lemon water to beyond my morning routine. Lemon helps to optimize our body’s natural detoxification systems—which is great news for someone like me who is trying to flush out an invader from my body. Even if you aren’t fighting an illness, I highly recommend adding lemon water to your day. Here are some reasons why:
- Digestion. Lemon naturally assists the body’s digestive process. Drinking lemon water in the morning “jump starts” the body’s digestive system after the long overnight dormant period.
- Purification. Lemon is a natural antiseptic and helps to flush impurities out of the system. This means healthier skin, healthier hair and nails, and a generally well-functioning body.
- Neutralization. While lemons taste acidic, they actually have akalizing properties once inside our bodies. The typical American diet is very, very acidic, so the lemon helps to balance this acid.
If you want to try lemon water, I highly recommend using organic fresh lemon juice instead of the bottled stuff. While the stuff in a jar might be great for adding tangy flavor to your hollandaise sauce, it isn’t the best choice for medicinal or nutritional purposes. They use extremely high heat to process the juice and make it shelf-stable—and that high heat kills a lot of the beneficial enzymes in lemon. Fresh is the way to go (plus it tastes better, in my opinion).
I tend to mix up my personal routine when it comes to lemon water. Sometimes I keep it as simple as squeezing half a lemon into a mug of hot (filtered) water and sipping on it while I check my email in the morning immediately after I wake up. If the sour lemon is just a bit too much for me to take at 5am, I’ll put a few drops of honey in just to balance.
Sometimes I make My Morning Elixir. Sometimes I make a big batch of lemon infused water and sip on that all day. And most recently, I’ve been squeezing a full lemon into a quart of fresh ginger tea that I sip on before breakfast every morning. No matter which way I drink it, I make sure I get lemon water in every day.
A word of warning: Lemon can be damaging to your teeth enamel (more so with concentrated juice than fresh lemons). I’ve asked my dentist about this, and he said there is no problem as long as you have good teeth health and aren’t directly sucking on lemons everyday. He did recommend that if you are concerned, you can use a straw to help deflect the lemon water from your teeth. If you have any teeth issues, I recommend chatting with your dentist before regularly consuming straight lemon water.
Some things I’ve observed as a lemon water drinker:
- I had to give up coffee recently (I’m so sensitive to caffeine—even the caffeine in decaf), and warm lemon water in the mornings helps satisfy the desire for something warm and cozy in the morning.
- I can definitely feel my digestion engine jumping to life when I drink water. Usually I can wait 2-3 hours after waking up before I start feeling very hungry. If I drink lemon water as soon as I wake up, my tummy starts growling almost immediately after finishing my glass.
- It’s helped with my chronic constipation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, they assign a time-of-day to each organ in the body—the time when it’s most active. For the colon, it is between 5-7am—which just happens to coincide with when I wake up and drink my lemon water. When I start to get constipated again, I can almost always trace it back to two things—not drinking my lemon water and not taking my magnesium supplements.
- Recently, whenever I’m suffering from a herxheimer reaction (that is: a die-off reaction from killing Lyme bacteria), if I increase my lemon water intake, it really helps to alleviate some of the symptoms. This is because water in general, but more specifically lemon water, really helps accelerate the body’s natural detoxification.
Overall, I think that drinking a few cups of lemon water in the morning is such a small and enjoyable change that everyone should try it out!