I Drank a “Detox Drink” Every Morning–Here’s What Happened
I’m a fairly healthy person — I exercise as much as I can, try to eat food that is good for me, and get in my 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blessed with strong immunity against getting sick. I suffer from bouts of IBS and have terrible hormone imbalances that make me fall ill at least once a month. As a result, I’ve found myself obsessing over personal health hacks a little too much.
Enter: the “detox drink” experiment. Namely, a hot lemon, honey and ginger concoction that I decided to challenge myself to drink every morning after waking up.
According to the Edison Institute of Nutrition, drinking hot lemon water on an empty stomach provides powerful antibacterial properties, helps fight infections, and acts as a detoxifying agent. Another scientific study touts ginger for its functional properties, which can treat a wide range of diseases via immunonutrition and anti-inflammatory responses.
Studies have also found that consuming high-quality honey provides your body with several important antioxidants.
Though I am skeptical of fads, after reading up on the effects of these individual ingredients and the benefits of morning detox drinks, I decided to give it a go.
Why are morning detox drinks a thing?
Detox drinks, when drank on an empty stomach, are meant to flush out your system first thing in the morning. In the case of the lemon, honey and ginger tea, it is meant to cleanse and alkalize the body, and it’s supposedly a great immune system booster too.
In her book ‘The Detox Cookbook and Health Plan’, Maggie Panell explains that ‘detoxing is an ancient therapy that has been practiced in various forms for hundred years. It is believed to cleanse the digestive system and help the body eliminate waste products and various toxins absorbed from the air, soil, water and food as well as toxic substances produced by the body itself.”
Flushing out the system with a morning drink is also used in Ayurvedic practices, an alternative medicine system originating from India. In Ayurvedic philosophy, it is believed that the first thing you ingest will set the mood for the rest of your day. According to the Yoga Journal, “The warm water serves to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis — the waves of muscle contractions within the intestinal walls that keep things moving.”
The challenge: Drink lemon, honey and ginger tea every morning on an empty stomach
It was pretty simple, I’d wake up and head to the kitchen straight away to put water on the boil. I would slice around a thumb of fresh ginger, add it to a mug along with the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of honey, topped off with hot water.
Honestly, it wasn’t really a challenge, because it was so quick to do and didn’t take much time out of my morning routine. After making the drink, I’d get on with my morning exercise routine and sometimes drink it during, as it's cooling down.
I noticed that throughout the month, I really enjoyed the drink and in a way felt “cleansed” afterwards, as if I was drinking something very healthy to start my day with. It certainly put me in a better mood and gave me a “boost” each morning.
After a month of drinking my morning detox drinks every morning on an empty stomach, here’s what happened:
- My poops became super regular, and no surprise there since lemon is a natural laxative. 15 minutes after I drank the detox drink, the bathroom would call. This pretty much happened every day on the dot.
- My gut became less inflamed and I wasn’t as sensitive to certain foods as I normally was. As an IBS sufferer, flare-ups happen at least once a month. I noticed that it didn’t rear its ugly head during the month of the experiment, and most likely, it was because of the ginger.
- I generally felt healthier and went most of the month without feeling sick. Hooray! I also started taking cold showers and doing exercise every morning for at least 10 minutes, so it may well be a combination of all those things put together.
Conclusion: Drinking a detox drink every morning might have health benefits
I couldn’t tell you that this is a magical cure to all that ails you, and there is certainly limited scientific evidence out there in support of detoxing your body in the morning with such drinks.
However, I do think that waking up and rehydrating your body this way, in combination with a healthy lifestyle, will bring some improvements in the way your body functions. Especially in terms of bowel movements and inflammation.
Regardless, drinking a large glass of water as soon as you wake up is recommended in order to rehydrate your body after sleeping, so why not spice it up a little by adding lemon, honey and ginger. If anything, it’s enjoyable to drink and you’ll be starting your day off with a delicious, warming beverage this winter.