Several cuisines like the Mediterranean and Levant regions use olive oil and lemon juice, in their regular cooking. But did you know there is a folk remedy that involves drinking olive oil and lemon juice before bed to offer a range of health benefits?
Let’s talk about if there is evidence to support the claimed health benefits of drinking olive oil and lemon juice and discuss these ingredients’ nutrition and benefits.
Nutrition of Lemon Juice
A freshly squeezed cup of lemon juice contains (1)
- 53.7 calories
- 0.85 grams of protein
- 0.59 grams of fat
- 16.8 grams of carbohydrates.
Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, and is a good source of flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoids, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous.
Nutrition of Olive Oil
- 120 calories
- 14 grams of fat
- More specifically, 73% of the fat is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid.
It is also rich in vitamins E & K, and polyphenols. Polyphenols have antioxidant properties that protect us from harmful compounds called free radicals in our body (2).
Mediterranean Dietary Pattern
The Mediterranean diet is both appetizing and nourishing due to its being full of rich components including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats.
Lemons and lemon juice are frequently used in salad dressings and as a condiment with meals. It’s also linked to several benefits including ones that may improve kidney and, liver functions, strengthen the heart, and regulate blood sugar levels (4).
Health Benefits Of Drinking Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
You may have read that this natural remedy that drinking olive oil and lemon juice before bed leads to health benefits. Such claims consist of it being a detox drink, a treatment of gallstones, constipation, and other potential benefits.
Let’s dive into each claim to understand the evidence. Most research studies show that pairing lemon juice and olive oil doesn’t enhance each other’s benefits. Thus, the below claims are based on the nutrients found in olive oil and lemon juice separately.
Drinking lemon and olive oil drinking can affect hydration because you are drinking water and electrolytes which help improve the detox systems of the body.
Both lemon juice and olive oil have excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The phenolic compounds present in lemon juice and olive oil reduce oxidation and inflammation with their antioxidant compounds (6).
While lemon juice is a strong source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, it is unlikely to significantly strengthen the immune system when consumed alone or combined with olive oil.
That being said it has bioactive compounds that can contribute to improved immunity with its antioxidants and mineral components (7).
In general, both olive oil and lemon juice are known as gut-friendly foods. Drinking lemon juice can also improve hydration as it provides electrolytes to the body.
Additionally, olive oil feeds the gut microbiota or good bacteria in your gut, which helps improve digestive issues by strengthening the good bacteria.
When you first get up, drinking water can improve hydration after not drinking all night long, and staying hydrated can help achieve weight loss.
Adding lemon to your morning cup of water can be more appealing than drinking plain water which may entice you to drink a cup of water before your morning coffee.
Kidney Stones and Gallstones
There is some evidence that lemon juice consumption can have a protective role in treating kidney stones due to its high citrate content (9).
But there is no evidence about treating gallstones with the combined mixture of olive oil and lemon juice.
Nutrients present in both ingredients are anecdotally reported to reduce fatigue syndromes, and there may be some evidence to that.
Olive oil and lemon juice contains vitamin C improves energy level by boosting metabolism (10). Whereas Oleic acid present in olive oil is known to stimulate the central nervous system thereby improving moods (11).
Improves Blood Pressure
Olive oil contains large amounts of antioxidants and has numerous cardiovascular health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and protecting LDL particles from oxidation, as well as preventing diabetes mellitus (12).
It is one of 39 foods that can lower blood pressure.
Higher level of flavonoids and vitamin C present in lemon juice helps to lower blood cholesterol level.
Thus, drinking olive oil and lemon juice can significantly increase their benefits of managing cholesterol (14).
Impacts Blood Sugar
Adding lemon juice to foods can lower the glycemic index of the meal (15). Thus, it reduces the glycemic response of the food and doesn’t spike blood sugars as much as food without lemon juice.
How To Consume Lemon Juice And Olive Oil?
Is it safe to drink olive oil and lemon juice?
There is no research to say you need to drink lemon juice and olive oil together to receive the above benefits. But that being said there is no harm either.
Instead of drinking lemon juice and olive oil, I prefer to use them as a salad dressing. Drizzle your salad with a mixture of one part olive oil and one part lemon juice. This can add flavor and some healthy fats to your meal.
Although it is safe to drink olive oil and lemon juice, its important to discuss some side effects.
Due to its strong acidity, lemon juice may aggravate heartburn in those who already have GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Also, olive oil does contain monosaturated fats, when consumed in large quantities it can be high in calories and may lead to weight gain if you don’t reduce other food consumption.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Commercially Processed Lemon Juice Have The Same Effects As Fresh Lemon?
Commercially processed lemon juice has the same effects as fresh lemon. The nutritional value between processed lemon juice and freshly squeezed lemon juice is the same hence they possess the same health benefits.
The only difference is that the processed juice is concentrated, which means that after the fruit has been drained and dried, the water content has been removed.
When Should I Drink Olive Oil And Lemon Juice?
There is no specific time that you should drink olive oil and lemon juice. Most people prefer to drink this mixture early morning on an empty stomach. I also read drinking olive oil and lemon juice before bed can be soothing. But there is no research to confirm one way is better than the other.
How Often Should I Drink Olive Oil and Lemon Juice?
For better absorption of nutrients, it is advisable to consume olive oil and lemon juice on an empty stomach to receive the most benefits and it is not recommended to drink this mixture more than once a day (15).
How Much Olive Oil And Lemon Juice Should You Drink?
It is important to note that consuming large quantities of lemon juice and olive oil doesn’t guarantee more benefits. Like this recipe below it is suggested to try 1 tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tsp of olive oil.
One of the best ways to consume olive oil and lemon juice together is vinaigrette. Check this out Vinaigrette recipe to get started.
While both olive oil and lemon juice have individual health benefits there is no concrete research evidence to support the statement about the combined benefits of drinking olive oil and lemon juice together.
Most research studies quoted in this article are small or conducted on animals. Thus it is essential to remember that more studies on humans are required to confirm more benefits.
That being said this duo is an excellent choice for adding flavors to salad dressing and can safely be consumed this way!
This article was written by Srikaa Kasilingam and medically reviewed by Veronica Rouse, MAN, RD, CDE.