A recent new trend focusses on the potential health benefits of drinking coffee with lemon. Proponents claim that the mix helps melt off fat and relieves headaches and diarrhea.
Since coffee and lemon each have multiple proven health effects, you may wonder whether drinking the two together offers any additional benefits. This article reviews the evidence on coffee with lemon to either validate or debunk the claims.st
A drink with two common ingredients
Coffee and lemons are two common ingredients found in almost every kitchen.
Coffee — one of the most consumed beverages worldwide — is made by brewing roasted coffee beans (1Trusted Source).
Coffee and lemons pack multiple health benefits
Both coffee and lemons have many proven health benefits, which are predominantly associated with their high content of antioxidants. These are molecules that protect your body from the harmful effects of excessive amounts of free radicals (5Trusted Source).
— Stephanie. (@junior88fan09) March 29, 2020
Here’s an overview of the benefits that each has to offer.
Evidence-based benefits of coffee
Roasted coffee beans contain over 1,000 bioactive compounds, but caffeine and chlorogenic acid (CGA) stand out as key active compounds with antioxidant capacity (6Trusted Source).
The two have been shown to activate pathways that protect against cancer growth, linking coffee to a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including liver, prostate, endometrial, breast, gastrointestinal, and colorectal cancer (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
Evidence-based benefits of lemon juice
Lemons are a great source of vitamin C and flavonoids, both of which act as powerful antioxidants (14Trusted Source).
Both vitamin C and citrus flavonoids have been linked to a lower risk of specific cancers — namely esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and breast cancer (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Read more: Is coffee actually good for gut health?
Also, both compounds offer protection against heart disease, while vitamin C protects your immune system and helps fight infections (15Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
Popular claims about drinking coffee with lemon
There are four main claims about the benefits of drinking coffee with lemon.
This is what science has to say about them.
Claim 1. It helps melt off fat
This notion is prevalent among various trends that involve the use of lemon, but ultimately, neither lemon nor coffee can melt off fat.
The only way to get rid of unwanted fat is either by consuming fewer calories or burning more of them. Thus, this claim is false.
Coffee — one of the most consumed beverages worldwide — is made by brewing roasted coffee beans
However, studies show that coffee may help you lose some weight, which is why some people may experience a slight weight reduction upon consuming the drink.
Recent research has found that caffeine may stimulate brown adipose tissue (BAT), a type of metabolically active fatty tissue that decreases with age and can metabolize carbs and fats (12Trusted Source).
Claim 2. It eases headaches
Headaches and migraines have been ranked worldwide as major contributors to disability in those under 50 years old (25Trusted Source).
Hence, it’s common to find multiple home remedies for their treatment. Still, research is very divided when it comes to the use of coffee for this purpose.
One hypothesis suggests that the caffeine in coffee has a vasoconstrictor effect — meaning that it tightens your blood vessels — which reduces blood flow toward your head and relieves the pain (26).
Coffee with lemon downsides
As is the case with their benefits, the downsides of drinking coffee with lemon are due to the drawbacks of each ingredient.
For instance, evidence suggests that heavy coffee drinkers may become addicted to caffeine, which is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a clinical disorder (37Trusted Source).