Benefits of Lemon Ginger Tea, Nutrition Facts, and Healthy Uses
Now that cooler weather is here, warming up with hot tea is an easy way to get warm and cozy. Lemon ginger tea is a relaxing, caffeine-free, and nutrient-rich option.
Lemons are high in vitamin C and have strong antioxidant capabilities.¹ Ginger has been used as medicine for over 2,000 years.¹ It contains polyphenol components, allowing it to act as a strong antioxidant, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and basically an anti-any adverse health condition.¹
Pairing the two together produces a relaxing drink full of health benefits. The sour taste of the lemon and the sweet and spicy taste of ginger combine to make a tea that people across the world enjoy. You can purchase pre-made lemon ginger bags or make your own.
Lemon Ginger Tea Nutritional Profile
Lemon ginger tea will help you stabilize your glucose levels as you reap numerous other health benefits. Unsweetened lemon juice has a low glycemic index of about 20.² This is for a half cup of lemon juice, and typically half that amount is used in making lemon ginger tea. Ginger is also a low glycemic index food at 15 for about one cup of fresh ginger.³ Generally, a tablespoon of fresh ginger is used per cup of tea. The smaller portions and anti-diabetic effects of both will lead to an even lower glycemic index.¹
An 8-ounce serving of unsweetened lemon ginger tea from a tea bag provides no calories, fat, sugar, sodium, and less than 1 g of carbohydrates.⁴ When making your tea, there will be a slight increase as fresh lemon juice is used. Generally, a homemade cup of lemon ginger tea will be less than 20 calories and 4 g of carbohydrates.
What Is Lemon Ginger Tea Good For?
Immunity booster Both lemon and ginger are strong antioxidants that boost your immune system.¹ Research on ginger indicates it operates as an anti-inflammatory as well.⁵ While more research is needed to determine doses in humans, a study on rats inoculated with breast cancer cells showed that the daily consumption of lemon and ginger mixture caused tumors to shrink, preventing tumor growth in 50% of the rats and activating the immune system.⁶
Improves cognitive functions A flavonoid found in citrus fruit peels (lemons and limes) called nobiletin has shown anti-dementia and neuroprotective activity in animals. The study’s authors indicate the promising use of lemon peels in developing drugs to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.⁷
It helps reduce menstrual pain Research shows that women with severe menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) experienced relief when ginger was used in addition to pain medications.⁸ Relief from pain can help improve quality of life and mood.
Provides nausea relief Systematic reviews of ginger used to prevent first-trimester nausea and vomiting in pregnancy are promising and considered safe.⁹,¹⁰ Of the 14 studies reviewed, 8 showed a reduction in nausea during pregnancy.¹⁰ One study found ginger to reduce the incidence of vomiting for 47% of women after six days of use.⁹ The dosage recommended is 1 g of ginger per day. Professionals do not recommend that women close to labor, who have a history of miscarriage, or irregular bleeding use ginger.⁹ Nausea relief using ginger during chemotherapy has mixed results. Out of 16 trials, eight studies demonstrated a positive effect of ginger reducing nausea.¹⁰ If you experience nausea, try opting for ginger for some relief.
Supports weight-loss Ginger helps with weight loss, according to a systematic review of 14 studies. Supplementing with ginger led to significantly decreased body weight, lower fasting glucose levels, and reduced insulin resistance.¹¹ Citrus flavonoids found in lemons have also assisted with weight loss by improving insulin resistance and glucose levels. Intake of citrus flavonoids is associated with improved cardiovascular health as well.¹²
Enhances digestion Ginger helps to speed up the digestion rate or gastric emptying.¹⁰ This can help alleviate a full stomach and feeling bloated. Lemon extracts have also been found to increase gastric movement and reduce heartburn.¹³ Try starting your day with a warm cup of lemon ginger tea to help wake up your digestive system and prevent any irregularities. You may also find it helpful to have a cup after a meal.
Improves nasal congestion There are no solid research studies specifically studying lemon ginger tea and nasal congestion. But research (and your grandmother) recommend hot beverages, in general, to help reduce nasal congestion and thin mucous related to colds, flu, or allergies.¹⁴ Even a small amount of relief from annoying colds and stuffy noses is appreciated. Extra liquids will also help you stay hydrated when sick.
Prevents metabolic and cardiovascular diseases Ginger, in relation to metabolic syndromes, has been well-studied and shows improvement in lipid profiles, inflammatory markers, and diabetes markers. Ginger helps lower the risk factors (body fat, excess weight, waist circumference) for developing these diseases.¹⁰ Citrus flavonoids from lemon reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, preventing obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. As mentioned earlier, lemon-derived flavonoids help with weight loss and improve insulin and glucose levels.¹²
Lowers the effects of diabetes Both ginger and lemon reduce glucose levels and insulin resistance.¹⁰,¹² Rutin is a citrus flavonoid found to lower hyperglycemia and act as an antioxidant. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress, which is a factor related to diabetes complications.¹²
How Does Lemon Ginger Tea Affect Blood Sugar?
Lemon ginger tea helps to reduce blood sugar due to its strong antioxidant capacity. Individual antioxidants found in both lemons and ginger have exhibited the ability to lower glucose levels, reduce oxidative stress in the body, and support weight loss.
Avoid adding sweeteners like honey, sugar, or agave nectar, as they will add simple carbohydrates that are digested quickly and raise blood glucose levels. If you want to add a little sweetness to your tea, try adding in a pinch of stevia, allulose, or monk fruit. These sugar substitutes are unlikely to cause a blood sugar spike.
Are There Any Potential Side Effects?
While lemon ginger tea is generally regarded as safe for everyone to consume, individuals with certain medical conditions may need to limit how much they drink.
Excessive carb content (when consumed with added sugars) Drinking large amounts of sweetened lemon ginger tea could lead to elevated glucose levels in those with diabetes, so avoid the sweetener. Sweeteners can be in the form of honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, and table sugar. Look for 0 g of total carbohydrates on the food label to ensure you aren’t consuming hidden sugars from your sweetener.
Blood thinning Ginger can act as a blood thinner, so consult your physician if you are on blood-thinning medication. If pregnant, ginger is generally recognized as safe for use in the first trimester if there is no history of bleeding disorders, miscarriage, or early labor.⁹
Stomachache Ginger in large amounts (greater than 2 g) can cause a stomachache or heartburn.¹⁰ Limit intake to 1 g per day for prevention of adverse effects.
How to Prepare Lemon Ginger Tea
All you need to make lemon ginger tea at home is water, a fresh lemon, and fresh ginger.¹⁵
Lemon Ginger Tea
2 quarts (64 ounces) of filtered water
1/4 cup peeled lemon zest (with as little white as possible)
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine the water, lemon zest, and ginger in a large stainless saucepan.
Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.
Cover and steep for 4 hours.
Strain the liquid into a large pitcher and throw away the solids.
Stir in the lemon juice.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Serve hot or iced.
Save time by making this larger batch to enjoy throughout the week.
Tips for Consumption
Make it healthier by adding other anti-inflammatory spices and foods like garlic, turmeric, vinegar, or cinnamon. Garlic is a strong flavor, so the tea will still have significant health benefits even if omitted.
Brew green tea to use as the water portion of the lemon ginger tea to gain even more antioxidant power.
Drink it to prevent dehydration. Anything liquid at room temperature counts towards your fluid intake.
Serve it over ice in the summer and hot in the fall and winter.
Try lemon ginger tea to incorporate a healthy beverage into your weekly routine. This tea helps prevent high glucose levels and many diseases. Learn more about nutrition and weight loss with Signos’ science-backed advice. Signos helps you learn how your body responds to different foods and beverages and find healthy recipes to help you lose weight, boost your metabolism, and improve metabolic health.
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Sarah Bullard is a registered dietitian and nutrition writer with a master’s degree in nutrition. She has a background in research and clinical nutrition, personalized nutrition counseling, and nutrition education.
Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.