There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that consuming boiled lemons can boost immunity, improve the skin, and even help people lose weight.

However, scientific studies into the nutritional values and health benefits of boiled lemons specifically are scarce.

Lemons are naturally high in vitamin C and several other vitamins and minerals, but boiling them may actually reduce the amount of nutrients they contain.

Keep reading to learn more about the nutritional benefits of lemons when boiled or mixed with boiled water.

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There are several possible health benefits associated with boiling lemons. The following sections look at some of these in more detail.

Improves the skin’s appearance

Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that protects skin cells from damaging free radicals, thereby reducing the signs of aging.

Some studies suggest that ingesting vitamin C helps the skin heal faster and minimizes scar formation. It may also stimulate collagen production, giving the skin a plumper, firmer appearance and minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.

Lowers blood pressure

Lemons are good sources of minerals that may help lower blood pressure, such as calcium and potassium. Experts recommend getting these key nutrients from the diet instead of taking them as dietary supplements, where possible.

A 2014 study from Japan suggests that a daily intake of lemon juice could lower blood pressure in middle-aged women. However, the study was complicated by the fact that the participants also took daily walks, which may have had more of an impact on blood pressure than the lemon juice.

An earlier 2012 study into the effects of lemon juice on blood pressure saw no significant difference in blood pressure readings after 2 weeks. However, the authors recommend further research, given the anecdotal evidence from people with high blood pressure suggesting that drinking lemon juice can help lower blood pressure immediately.

Boosts immunity

The vitamin C in lemons may help boost the body’s immune system, protecting it against respiratory infections.

For example, one 2017 review indicates that large doses of vitamin C (200 milligrams [mg] per day) could be effective in treating pneumonia and the common cold. It also suggests that maintaining an intake of around 100–200 mg of vitamin C per day could help prevent future infections.

The same review suggests that people who are more at risk of vitamin C deficiency, such as older adults, should ensure that they are getting enough vitamin C from their daily diet. A hot water and lemon drink may be one way to top up a person’s vitamin C levels.

Aids weight loss

Although there is no solid evidence to suggest that lemon water is any more effective than plain water at helping people lose weight, it is still a very low calorie beverage.

People who tend to prefer fruit juices and soda drinks to plain water may find that drinking lemon water in place of these beverages will help them lose weight faster.

Lemon water can also aid hydration, which can boost weight loss and reduce water retention.

Improves digestion

People with indigestion often report symptoms such as bloating and heartburn improving after drinking a glass of hot water and lemon. However, there is not a great deal of evidence to support the notion that lemon is the ingredient doing all the work.

That said, there is evidence to suggest that drinking warm water can have a soothing effect on the gut. One 2019 study in rabbits found that a daily dose of warm water helped reduce diarrhea. Also, a 2016 study in humans found that warm water helped improve bowel movements after surgery. So, it may be the temperature of the water, rather than the added lemon juice, that is helping digestion.

It is worth noting that the soluble fiber in the fruit may help by slowing the digestion of sugars and starches. However, this would involve eating the pulp of the lemon, not drinking the juice.

Most people prefer to add slices of lemon to hot water, or boil lemon in water, to create a lemony beverage. However, more and more people are discovering that boiled whole lemons can take the place of preserved lemons, adding flavor and texture to dishes.

Here are three alternative ways to prepare a boiled water and lemon beverage.

Method 1

  1. Cut a fresh lemon in half.
  2. Squeeze the lemon or use a lemon juicer to remove the juice, and discard any peel or pips.
  3. Add the strained lemon juice to a glass of freshly boiled water and allow it to cool before drinking.

Method 2

  1. Cut a lemon into slices or quarters.
  2. Add a piece of lemon to a freshly boiled cup of water.
  3. Allow it to cool before drinking.

Method 3

  1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil.
  2. Slice a fresh, washed lemon into quarters and add to the water.
  3. Boil for around 3 minutes.
  4. Allow it to cool before drinking.

People who find lemon water too bitter to drink may like to add a spoonful of honey to sweeten the taste.

People who prefer to use boiled lemon as an added ingredient to dishes may prefer to boil the lemon for longer. This may be for around 20–30 minutes, depending on its size.

One 58-gram (g) raw lemon (without the peel) contains the following nutrition:

  • 16.8 calories
  • 1.62 g of fiber
  • 30.7 mg of vitamin C
  • 15.1 mg of calcium
  • 0.35 mg of iron
  • 4.64 mg of magnesium
  • 9.28 mg of phosphorus
  • 80 mg of potassium

Lemons also contain the following vitamins and minerals in small amounts:

  • thiamin
  • vitamin B6
  • pantothenic acid
  • zinc
  • copper
  • manganese
  • riboflavin

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 75 mg of vitamin C for females older than 19 years and 90 mg of vitamin C for males older than 19 years every day. People who smoke need 35 mg more vitamin C per day than people who do not smoke.

It is likely that lemons have less nutritional value when cooked. Cooking certain fruits or vegetables can break down vitamins and minerals, which can leach into the cooking water.

People who are boiling lemons to eat the lemons whole may want to save the cooking water to use as an additional beverage.

Learn more about the health benefits of lemons here.

Many of the possible health benefits associated with drinking hot water and lemon tend to be anecdotal.

However, there is good evidence to suggest that the vitamins and minerals in lemons may have a positive effect on immunity and skin appearance. There is also limited evidence to support improved digestion.