Whether it’s hot or cold, drinking water keeps your body healthy and hydrated. Some people claim that hot water can improve digestion, relieve congestion, and even promote relaxation compared to drinking cold water.
Most of the health benefits of hot water are based on anecdotal reports, as scientific research in this area is lacking. That said, many people find benefits from this treatment, especially first thing in the morning or before bed.
When drinking hot beverages, research recommends an optimal temperature between 130 and 160°F (54 and 71°C). Temperatures above this may cause burns or abrasions. For an extra health boost and some vitamin C, try adding a squeeze of lemon to hot water to make lemon water.
This article looks at 10 ways that drinking hot water can benefit you.
1. Can relieve nasal congestion.
A cup of hot water produces steam. Holding a cup of warm water and deeply inhaling this mild vapor will help clear blocked sinuses and relieve sinus headaches. Since your sinuses and throat have mucous membranes, drinking warm water can help warm the area and relieve sore throats caused by mucus buildup.
According to an older study from 2008, a hot drink like tea provides immediate, long-lasting relief from a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fatigue. It was more effective to drink the hot drink than the same drink at room temperature.
2. May aid digestion
Drinking water helps keep the digestive system active. The body eliminates waste more efficiently as water passes through the stomach and intestines. Some people believe that drinking hot water is especially effective for activating the digestive system. The theory is that hot water can also melt and dissolve the food you eat, making it harder for your body to digest.
More research is needed to prove this benefit, although a 2016 study found that hot water has a beneficial effect on bowel movements and gas production after surgery. Meanwhile, if you find that drinking hot water helps your digestion, there’s nothing wrong with using it as a remedy.
3. May improve central nervous system function.
Not drinking enough water, hot or cold, can negatively affect the functioning of your nervous system, ultimately affecting mood and brain function. A 2019 study from a reliable source found that drinking water can improve mood as well as central nervous system activity. The study found that drinking water increased participants’ brain activity and reduced their self-reported anxiety.
4. May help relieve constipation
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation. Drinking water can relieve and prevent constipation in many cases. It is easier to pass stool if you stay hydrated. Keep your bowel movements regular by drinking warm water regularly.
5. Keeps you hydrated.
Although some credible sources of evidence suggest that cold water is best for rehydration, drinking water at any temperature will help you stay hydrated.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get 78 ounces (2.3 liters) of water per day and men 112 ounces (3.3 liters) per day. These figures include foods such as fruits, vegetables, and anything that melts. You need more water if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, engaged in vigorous activity, or working in a hot environment. Try starting the day with warm water and ending it with another. The importance of water cannot be overstated since it performs virtually every essential function in your body.
6. Reduces cold
A 2017 study found that the body’s natural response to the cold is to shiver, but drinking warm water can help ease the chill. Subjects wore recirculating suits with water just above freezing, then drank water at various temperatures, up to 126 °F (52 °C). The researchers found that drinking warm water helped them work less to maintain their body temperature. This may work, the study notes, for people who work or exercise in cold conditions.
7. Improves circulation
Everything from blood pressure to heart disease depends on healthy blood flow. Taking a hot bath helps your circulatory system — your arteries and veins — expand and move blood more efficiently throughout your body. Drinking hot water can have the same effect. However, there is little research showing that it is effective. As a bonus, the heat from drinking warm water or taking a bath at night can help you relax and prepare for restful sleep.
8. Can reduce stress levels
Since drinking warm water helps to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, you will feel less anxious if you drink it. According to a 2014 study, drinking less water resulted in decreased calmness, satisfaction, and positive emotions.So staying hydrated can improve your mood and comfort level.
9. May support the body’s detoxification system
Although there is no conclusive evidence that hot water has any specific benefits, a 2020 study found that drinking more water protects the kidneys while reducing waste products in the blood. May be and according to the Arthritis Foundation, drinking water is key to flushing out your body. Moreover, it prevents gout and fights inflammation.
10. May help relieve symptoms of achalasia
The esophagus has trouble moving food into the stomach when you have achalasia. People with achalasia have difficulty swallowing. They may feel that food is stuck in their esophagus instead of going into the stomach. This is called dysphagia. Researchers aren’t sure why, but an older study from 2012 found that drinking warm water may help people with achalasia digest more easily.
What are the risks?
Drinking very hot water can damage the tissues of your esophagus, burn your taste buds and irritate your tongue. Be very careful while drinking hot water. Drinking cold, not hot, water is best for rehydration. However, in general, drinking hot water has no harmful effects and is safe to use as a remedy.
The bottom line
While there is little direct research on the benefits of hot versus cold water, drinking hot water is considered safe, and can be a good way to ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day.
Drinking hot water is easy to get used to. Try starting your day with a cup of boiled water, let cool for a while. If you are not a tea or coffee drinker, try hot water with lemon.
Add a light walking session to your routine, and you’ll feel more energized and better equipped to tackle the day.
If you don’t like the taste of hot water, add a twist of lemon or lime to it before drinking.
Drinking warm water before going to bed is the best way to relax after a busy day. Knowing about the health benefits of getting a good night’s sleep will help you.