Drew Barrymore started her healthy New Year's resolutions a little early this year. Always a provider of accessible content (think beauty and fitness tips, a motivational mantra, and the occasional culinary or craft project), the entrepreneur, talk show host, and forever icon has been highlighting a few small things she's started doing to kick 2021 off on a good foot. One of her latest gems? Sharing the benefits of lemon water on her Instagram posts.
An admitted iced tea enthusiast (she shares that she typically starts her day with super-cold glass of the stuff), Barrymore has recently been trying to sub in a large glass of lemon water instead. This simple healthy habit came at the recommendation of her "old guru" Kimberly Snyder, author of The Beauty Detox Foods (the star held up a Post-It-filled copy to prove her devotion).
Barrymore mentions lemon water's use in Eastern and Ayurvedic medicine, and Taylor Stolt, Functional Medicine Registered Dietitian at Plate and Canvas, adds that the drink has an even more expansive history as a healer. "In the 11th century during The Crusades lemons were brought into Europe, and by the 1400s lemons and other vitamin C-rich foods were valued because they could prevent scurvy," Stolt says to TZR. "Lemon water's ability to support detox may have stemmed from Ayurveda, which used lemon water to reduce 'ama' (toxins in the digestive tract). Another hypothesis is that lemon water benefits were discovered by ancient Romans — only privileged Romans would get their hands on lemons and other citrus fruits because they were treasured for their healing powers."
In contemporary times, wellness experts still value lemon water's benefits, whether you're sipping a hot cup as a morning coffee substitute or — like Barrymore — downing a room temp jar full. The temperature and time of day is a personal choice, Stolt explains. "I personally love drinking warm water first thing in the morning but I recommend finding a time and temperature you enjoy," she says. "Drinking lemon water at any temperature any time of day is better than not drinking lemon water at all." For more on the specific health benefits you can expect from drinking lemon water daily, see ahead.
The Benefits Of Lemon Water: Detoxification
"Lemon water boosts detoxification thanks to its limonene and citric acid content," Stolt says. "Limonene is a powerful antioxidant that promotes both phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification. Research shows citric acid can protect liver function and protect against oxidative damage."
The Benefits Of Lemon Water: Digestion
According to Stolt, lemon water has the ability to boost digestion in two main ways. "Lemon water's natural acidity can supplement stomach acid levels, which can be low from age, stress, and increased intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut)," she explains. "Lemon water can also stimulate the gallbladder to release bile, a fluid that breaks down fat in the digestive tract."
The Benefits Of Lemon Water: Hydration
Finally, drinking more lemon water means, well, drinking more water in general, and increasing your hydration has a trickle down effect that benefits the whole body, inside and out. "Drinking lemon water can also increase your overall fluid intake, which is helpful for many aspects of health including appetite regulation, digestion, skin health, cardiovascular health, and exercise recovery," Stolt says.