Does drinking lemon water in the mornings do wonders for your health?

We asked a trio of experts

17 September 2019 - 13:14 By Sanet Oberholzer
If nothing else, drinking lemon water will give you a dose of vitamin C.
If nothing else, drinking lemon water will give you a dose of vitamin C.
Image: 123RF/Dolgachov

At some point, you are bound to have heard of the benefits of drinking water with lemon on an empty stomach in the morning. From being an immune booster to acting as a detoxifying agent and helping with weight loss, lemon water has been made out to be a health wonder - but is it really?

We asked three experts. Here are their responses:


Registered dietitian

I doubt there is any firm scientific evidence for it. If putting lemon in your water helps you at least drink water then it’s doing good!

Drinking water in the morning is probably the most important time, as it’s the time when the urine is most concentrated, so it’s a good time to give the kidneys a flush.

Although lemon is acidic, when it is metabolised it becomes alkaline and so might help with heart burn and reduce acid reflux symptoms. It’s also a decent dose of vitamin C. 


Registered dietitian at Alta Kloppers & Associates

Many advocate the health benefits of drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice in water. Most of these said benefits are purely anecdotal and seldom based on scientific research.

The following benefits of lemon juice, however, are based on fact:

being a citrus fruit lemons, and therefore lemon juice, are high in vitamin C which has various important health benefits.

Lemon juice contains citrate, a compound of citric acid that occurs naturally in citrus fruits, which inhibits the formation and growth of kidney stones. It is general practice, and advised to patients suffering from kidney stones, to drink freshly squeezed lemon juice in a glass of water in the morning.

Besides advising patients with kidney stones to drink the lemon juice in the morning, the benefits of drinking lemon water pertain to the advantages of ingredients in lemon juice, and not to the timing: in the morning or on an empty stomach.

Drinking hot beverages first thing in the morning helps in initiating peristalses (contractions of the muscles in the digestive tract) due to the stimulating effect of warm temperatures on gastrointestinal motility, irrespective of the lemon added.


Registered dietitian

Drinking water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning has many benefits such as helping digestion and helping remove or flush out toxins from the body which can ultimately help prevent the formation of kidney stones.

The vitamin C in lemon water helps rejuvenate the skin and the water keeps you hydrated, leaving your skin supple and glowing.

Lemon water first thing can also help target bad breath as it stimulates the production of saliva which prevents the mouth from becoming dry, which may cause bad breath.