I Drank Lemon Water Every Morning for 30 Days & Noticed These 5 Life-Changing Effects
Thirsty? Well, before you go reaching for the nearest sweet tea or soda, remember that the added sugars in these drinks may provide some short-term satisfaction, but also can come with long-term impacts on your health, including increasing your risk for obesity and diabetes. Arguably, the simplest shortcut to healthy hydration is pouring a good old fashioned glass of H2O. But—if I can be frank—plain water can taste a bit boring and "blah." Sure, it's not the worst-tasting drink in the world. But if you're like me and love having a burst of flavor in every sip, the flat taste of regular water can sometimes make those other less-than-healthy drink choices seem that much more appealing while parched. However, lemon water—that is, a glass of water accompanied by a fresh lemon wedge or two—can be a great hydrating solution when plain water begins to lose its allure.
Introducing lemon wedges to your water may seem like a minor means to simply elevate the taste of your H2O, but research also suggests that drinking lemon water can actually provide a host of health benefits, as well. For starters, adding an ounce of lemon juice to your water can reportedly yield over 10% of your daily vitamin C requirement. In addition to being a rich source of vitamin C, lemons are also high in other nutrients—like B vitamins, potassium, and folate—that can be conducive to reduced inflammation, healthy blood pressure, muscle recovery and repair, cell damage repair, immune system support, and even weight loss.
Sick of drinking basic "blah" glasses of water and curious about the extent of lemon water's potential effects on the body, I wanted to know what would happen if I tried drinking lemon water in lieu of plain H2O each day. As it turns out, when it comes to drinking lemon water, the juice—along with the pulp and peel—might actually be worth the squeeze.
Over the course of 30 consecutive days, I drank between 8–12 cups of lemon water per day starting around 9:00 am, per the recommended guidance on the amount of fluid intake women need each day. To facilitate consistency, I measured everything out and also drank my lemon water from mason jars indicating how much was in each glass with every sip or new pour. For every cup of water I drank, I would squeeze at least one ounce of lemon juice in, then drop 1/4 of the lemon into my glass—pulp, rind, and all.
Between 9:00 am and noon, I would make certain I drank a minimum of 4 cups of lemon water. Then, I would carry on drinking lemon water as needed throughout the day, usually having an average of 10 total cups of lemon water overall before hitting the hay each evening.
Other than incorporating lemon water into my diet, nothing else about my usual routine changed. Though some side effects of drinking lemon water every day surfaced in subtle ways, others became more readily apparent as the days continued onward. Here are some of the bigger changes I noticed in my body throughout the month.
Improved hair, nails, & skin health
Like many people, having a thick, healthy mane of hair, naturally resilient nails, and smooth, bright, clear skin are physical qualities that, though achievable, require more effort to maintain with age. Though research has shown that vitamin C can support healthy collagen production, which plays into skin, nails, and hair quality, I did not expect that a little bit of lemon juice could make such a big impact in only 30 days!
I personally pay particularly close attention to the rate at which my hair grows relative to the amount of breakage and split ends I have. Although my usual washing and styling routine did not change, I measured nearly a half inch of new hair growth at my roots by the end of the month. Historically, my nails also tend to be more brittle and susceptible to uncomfortable breaks during the winter. However, they appeared far more durable during this time, and as someone who prefers to keep my nails on the shorter side, I found myself needing to file or trim them about every three or four days.
What I was especially pleased about was the effects drinking this much lemon water each day appeared to have on my skin. Tonally, it was more visibly even and smooth. In fact, I didn't experience a single breakout during this period, even when I recognized the onset of other hormonal shifts related to my monthly cycle that would typically trigger sort of reaction. While out grocery shopping (and under grotesque florescent lighting), a stranger even approached me to comment on my skin's brightness and even tone, and asked me what skin products I used. Flattered, I told them the truth: "Nothing but a little SPF and lots of lemon water."
More intuitive portion control & better blood pressure
I've always been a healthy eater, but my weight loss struggle has always stemmed from portion control. My eyes can get bigger than my stomach, and I also hate letting food go to waste—so, I tend to overserve myself. However, the more lemon water I drank, the less I felt enslaved to a voracious appetite. Portion control came naturally, and I didn't feel as though I was having flavor FoMO (aka, "fear of missing out") on any delicious food combinations set before me. This led to feeling less bloated or needing to engage in healthy damage control able to help me feel less full after eating too much. (Though, I did find myself running to the bathroom more often to urinate.)
Though I didn't experience major weight loss by the end of the month—only shedding just under two pounds—I still consider this a win, because I was able to keep it off without even trying. Also, although I typically have high blood pressure, my blood pressure readings never clocked above 122/83 mmHg the entire month.
Less muscle cramping & speedier recovery
At least once every few weeks, I'll find myself waking up in the middle of the night with abhorrent charlie horse cramps in my calf muscles that can shock me straight out of bed. However, this did not happen at all while I was engaging in this experiment. Additionally, (and please forgive me if this is TMI), I have notoriously bad bouts of PMS that arise each month without fail. Though overall symptoms can vary, experiencing cramps, bloating, skin breakouts, and fatigue about a week before the real mess kicks off has been par for the course for me since I was a teenager. Worst of all, this cramping further intensifies until my new cycle officially begins. However, this go around, I had virtually no PMS symptoms whatsoever. Though I did experience some cramping once "aunt Flo" did eventually show up, it was relatively mild compared to the pain I was typically accustomed to enduring during my time of the month.
Another unexpected revelation is that, toward the end of my 30 days, I took a nasty fall down a steep set of stairs. After losing my footing, I slipped backward, and my shoulder blades hit every step on the way down until crumpling onto the final landing like a rag doll. As soon as I stood up, I immediately felt tenderness and swelling from where my back made contact with—according to my friends who witnessed this—about eight steps. However, there were no visual signs of bruising, which was a great relief—but unusual for me. Typically, the wind can change, and I'll bruise like a peach. Best of all, within 48 hours of taking this tumble, the tenderness and sharp pain I initially felt had essentially gone away entirely.
Now, when this incident first happened, I wasn't sure how much all the lemon water I had been drinking really influenced this quick rebound. Though drinking more lemon water was only new element in my regular routine, it still seemed like a bit of a stretch. However, after doing a bit more research and speaking with Dr. Beth McCampbell, MD, a physician at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, about the incident, I realized the two could be more connected than previously assumed.
"It's possible that because you were so well hydrated, your tissue was less fragile," explains Dr. McCampbell. "Think of it like bubblewrap: The more—in this case, fluid—in the bubblewrap, the more protection you have. So those blood vessels are protected, and also your bruising is less visible."
"It's like when you have dark circles under your eyes," she adds. "Facials aim to plump up and hydrate that skin, so you don't see what are basically your blood vessels through thin, less-elastic skin."
So, while my ego may have been bruised as I hobbled away from the stairs mortified, my body was not—at least, not for long anyway, thanks in part to lemon water's ultra-hydrating abilities.
Because I tend to be slow to rise, I was initially reluctant to believe that lemon water could provide a sufficient energy boost for me in the morning. But starting my day with a little lemon water did provide an extra pep in my step to get me going. Now, was the energy boost provided lemon water comparable to that which I could get from a cup of coffee or even green or black tea? Absolutely not. But I did notice that drinking more lemon water in the morning caused me to drink less of my usual caffeinated go-tos, which probably also played into my healthier blood pressure readings, too. I also found that my usual afternoon slumps post-lunch were fewer and further between the more lemon water I drank.
More motivation to stay hydrated
An obvious outcome, I know—but it's still worth noting that an added twist of lemon did encourage a more a consistent intake of fluids during this experience. You've probably heard from many a healthcare provider that the best drink to provide you with healthy hydration is a good old-fashioned glass of water. After all, our bodies are comprised of approximately 60% water, so it makes sense that the most effective beverage to quench your thirst would be the one that also directly replenishes those fluids essential your body's ability to function. This is perhaps why I've generally maintained a somewhat apathetic and clinical perspective on maintaining consistency with my daily water consumption. Like brushing my teeth or washing my hands, drinking enough water each day is just something I've always been conditioned to do to ensure I'm physically and mentally on top of my game each day.
However, my daily target for the minimum amount of lemon water consumed each day was based on the standard recommended amount of water consumption experts suggest women have every day. So, this really forced me to take a closer look at and be accountable for my daily drinking habits—and coupled with the benefits of an extra boost of vitamin C and potassium via the lemons, my appreciation for the healthy powers of hydration has definitely grown. Hopefully, my positive experience with drinking lemon water every day will inspire you to reassess your own habits, too.