Sipping on a hot cup of honey lemon water is tasty and soothing.
It has also been promoted as a healing elixir in the health and wellness world. There are claims that this drink can help melt fat, clear up acne and “flush out” toxins from the body.
Both honey and lemons have many health benefits, causing some to wonder if this combination is also beneficial to health.
This article investigates the evidence on honey lemon water.
Two powerful and natural ingredients
Both honey and lemons are popular foods typically used to flavor dishes and drinks.
Honey is a thick, sweet liquid produced by honey bees and some other similar insects, though the type produced by honey bees is the most well-known.
It is a natural substitute for processed sugar and has some therapeutic uses, such as treating skin wounds and burns.
Lemons are citrus fruits primarily produced for their tart juice. The pulp and rind can be used as well.
Most health benefits of this tangy fruit come from its high levels of vitamin C and other beneficial plant compounds.
It is a common belief that combining these two ingredients in a drink can help with many common ailments, including digestive issues, acne, and weight gain.
While honey and lemons have many potential health benefits and practical applications, not all claims about honey lemon water are backed by science.
Summary: Honey and lemon are popular ingredients with some health benefits. However, not all health claims about combining honey and lemon are supported by science.
Science-backed health benefits of honey
Honey is one of the oldest foods in the world. It has been a food and medicine for thousands of years, even as far back as the stone age.
It is often used as a natural substitute for processed sugar in baking, cooking, and beverages and has medicinal uses.
Honey has been linked to a few science-backed health benefits, but it’s important to note that most are associated with the raw, unfiltered type.
This is because high-quality, unfiltered honey has more beneficial compounds and nutrients than processed, filtered honey.
Honey can promote burn and wound healing
Honey has been used as a skin treatment for wounds and burns throughout history.
There is evidence that ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used honey to treat skin ailments.
Many studies have shown that honey has powerful healing properties when applied to the skin.
Honey has a therapeutic effect on many types of wounds, including burns.
In a review of 26 studies that included over 3,000 people, honey was more effective at healing partial-thickness burns than conventional treatments.
Additionally, honey may be an effective treatment for diabetic foot ulcers.
Diabetic ulcers are open sores or wounds that are common complications of poorly controlled blood sugar.
Several studies have shown that honey increases the healing rate in these types of wounds.
It is thought that honey’s healing properties come from the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds it contains.
Studies suggest that honey may have a protective effect against over 60 different species of bacteria.
Honey may suppress coughs in children
Honey is a popular treatment for colds and coughs, especially in children.
Not only is honey a flavorful ingredient to add to teas and other drinks, but its use as a cough treatment in children is backed by science.
It can be challenging to convince a child to take a dose of unappealing cough medicine, making honey a tasty alternative.
Several studies have shown that giving sick children honey may reduce coughing and improve sleep quality.
Suggested read: 10 health benefits of green tea with lemon
One study found that a dose of honey was more effective than cough medicine at suppressing coughing and improving sleep in children and teens with upper respiratory infections.
Another study found that honey reduced cough severity and frequency in young children with respiratory infections.
While honey may be an effective and natural option for treating coughs in children, it should never be given to children under one year of age due to the risk of botulism.
Summary: Studies have shown that honey may treat wounds like burns and diabetic ulcers and help reduce coughing in children with upper respiratory infections.
Science-backed health benefits of lemons
Lemons are famous for their tart juice and zesty rinds.
Lemon juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and contains small amounts of B vitamins and potassium.
Lemons also contain beneficial plant compounds like citric acid and flavonoids and are associated with health benefits.
Lemons may help prevent kidney stones
Kidney stones are hard lumps in one or both kidneys when high levels of certain minerals accumulate in the urine.
A plant compound in lemons called citric acid may help prevent kidney stones.
Citric acid binds to calcium oxalate crystals and inhibits crystal growth.
Lemons have the highest amount of this natural kidney stone inhibitor of any citrus fruit.
Some studies have shown that drinking lemon juice and lemonade can prevent kidney stones, though more research is needed.
Lemons may help reduce heart disease
Citrus fruits are packed with heart-healthy nutrients, and lemons are no exception.
The high amount of vitamin C and plant compounds in lemons may reduce certain risk factors for heart disease.
One study in over 10,000 people associated a higher intake of citrus fruits with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Suggested read: 6 impressive health benefits of lemons
Lemon juice may help reduce high cholesterol levels as well.
In animal studies, a plant compound found in lemons called limonin has been shown to reduce triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Lemons contain beneficial compounds
Lemons are high in the antioxidant vitamin C and other plant compounds that may help reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Excess free radicals in the body can damage cells and contribute to diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Just one ounce (28 grams) of lemon juice contains 21% of the recommended vitamin C intake.
A diet high in vitamin C may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer, like esophageal cancer.
These tart fruits also contain powerful plant compounds called flavonoids.
Eating foods rich in flavonoids may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes and even prevent cognitive decline.
Summary: Lemons contain nutrients and beneficial compounds that may help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, esophageal cancer, and diabetes. Lemons may also help prevent kidney stones.
Mixing honey with lemon water may improve health in several ways
Both lemons and honey provide health benefits that are backed by scientific studies.
Combining the two in a tasty drink may have some advantages as well.
Below are some health claims about honey lemon water backed by science.
It may help with weight loss
Drinking more water, including honey lemon water, may help you lose weight.
Several studies have shown that increasing your water intake can increase your metabolism and cause you to feel fuller, both of which can help you shed pounds.
What’s more, hydrating with honey lemon water may help you maintain a healthy weight.
One study, including 10,000 participants, found that those who were not correctly hydrated were more likely to be overweight or obese than adequately hydrated participants.
What’s more, drinking honey lemon water can help fill you up before meals, reducing overall calorie intake.
Swapping high-calorie, sugary sodas and other sweetened drinks for honey lemon water may also reduce calories and sugar.
For example, a 12-ounce (253-gram) can of soda contains 110 calories and a whopping 30 grams of sugar.
On the other hand, a 12-ounce serving of honey lemon water made with one teaspoon of honey contains around 25 calories and 6 grams of sugar.
Suggested read: 7 science-based health benefits of Manuka honey
If your honey water contains less sugar than the beverages you would otherwise drink, it might help you consume fewer calories and lose weight. Significantly, it depends on how much honey you add to your water.
It may be helpful when you are sick
Due to the soothing qualities of honey and the high amount of vitamin C in lemons, drinking honey lemon water may be beneficial when you are feeling under the weather.
Vitamin C plays a role in keeping your immune system healthy.
For example, vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells that help your body fight infection.
Also, some research suggests vitamin C can reduce the length of the common cold.
Honey has been shown to reduce the severity and frequency of coughing in children with upper respiratory infections, though its effect on adults is unknown.
Plus, a warm mug of honey lemon water is a soothing remedy for a sore throat and pleasant to drink when feeling sick.
It can improve digestive health
Being adequately hydrated is essential for keeping your digestive system healthy.
Dehydration can cause constipation, a common problem in children, pregnant women and the elderly.
Adequate fluid intake is essential for keeping stools soft and preventing constipation.
Drinking honey lemon water may help ease constipation by hydrating your body.
Flavored beverages like honey lemon water can be especially helpful for hydrating children who do not like to drink plain water.
Some research suggests that raw honey may benefit the friendly gut bacteria that help keep your digestive system healthy and in balance.
For example, one study found that mice supplemented with raw honey had increased amounts of the beneficial bacteria Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus.
However, more research is needed.
Summary: Honey lemon water may benefit your digestive health and help you lose weight. It can also be a soothing drink when under the weather.
Popular health claims that are not backed by science
While drinking honey lemon water may provide a few benefits, many claims about this drink have no scientific evidence.
- Flushes out toxins: No scientific evidence supports using honey lemon water to rid the body of toxins. Your body effectively detoxifies itself using the skin, intestines, kidneys, liver, respiratory, and immune systems.
- Improves acne: Honey is beneficial when applied directly to the skin, but no evidence drinking honey lemon water can help prevent or treat acne. Added sugar intake from honey can make acne worse.
- Melts fat: The popular claim that honey lemon water “melts fat” is false. The best way to lose excess body fat is by eating a healthy, well-rounded diet and increasing the number of calories you burn.
- Boosts cognitive performance: Some people claim that drinking honey lemon water can improve memory or boost brain function. However, there is no scientific evidence to back such claims.
Summary: There is no scientific evidence to support claims that honey lemon water can improve cognitive performance, boost brain function, melt fat or clear up acne.
How to make and use honey lemon water
Making honey lemon water is simple.
Mix the juice from half a lemon and a teaspoon of raw, high-quality honey into a hot or warm water cup.
This beverage is most commonly consumed hot but can also be chilled and enjoyed with a few ice cubes.
You can adjust the amounts of lemon juice or honey to suit your taste. However, remember that honey is a source of calories and added sugar.
Honey lemon water can be enjoyed at any time of the day, including as a relaxing pre-bedtime drink.
Because it contains lemon juice, rinsing your mouth with plain water after drinking this beverage is essential to help neutralize the acid and prevent tooth enamel erosion.
Summary: Honey lemon water is easy to prepare and can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
Honey lemon water is a tasty and soothing beverage with some health benefits.
It’s a good option for those looking for a lower-calorie alternative to sodas and other sweetened beverages.
Drinking honey lemon water may also be helpful when you have a cold or upper respiratory infection.
Suggested read: 10 science-based health benefits of grapefruit
However, there’s no scientific evidence to back claims promoting the use of honey lemon water to detoxify the body, melt fat, clear up acne or boost brain function.
While honey lemon water is an enjoyable beverage, it shouldn’t replace plain water in your diet.