Lemon water has established its place as the most important step in my morning routine. No exaggeration. If I’m going out of town, I prepare and bring all necessary supplies just to ensure I get in my morning lemon water. It’s that great. I’ve personally experienced both long and short term benefits from drinking lemon water every morning including: better digestion, improved skin clarity/texture, and greater hydration. It turns out I’m not alone. Research has shown many benefits to drinking lemon water and hydrating in the morning:
- Cleanses the colon and improves nutrient absorption
- Supports digestion
- Alkalizes the body
- Prevents and treats kidney stones
- Increases production of new blood and muscle cells
- Boosts metabolism
- Promotes healthy skin
- Balances the lymphatic system
Me holding my (probably) 500th glass of lemon water
Importance of hydrating in the morning
Technically speaking, we wake up every morning a bit dehydrated. We slept during the night without drinking any water (unless of course you’ve mastered the ability to sleep and drink at the same time). So in the morning, it’s helpful to replenish with some liquid hydration. By this time, our stomach is usually empty from its “fast” throughout the night (unless of course, you’ve also mastered the ability to sleep and eat at the same time).
On an empty stomach, our body’s digestive system is at rest. Especially the pyloric sphincter, a muscle that connects the stomach and small intestine. The pyloric sphincter (#9 in the image below) functions like a valve that controls the digested food coming out of our stomach and into our small intestine. When ingested food fills our stomachs, the pyloric sphincter contracts, enabling the food to stay in the stomach until it’s sufficiently digested. This process ensures proper breakdown of food particles before nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine.
#9 is the pyloric sphincter
So in the morning on an empty stomach, the pyloric sphincter is relaxed and open, because there’s no food in the stomach that the valve needs to contain. So what does this mean for your morning glass of lemon water? Well, that water can pass through the stomach and into the small intestine with ease. The small intestine is actually where 90% of water absorption takes place, so hello instant hydration!
This is why drinking liquids in the morning can feel like you are “flushing out” as the consumed liquid flows through to your intestines, pushing any residual matter out of the colon. In other words, it can help you poop!
Adding lemon juice is like the cherry on top. Lemons are high in vitamin C (an antioxidant), which is why some people put lemon juice on food to keep them from oxidizing (i.e. keeping apples from browning). According to cronometer, the juice of 1 lemon contains 25% of your daily vitamin C intake (for a daily diet of 2,000 calories).
So to recap, what is the benefit of drinking lemon water on an empty stomach?
1) Flushing out stagnant matter from the digestive tract
2) Water and the vitamins from the lemon can be absorbed easily into the bloodstream
Lemon water recipe:
- squeezed lemon juice (I use a citrus juicer)
I prefer a big ratio between water and lemon juice, as too much lemon juice can be unpleasant to gulp down. I personally combine three cups of water with the juice of half a lemon. But experiment with the ratio that feels right to you! Quick tip: drink lemon water through a reusable straw if you are worried about citric acid on your teeth (this is what I do).
Other resources to nerd out on:
Check out this awesome video for a brief overview of the digestive system…sometimes I just can’t believe how magical our bodies are…
What’s the most important step in your morning routine?