A few years ago, my pilates teacher introduced me to "cleanse water" with lemon and cayenne pepper, which has become part of my daily routine. Plain water has never been my thing, and this combination makes it much easier to up my intake.
Variations of this lemon and cayenne drink are nothing new. In fact, this tonic has actually been around since the 1940s!
So, does it work? Well, anecdotal evidence and lemon water advocates claim that drinking this cleanse water will help your body get rid of toxins, lose weight, and enjoy improved energy.
In terms of actual science, though, there is little compelling research to support the efficacy of detox cleanses or even the need for internal cleansing [source]. It is the liver and kidneys’ job to rid the body of toxins, and they're great at what they do best!
Still, there are plenty of reasons to be drinking lemon water. For one thing, it’s tasty! And one of the most effective ways to actually support your body in its natural detoxification process is to be well-hydrated, so lemon water is perfect for that.
10 Reasons You Should Be Drinking Lemon Water
1. Lemon juice and cayenne pepper are both immune boosters; the extra vitamin C from the lemon juice helps your immune system cope when you're stressed [source]
2. Cayenne contains carotenoids with their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties [source]
3. Lemons can help soothe indigestion
4. Being well-hydrated fights hunger and sugar cravings
5. Cayenne pepper improves circulation, so your cells get more nutrients [source]
6. Lemon is packed with antioxidants that keep your skin healthy [source]
7. Lemon water can help fight gingivitis and keep your breath fresh
8. If you're trying to cut caffeine in the morning, a mug of hot lemon water can help you wean off
9. Lemons contain flavonoids that have been seen to have antibiotic effects [source]
10. Lemon extracts were shown to be calming to the body [source]
How to Make Cleanse Water
My go-to infused water recipe is the juice of half of a lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper added to water (hot or cold). Add a few chopped slices of ginger for more detox and weight loss benefits (yes, please!).
I usually make lemon juice ice cubes because I cannot get my act together enough to actually squeeze a lemon before coffee.
You can add a tablespoon or so of honey for a touch of sweetness. I'll make a big water bottle of this in the morning and drink throughout the day.
It's perfect for banishing afternoon sugar cravings—definitely my biggest weakness! My goal is 64 ounces of water per day, but I'll be honest, I'm pretty happy when I finish 32 ounces.
What are your tricks for drinking more water?
Easy Cleanse Water Recipe
- Glass of water or mug of hot water
- ½ lemon
- dash cayenne pepper
- few slices chopped ginger optional
- 1 tablespoon honey optional
- Squeeze half of a lemon and add a dash of cayenne pepper to your water, then stir. Add in ginger and honey if desired.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon, M.D., a university-trained obstetrician/gynecologist with 19 years of clinical experience. Learn more about Hello Glow's medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Photos by Ana-Maria Stanciu424