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How much lemon should I put in my morning water?

Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning has become a popular health trend. Proponents claim that it can help improve digestion, increase energy levels, boost immunity and promote weight loss. But how much lemon juice should you actually put in your water to reap these benefits? Here is a comprehensive look at how much lemon you should add to your morning water, the potential benefits and some tips for making it taste great.

Recommended Amount of Lemon Juice

Most nutrition experts recommend adding the juice from half a lemon (approximately 1 tablespoon or 15ml) to a glass of warm or room temperature water. This provides a good balance of flavor and health benefits. Some key points on amounts:

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) of fresh lemon juice per 8 ounces (250ml) of water is commonly recommended.
  • The juice from half a medium lemon equals about 1 tablespoon (15ml).
  • A whole lemon squeezed into water may be too much for some people’s tastes.
  • Start with half a lemon and adjust according to your personal preference.
  • Drink your lemon water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach for optimal benefits.

Adding the juice from just half a lemon to your water is enough to get these advantages without overpowering the flavor. But feel free to experiment to find your perfect ratio.

Potential Benefits of Lemon Water

There are several evidence-based health benefits associated with starting your day with lemon water:

Promotes Hydration

Lemons add flavor to water, which may help you drink more and stay better hydrated. Proper hydration is linked to improved mood, energy levels, metabolism, skin health and brain function.

Boosts Immune Function

Lemons are high in vitamin C, providing 51% of your daily needs in just 1 tablespoon (15ml) of juice. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that stimulates the production of white blood cells, vital for fighting infection and illness.

Aids Digestion

The citric acid in lemon juice has alkaline effects in the body and helps stimulate digestive juices like saliva and bile. This can aid digestion, especially first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

Supports Weight Loss

The pectin fiber in lemons may help keep you feeling full for longer. And drinking cold or warm lemon water has been shown to temporarily boost metabolism, promoting weight loss. Lemon water also replaces calorie-laden morning drinks like juice, soda or coffee.

Protects Against Kidney Stones

Citric acid helps prevent calcium kidney stones by binding with calcium in the kidneys and flushing it out through urination. It may also break up small kidney stones that are beginning to form.

Freshens Breath

Lemon water neutralizes odors and helps freshen “morning breath.” The citric acid kills bacteria that cause bad breath, leaving your mouth feeling clean and smelling great.

So drinking lemon water first thing in the morning may set you up for better health and wellbeing throughout your day.

Tips for Making Morning Lemon Water Taste Good

To make your lemon water more palatable and enjoyable, here are some useful tips:

Use Warm or Room Temperature Water

Cold water with lemon juice can be quite tart and shocking to your system first thing in the morning. Instead, use room temperature or warm water to help mellow the flavor.

Add a Teaspoon of Honey

A small amount of raw honey balances out the acidity and adds natural sweetness. Honey also comes with its own health benefits and antioxidants.

Squeeze Some Lemon Zest

Add a teaspoon of grated lemon zest along with the juice to provide aromatic lemon oils that enhance the flavor. Just avoid using any of the bitter white pith beneath the zest.

Mint Leaves or Slices of Cucumber

Adding some torn fresh mint leaves or sliced cucumber provides a touch of natural sweetness and balances the sour lemon flavor.

Ginger Root

For an extra spike of flavor and health benefits, add some freshly grated ginger root. Ginger also aids digestion and nausea.


A sprinkle of cinnamon enhances lemon water with its sweet woody taste and powerful antioxidant properties.

Frozen Lemon Slices or Lemongrass

For chilled lemon water, try adding some frozen lemon slices or fresh lemongrass stalk to your glass. As these thaw, they infuse the water with intense citrus flavor.

Experiment with different add-ins to create your own perfect morning lemon water. Tailor it to your personal tastes and dietary preferences.

Should You Drink Lemon Water at Night?

Most experts recommend drinking lemon water first thing in the morning, but what about at night before bed? There are a few things to consider when deciding if evening lemon water is right for you:

  • Acidity – For some people, the citric acid in lemon juice can cause heartburn or worsen gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) when consumed before lying down.
  • Bladder Stimulation – The acidity also has a mild diuretic effect, meaning nighttime lemon water could stimulate urination and disrupt sleep.
  • Tooth Enamel – Lemons are acidic enough to erode tooth enamel over time. Brushing after drinking lemon water minimizes this risk.

That said, drinking a small amount of diluted lemon water at night may not be problematic for most people. The vitamin C content could even give your immune system a boost while you sleep.

Those with digestive issues or sensitive teeth may want to avoid lemon water close to bedtime or reduce the amount of lemon juice used. Have it at least one hour before laying down. And be sure to rinse your mouth afterwards.

Some benefits like aiding digestion, hydration and metabolism support happen no matter when you drink lemon water. But for energy levels, fresh breath and weight loss, morning on an empty stomach seems to be best.

Negative Effects of Too Much Lemon Juice

While lemon water is full of benefits, more is not necessarily better. Consuming very high amounts of lemon juice each day could potentially cause:

  • Tooth Erosion – As mentioned, lemon juice is acidic and can wear away enamel over time. Use a straw and rinse your mouth after.
  • Heartburn – Excessive acidity from high lemon juice intake can aggravate acid reflux in susceptible people.
  • Kidney Damage – Oxalate in lemons can accumulate in people prone to kidney stones and potentially cause damage over time.
  • Migraines – Large amounts of citric acid could trigger migraines in those predisposed to them.
  • Sensitivity to Sun – Certain compounds in lemon peel oil can make your skin more vulnerable to UV damage from the sun.

So be sure not to go overboard with the lemon juice in your quest for better health. Around 1 tablespoon (15ml) per glass is plenty to get the benefits without risking the negative effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about making lemon water:

Should lemon water be warm or cold?

Warm or room temperature lemon water is best, especially if drinking first thing in the morning. Cold lemon water can be a shock to your digestive system.

Should I use filtered water?

Yes, using filtered water removes impurities and chlorine, resulting in better tasting lemon water. Avoid tap water with high mineral content which can leave deposits.

Is it best to drink lemon water before or after breakfast?

For optimal digestion and energy boost, have it 20-30 minutes before breakfast. It stimulates your digestive system and hydrates you after sleep.

How much lemon juice equals one lemon?

One medium lemon yields about 3 tablespoons (45ml) of juice. Lemon juice amounts: 1 tbsp = 1/2 lemon, 2 tbsp = 1 lemon, 3 tbsp = 1.5 lemons.

Should I use lemon juice or squeeze in fresh lemons each time?

Freshly squeezed lemon juice each morning will give you the most nutrients, flavor and health benefits. Pre-squeezed juice lacks freshness.

Can I drink lemon water after a workout?

Yes, lemon water after exercise helps replenish electrolytes and hydrates you. It provides potassium lost through sweat. Just avoid very cold water which can cause stomach cramps.

What is the best time to drink lemon water?

Most experts recommend first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to boost energy and digestive health and support weight loss.


Starting your morning with a glass of warm lemon water containing the juice from about half a lemon is an easy and delicious habit that provides a range of health benefits. Lemons help hydrate, promote weight loss, boost immunity, aid digestion and freshen breath.

Add a squeeze of lemon zest, ginger, honey, mint or other herbs and spices to enhance the flavor and properties. Be careful not to overdo the lemon juice as too much acidity can erode tooth enamel and trigger reflux.

Drink your lemon water every day when you first wake up. After a few weeks, you should notice improvements in your energy levels, digestion, skin appearance and more. Simply sinking into this simple morning routine can set a positive tone for your whole day.