The Basics

Why I Drink Hot Lemon Water Daily Medical Medium Health Benefits How Not to Die Dr Greger Chef AJ Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge SOS Free Vegan What the Health

Are you ready for the world’s easiest habit?

I like to think of this as the perfect healthy starter-habit.  Because it’s cheap, simple and effective.

Not to mention it can have amazing positive impacts on your health.

I’m a big believer in sharing the strategies that I’ve found helpful on my nutritarian journey.  I present them to you as tools that you can explore, implement and analyze whether they have a positive impact in your own life and health goals.

I’m going to share:

  • why I started drinking hot lemon water
  • the health benefits of drinking hot lemon water
  • a simple hot lemon water recipe

Why I Drink Hot Lemon Water Daily Hello Nutritarian Fresh fruit storage Medical Medium Starch Solution Kitchen Storage IdeasWhy I Started Drinking Hot Lemon Water

If you hang out with me on Instagram you probably already know that we have a lemon tree in our backyard and I’m smitten.

Now, this has always been a really great thing since we bought our house in 2013 because so many of my nutritarian recipes use lemon juice.

But at the beginning of last year I decided I wanted to step up my game.

It took me almost 4 years to get my nutrition in order.  From 2013 to mid-2016 I was trapped in the on-again-off-again merry-go-round of relapse.  I was trying to turn my nutritarian “diet” into a real sustainable part of my life.

During that time I was 100% focused on experimenting and learning how to make this my forever lifestyle.  And that singular (and honestly daunting) pursuit left little time to develop the other areas of my health.

But by the end of 2017, having created and implemented my prep program–eating nutritarian had become a solid and dependable habit in my life.

I could finally, and very-proudly say: “nutrition: check.”

And that meant I was ready to start developing new health-promoting habits that would work in tandem with my nutritarian lifestyle to level up my physical and emotional health.

I went into 2018 with a mission to improve my circulation, increase my strength and better manage my stress.

And that’s when I found out about the incredible benefits of drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning.

Here’s a super-quick video of what this habit has looked like for me in the past year:

If you like what you saw and you’re ready to learn even more about this health practice, let’s dive deeper into the amazing health benefits of drinking hot lemon water daily…

How to Make Hot Lemon Water Health Benefits Easy Recipe Medical MediumHot Lemon Water Increases Circulation

One of the first resources I encountered at the beginning of last year was a book by Jame Hesket, M.D. called The Well Path.

The Well Path lays out a 6-part approach to overall wellness that begins with improving your circulation.

Now, to understand how circulation works we’re going to have to get technical (a.k.a. here comes the science-y stuff).  Let’s overview the information Dr. Hesket lays out in The Well Path so you can better understand how hot lemon water supports your circulation.

Understanding Circulation

Your circulatory system is crucial for fat loss and healthy aging (The Well Path, p. 58).

There are two parts of your circulatory system: (1) your bloodstream and your (2) lymphatic system.

Blood Circulation and How You Free Your Fat

Your bloodstream carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell of your body.  But it also carries liberated fat from your fat cells.

Guys, really pay attention here, because this is the juiciest stuff–this is the how fat gets released by your body (a.k.a. how your fat cells shrink)…

When your body senses a need for energy your fat cells leak free fatty acids and glycerol (a sugar molecule).  But for that “freed fat” to be mobilized via the bloodstream and sent to the liver to be metabolized, your body needs healthy blood vessels interspersed among your fat stores.

If all you have is small, weak blood vessels among your fat deposits, all that leaked out fat from your fat cells just gets “slurped right back into [your] fat cells” (The Well Path, p. 59).

Your fat is trapped.  Even though it doesn’t want to be.

And that’s not fair.

But that’s not the end of the circulation story…

What is Lymph?

Blood is pumped through your arteries, veins and capillaries.  And when it gets to down to the smaller capillaries a special fluid is squeezed out.  That special fluid is called lymph and it’s main job is to sweep up toxins and cellular waste (The Well Path, p. 60).

Your body seriously thinks of everything, amiright?

So what does lymph clean up exactly?  It cleans out our individual cells.

Each individual cell takes in nutrients and oxygen.  After those goodies are processed the cell is left with waste that it needs to get rid of.  And lymph is right there to to take that waste away for your cells.

Before dirty lymph rejoins your bloodstream your kidneys, liver and intestines filter it out.  It passes out with the rest of our waste excretions (think stool, urine, sweat and saliva).

But lymph doesn’t have a heart that manually pumps to keep the show rolling along.  And problems arise when slow-moving or stagnant lymph gets trapped in the spaces between your cells (The Well Path, p. 60).

Health Benefits Drinking Daily Hot Lemon Water Medical Medium How Not to Die Dr Greger Hello NutritarianHow Hot Lemon Water Helps

Hot lemon water primes your circulatory system first thing in the morning.  Before you add in another load to be processed, you can give your body an invigorating wake up call to get the ball rolling.

And it can all be broken down to 3 simple elements:

  1. water
  2. hot
  3. lemon

Water is pure hydration.

“Hydration in and of itself boots circulation and gets fluids moving faster through the body.  Picture a trickle through a drainpipe versus an overflowing gutter.  A big glass of water in the morning instead of dehydrating coffee will make you feel like a fresh dewy rose.” (The Well Path, p. 63)

Now hold on just a second before you get defensive about your daily cup of joe.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned over 6 years of helping readers get healthy it’s no one likes to give up coffee.  And I’m not suggesting that you do (unless you’re ready to go for health-excellence-gold right out the gates).

But what I am suggesting is that you don’t have your coffee first thing.  Because it’s putting a toll on your body instead of giving it a lovely, morning system-salutation.

It’s like taking a few minutes for a restful morning stretch in bed instead of sleeping through 5 alarms and rushing out the door, hands full, and your keys hanging from your mouth.

Hotter is Better.

“Whenever heat is near a blood vessel, it opens and expands.  Drinking hot water before your first bite of food increases blood flow to your gastrointential system, preparing it to absorb the nutrients you put in afterward.”  (The Well Path, p. 63)

So, let’s check in for a second.  Could you get massive health benefits from just drinking hot water first thing in the morning?  Absolutely!  You’d be hydrating your body which gets those fluids rolling and  you’d be opening up those blood vessels priming them for maximum nutrient absorption.

So, there you go!  The simple act of warming up a mug of water and drinking it first thing in the morning is going to do incredible things for your health.

But why not double-down all the goodness by adding in lemon?  What makes lemons so special anyway?

So glad you asked…

Hot Lemon Water Benefits The Well Path Medical Medium Dr Greger How Not To Die The Starch Solution What the Health Hello NutritarianLemons Are Magic

So we’ve got the water, we know we want it hot, but what’s all the hype about the lemons?

Is all this attention justified?

You bet.

“The lemon has many wonderful properties that are beneficial for digestion, PH balance, nutrition, and detoxification, and it makes your hot water taste great.” -Dr. Jame Heskett, The Well Path, p. 63

But it wan’t enough for me to just hear it from Dr. Heskett.

Dr. Fuhrman lists lemons in his book, 100 Best Foods for Health and Longevity.

And Dr. Greger sites studies showing lemons cut DNA damage by a third in his video Which Fruits and Vegetables Boost DNA Repair.

And it’s not just the vitamin C in the lemons that’s responsible for the DNA protection because the researchers removed it just to be sure.  Vitamin C is just one of thousands of different phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables.

In the DNA damage studies, lemons were found to cause a dramatic drop in cancer proliferation at just tiny doses.

Finally, in Anthony William’s book Medical Medium Life Changing Foods, we get further confirmation that lemons (and limes) are the real-deal when it comes to superior nutrition, mineral bio-availability, and organ detoxification.

Here’s what lemons (and limes) can do according to William’s work:

  • ultra-hydrating and electrolyte-producing because they’re a top source of mineral salts and trace mineral salts, containing bioavailable sodium
  • most highly absorbable vitamin C
  • they contain specialized phytochemicals called limenoids that bond together vitamin C and calcium creating alkalinity in the body that helps prevent the growth of almost every type of cancer
  • cleanse the liver, kidneys, spleen, thyroid and gallbladder
  • they purge the many toxins we accumulate from exposure to plastics, synthetic chemicals, radiation, and poor food choices

So, what’s happened to me over the past year that I’ve been sipping on hot lemon water?

I feel pretty darn magnificent.

Now there’s a lot of things at work making me feel that way, most important of which is nutritional excellence following a nutritarian lifestyle.  But I absolutely know that the increased circulation I’m getting from my morning hot lemon water has helped me release even more fat this year.

I’ve never been a coffee drinker but I can attest to the fact that hot lemon water wakes me up in the morning with a tart pucker and is infinitely more enjoyable than hot water alone.

But probably the most interesting bit of information I discovered in researching my daily hot lemon water practice is this:

“Once detoxification has drawn the gunk out of your cells and tissues (your liver does much of its work overnight), it needs to be flushed out when you wake up–otherwise, those toxins settle back in.  Lemon or lime water is more beneficial for this process than plain water, because filtration has often taken the life out of drinking water, and these citrus stars reawaken its healing abilities.”

– Anthony Williams, Medical Medium Life Changing Foods

How to Make Hot Lemon Water Health Benefits Easy Recipe Medical Medium
5 from 10 votes

Simple Hot Lemon Water

Cultivate this simple, cheap and effective habit to increase your circulation and over-all health.  Here's an easy recipe to get you started!

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Servings 1
Author Kristen Hong


  • 1/2 to 1 lemon
  • 8 to 10 ounces water


  1. Heat water over stove top or in a microwave-safe mug until just before a rolling boil.  For microwave, about 120 seconds on high.

  2. While water is heating juice the lemon.  Use 1/2 lemon if you weigh less than 150 pounds use the whole lemon if you weigh more than 150 pounds. 

  3. Pour lemon juice into mug with hot water and stir well.  Drink with the temperature as hot as possible. 

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

You can use lime juice instead of lemon juice, if you prefer, and still retain most of the health benefits (the only question would be DNA-damage repair properties).

I like to batch-prep my lemon juice for the week.  Buy a 1-pound bag of lemons for the week and juice at once.  If you follow this approach you'll want to add 2 tbsp. as the equivalent for 1 whole lemon.  And 1 tbsp. as the equivalent for 1/2 lemon.

Lemon or lime juice will last for 2 months (or more) when properly stored in a glass Mason jar in the fridge. 

Right bout now you might have some questions about coffee or tea, if so you can read up my FAQs here to learn more about those topics when you’re following the nutritarian lifestyle.

Did you find this article to be helpful for you?  Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Let’s live better together!
xo, Kristen
Kristen Hong of Hello Nutritarian

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  • Melanie says:

    Can you use bottled lemon juice?

  • Kim says:

    I am so glad you shared this info. I had veen drinking lemon water for a while and my dentist strongly suggested i stop. Have you noticed any isues with your tooth enamel?

  • Jane Davidson | Typically Jane says:

    Well, I’m officially off to buy all the lemons I can find! Such great information.

  • Sally says:

    Could you use bottled lemon juice?

  • Elizabeth Read says:

    THANKS so much Kirsten – hot lemon drink sounds great AND achievable.
    I appreciated your “medical” info as well – it all makes good sense!
    After an indulgent Christmas with sugary popcorn, potato chippies and so on, I had already decided to cleanse my system… shopping yesterday consisted of fruit & veg, eggs, salmon & chicken… a good start Your article was well timed THANKS

  • Diana says:

    I have been drinking hot water and lemon in the morning for years. Had no idea of the benefits to my circulation. My lemon tree is heavy with lemons right now! I’m so lucky. I just start juicing and freezing in ice cube trays.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Diana!

      So wonderful to have a lemon tree isn’t it? So happy to hear that you’ve already developed this amazing habit!

      xo, Kristen

  • Gayle Lucas says:

    Thank you so much for this great information! I use to drink lemon water every day, but in my ice water, not hot water, and not first thing in the morning. I’m going to start having that first hot cup every morning now!

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Gayle,

      Well lemon in any form is wonderful for you but warming up that water will give you a lovely circulation boost! So happy to hear you’re going to give it a try!

      xo, Kristen

  • Colleen says:

    Thanks for the post. What do you think about just slicing lemons into the hot water (to save a step from juicing) and keep things simpler (from my perspective). Also, what do you think about simply incorporating lemon into my green tea? It’s so hard to get Dr. Greger’s daily dozen or Dr. Fuhrman’s GBOMBS in every day – I am trying to get the best of both by putting lemon into the green tea.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Colleen,

      I think including fresh lemon is only going to be a plus in whatever form best suits you!

      xo, Kristen

  • Angie Allen says:

    This is new info for me and I will be implementing it this week. I usually have a cup of herbal hibiscus tea in the morning (supposed to be good for blood pressure) and will defer it until after the hot lemon water. I enjoy your blog very much for it’s great info and enthusiastic presentation. I recommend it to everyone interested in becoming more healthy. Thanks!

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Angie!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review and comment on this article!

      It’s so lovely to hear you’re finding the site helpful and thank you so, so much for sharing with others–that is the highest compliment I can receive!

      xo, Kristen

  • Angie says:

    This is a great idea; thanks! Love the blog!

    • Kristen Hong says:

      So lovely to hear that Angie! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

      xo, Kristen

  • Jessika Leonard says:

    I’ve been off caffeine for awhile but switching from my decaf/Teechino concoction to hot lemon water in the morning has been great. It’s been about 10 days now and I really am enjoying the flavor and the energized feeling I have. Another bonus of the hot lemon water is that I am less tempted to eat something sweet for breakfast. Coffee and pastries/carbs are a delicious but not nutritious combination. The hot lemon water is tasty all by itself. I just drink the entire mug and then prepare my nutritarian breakfast without any temptations. Win-win!

  • Heidi says:

    This is timely! for me, and has some new information I didn’t know. I had been in the habit for awhile, and then somehow fell out of it … Back on the wagon! So many fine reasons to do it, and it feels good, too!

    One caution about your teeth, though: you need to rinse your mouth with plain water afterwards, to protect them from the acids!

  • Dr. Jamé Heskett says:

    Hi Kristen! So thrilled that you read my book The Well Path and found it inspiring! Can’t wait to try some of your recipes ! Love everything about this and so happy to see you bringing a practical and yummy plant based lifestyle to others. All my best
    Dr. Jamé Heskett

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Dr. Heskett,

      Thank you so much for creating your amazing wellness resource, The Well Path. It has been one of the tools I’ve used to round out my nutritarian lifestyle and focus on the many other areas of wellness!

      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely and encouraging comment!

      Wishing you a fabulous 2019!

      xo, Kristen

  • Lara Willingham says:

    I love this article, Kristen! Thank you! I notice that the lemon affects the enamel on my teeth, so I put the juice of one lemon in a glass of water and drink it with a straw. Then I have a cup of plain hot water. It seems to work well for me and my teeth! I love all of the benefits you listed here. I started drinking lemon water first thing in the morning when I learned that I have osteoporosis, and that bone growth occurs best in an alkaline environment. So, I changed my diet to include the most alkaline foods I could find, lemons being among them, along with all of the delicious greens we eat! It’s a win win situation. So happy to be a nutritarian, and I love, love, love your books and website! Thank you for your great work!

    • Kristen Hong says:


      Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with drinking lemon water daily! I did not know that it helped with osteoporosis, that is really wonderful to hear!

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us and it’s so lovely to connect with a fellow nutritarian!

      xo, Kristen

  • Lara Willingham says:

    I forgot to mention in my last post that I drink that first glass of lemon water with a straw, bypassing my teeth completely!

  • Terri Tobin says:

    I have been drinking hot lemon water for several years but have been having a problem with a queasy stomach after drinking it in the morning. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Terri,

      Not sure what it could be but it would be worth asking your doctor!

      xo, Kristen

  • Aline Love says:

    Thank you for this! Sorry if I missed it, but do you drink this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach or just anytime?

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Aline!

      Yes! I drink it first thing on an empty stomach!

      xo, Kristen

  • Kristy says:

    Thank you for explaining this! My brain sometimes needs the sciency stuff, cuz I need to know the reasons why I should, instead of “uh, that’s too much work” Mornings are so hectic for me trying to get out the door! Now I know I can make this a head of time and just nuke in the microwave! Thx!

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Oh I’m so happy to hear that you found this article helpful in starting up your daily hot lemon water habit! I’m a HUGE fan of “the sciency stuff” and it’s so wonderful to know that it is appreciated!

      xo, Kristen

  • Alyr says:

    So the esteemed Dr. Joel Fuhrman somehow doesn’t know about the secret magical lemon juice? I think as long as you’re promoting being Nutritarian on this blog you should not be promoting other junk science that Dr. Fuhrman does not agree with.

  • Brandie says:

    Would there still be benefits to drinking this at another time of day? (I honestly don’t think I’d be able to squeeze one more thing into my morning routine) Also, do you worry about the lemon juice affecting teeth enamel?

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Brandie,

      I think you’ll still get positive effects no matte the time of day!

      Enamel and tooth sensitivity hasn’t been an issue for me!

      xo, Kristen

  • Darci Froemming says:

    So excited I stumbled your page. I am a 50 year old full time mother and career woman who finally taking control of my weight and body.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      SO happy you made your way here, Darci! Wishing you all the best on your health journey!

      xo, Kristen

  • Manny says:

    What can I say…. Thanks!!!

    • Kristen Hong says:

      My pleasure!

  • Rachel Bartholomew says:

    Going to try that lemon water. Can you use the lemon juice from that plastic lemon shaped container you buy at the store?

    • Kristen Hong says:

      I’ve never tried it that way but if that’s what you have on hand give it a try!

  • Wendy Scott says:

    Hi I juice lemons and freeze in small muffin pans so i have on hand whenever i want. BUT my Dentist said i must stop with the lemon as it is not good for my enamel.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Wendy, so sorry to hear that your dentist doesn’t approve. I haven’t had a warning from my dentist yet but I do know that everything affects everyone differently.

  • Nancy Parris says:

    Hello, I just wanted to say I’m a senior and you brought back some important memories for me with your article. You see my father was a big believer in hot lemon water. Anytime we got sickly or had a cold he would pull out the saucepan and in would go lemons and water. He added honey for us kids but I always looked forward to that. Interesting and now I am going to revive this . Thank you .

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Nancy, thanks so much for sharing that memory with us! There was so much colloquial wisdom that has been lost over the decades and this emphasis placed on “experts,” I love that your dad was ahead of his time!

  • Jennie says:

    Wow I’m so so impressed. Looking forward to follow this program.. thank you for your kind heart for sharing and caring.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      So happy to hear that, Jennie–thanks so much or letting me know!

  • Susan says:

    Thank you for your recipe.
    Iwas not aware of weight and amount of lemon juice.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Susan, it’s just a general rule of thumb, but if you prefer it with more or less go for it!

  • Geoffrey Salakpi says:

    Thanks for this eye opener.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      So happy to hear you found it helpful!

  • Amanda Goldstein says:

    Hi! Love lemon water. But doesn’t Dr. Fuhrman advise against drinking hot liquids too often (promotes tongue and throat cancer).

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Amanda,

      Another reader just left a comment about this same thing, honestly I had never heard that from Dr. Fuhrman before.

      I’m not very tolerant of super-hot liquids so when I’m drinking this it has definitely been left to cool down for a good bit.

      Thanks so much for the new-to-me info!

      All the best,

  • Amanda Goldstein says:

    Hi Kristen, Dr. Fuhrman warns us not to drink hot liquids because they can cause tongue and throat cancer. Warm would have the same benefit as hot right? I just got my lemon juicer! Thanks for the blog post!

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Amanda,

      You know I had never heard that specific caution from him before but you’re the second reader to point that out to me.

      So, honestly, I can’t tolerate anything that’s too hot and I definitely wait until the lemon water has cooled before drinking it. I would say it’s more on the warm side for sure.

      Congrats on your new lemon juicer!

      xo, Kristen

  • Ginger says:

    I enjoy an 18 oz glass bottle of purified water and the juice of one organic lemon first thing every morning…very pleasurable…gets things going! My concern is the loss of Vitamin C if the water is hot.

    • Kristen Hong says:

      Hi Ginger,

      So happy to hear that you enjoy lemon water! It doesn’t need to be hot or warm, you can do what is best for you.

      Vitamin C is water soluble but in the literature I’ve read as long as you consume the “cooking liquids” you’re still getting the vitamin C. That being said, the nutritarian diet is already so rich in vitamin C that’s not one you need to worry about.

      For example, one red bell pepper has 152 mg of Vitamin C and the daily recommended range is between 75 to 120 mg.

      All the best,