Lemon coffee: Is it really a Drink that has Superpowers?

Lemon coffee power

The result of mixing two good things should be something even better. Combining these two foods, with proven health benefits, is very positive, although some effects are clearly overrated

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the globe. The data support this perception: 10 billion kilos of coffee are consumed per year (1.3 kilos per head). Spain is in 19th place in the world ranking in terms of consumption and each citizen drinks 4.5 kilos a year.

The benefits of coffee consumption have been demonstrated in different scientific studies. One of the works most comprehensive is the one developed by researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, which, after examining 34 articles on the effects potential harmful of coffee, concludes that drinking up to 5 cups of coffee a day , and people who do not smoke, is associated with less mortality.

Lemon is antibacterial and antifungal, and can protect against some types of cancer

On the other hand, lemons are another of the most consumed foods. For the 2019-2020 campaign, production was close to 8 million tons , of which more than one million correspond to Spain.

placeholderPhoto: Unsplash / @ blcksdz.
Photo: Unsplash /

Lemon is also associated with numerous health effects. It is an important source of vitamin C and minerals , along with many other beneficial plant compounds, which is why it has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties . A study from the University of Tunisia analyzed the antibacterial and antifungal properties of lemon extracts (obtained from the peel and pulp) and found that, indeed, the components of the lemon protect against infections but, in addition, they are powerful antioxidants , which makes them potential protectors against cancer. In addition, this high content of vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system .

The infallible recipe?

Crossing data, it is explained that drinking coffee with lemon is becoming a trend (in Valencia , the coffee of the time -coffee with ice and a lemon slice- is very popular), although the reason for this trend is not so much to take advantage of that high production as to benefit from its potential health benefits, such as relieving headaches, improving diarrhea or promoting fat loss, according to its proponents. The recipe is to add the juice of one lemon to a large cup (240 ml) of coffee.

What is true in that belief? Pulling from the scientific newspaper library, it is easy to dismantle some of the superpowers attributed to this drink (whose taste is, to say the least, surprising).

Headache relief

Headache is very common, so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers that half the population has had at least one headache episode in the last year. Therefore, there are many home remedies.

Some argue that the vasoconstrictive effect of caffeine reduces blood flow to the head and relieves pain. But excessive consumption can lead to a situation similar to that triggered by taking too many painkillers, so that instead of getting better, the headache makes it worse. Other researchers argue that caffeine, such as chocolate or citrus fruits , can be a headache trigger .

Therefore, drinking coffee with lemon is not an option to relieve headaches, and in any case, if there were any benefits, it would be due to the effect of coffee.

placeholderPhoto: Unsplash / @ alex_boyd.
Photo: Unsplash / @ alex_boyd.

Control diarrhea

The laxative effect that breakfast coffee exerts on many people is known, but beyond this fact, the truth is that caffeine affects anal contraction and favors the desire to defecate. Lemon water has been used to control diarrhea, but there is no scientific evidence to support it.

Therefore, coffee with lemon is not a good idea to mitigate diarrhea.

Helps dissolve body fat

Caffeine can be effective for weight loss. Specifically, caffeine stimulates brown fat (metabolically active) and accelerates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, which promotes weight loss.

Some research from the 1990s had already found that having a large cup of coffee increases the metabolic rate during the three hours after ingestion, increasing the calories burned up to 8–11%, which means that they can be burned 79 to 150 extra calories a day.

No relationship has been found between the effect of lemon and weight loss.

Therefore, coffee with lemon is not a ‘fat dissolver’. To lose weight, you have to increase energy expenditure and burn more calories than are ingested.

So what’s the use of drinking lemon coffee? Well, only for those who like the taste, because science does not support that it has superpowers.