Drinking water, hot or cold, keeps your body healthy and hydrated. Hot water may also improve digestion, relieve congestion, and even promote relaxation, compared with drinking cold water.
Most health benefits of hot water are based on anecdotal reports, as there’s little scientific research in this area. That said, many people feel benefits from this remedy, especially first thing in the morning or right before bed.
When drinking hot beverages, research recommends an optimal temperature of between 130 and 160°F (54 and 71°C). Temperatures above this can cause burns or scalds.
For an extra health boost and some vitamin C, try adding a twist of lemon to hot water to make lemon water.
This article looks at 10 ways that drinking hot water may benefit you.
A cup of hot water creates steam. Holding a cup of hot water and taking a deep inhale of this gentle vapor can help loosen clogged sinuses and even relieve a sinus headache.
Since you have mucous membranes throughout your neck and upper torso, drinking hot water can help warm that area and soothe a sore throat caused by mucus buildup.
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Drinking water helps to keep the digestive system moving. As the water moves through your stomach and intestines, the body is better able to eliminate waste.
Some believe that drinking hot water is especially effective for activating the digestive system.
The theory is that hot water can also dissolve and dissipate the food you’ve eaten that your body might have had trouble digesting.
Though research has not proven this benefit, if you feel like drinking hot water helps aid your digestion, there is no harm in using this as a remedy.
Not getting enough water, hot or cold, can have negative effects on your nervous system functioning, ultimately affecting mood and brain function.
This research showed that drinking water boosted participants’ brain activity during demanding activities and also reduced their self-reported anxiety.
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation. In many cases, drinking water is an effective way to relieve and prevent constipation.
Drinking hot water may help your intestines contract. When that happens, food waste in your intestines is able to pass out of your body.
Drinking hot water regularly may help keep your bowel movements regular.
Hot water is no different than room temperature or cool water when it comes to keeping you hydrated.
You also need much more water if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
There’s an easy formula that tells you the amount of water you need at rest (no exercise or extra activity):
- Take your weight in pounds. You’ll need to drink half of that number in ounces daily. For example, a 180-pound person needs 90 ounces of water daily at rest, which is actually eleven 8-ounce servings.
Beverages are not the only source of water in your diet. Fruits, veggies, and anything that melts, such as Jello and popsicles, count too.
Try starting the day with a serving of hot water and ending it with another. Your body needs water to perform basically every essential function, so the value of that can’t be overstated.
How much water should you drink each day? Read more here.
Drinking water can make people feel more full, reducing the amount of food they eat and aiding in weight loss.
Some people believe that drinking hot water can activate your body’s temperature control system.
As your body compensates for the warm temperature of the water, it brings your internal temperature down and activates your metabolism.
Staying hydrated can also help you lose water weight. The kidneys will respond to adequate hydration by allowing more water to be excreted as urine. The lighter the color of the urine, the better hydrated you are.
Healthy blood flow affects everything from your blood pressure to your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Taking a warm bath helps your circulatory organs — your arteries and veins — expand and carry blood more effectively throughout your body.
Drinking hot water may have a similar effect. However, there is little research that this is effective.
As a bonus, warmth from drinking hot water or bathing at nighttime can help relax you and prepare you for restful sleep.
Since drinking hot water helps improve central nervous system functions, you might end up feeling less anxious if you drink it.
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Staying hydrated could, therefore, improve your mood and relaxation levels.
Drinking hot water temporarily raises your internal body temperature.
When you drink hot water, or when you take a warm bath, your body’s endocrine system activates and you start to sweat.
While sweating might be uncomfortable, it’s an essential part of getting rid of toxins and irritants that you’re exposed to in your environment.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, drinking water is important for flushing toxins out of your body. It can help fight inflammation, keep the joints well lubricated, and prevent gout.
Achalasia is a condition during which your esophagus has trouble moving food down into your stomach.
People with achalasia, and with eosinophilic esophagitis, have trouble swallowing. They may feel as though foods get stuck in their esophagus instead of moving to the stomach. This is called dysphagia.
Researchers aren’t sure why, but drinking warm water
Drinking water that’s too hot can damage the tissue in your esophagus, burn your taste buds, and scald your tongue. Be very careful when drinking hot water.
Generally, though, drinking hot water has no harmful effects and is safe to use as a remedy.
While there’s little direct research into the benefits of hot versus cold water, drinking hot water is considered safe, and can be a good way to make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day.
Getting into the habit of drinking hot water is easy. Try starting your day with a cup of boiled water, left to cool for a while. If you’re not a tea or coffee drinker, try hot water with lemon.
Add a light session of stretching to your routine, and you’ll feel more energized and better equipped to tackle the day.
If the taste of warm water doesn’t appeal to you, add a twist of citrus — like lemon or lime — to the beverage before you drink it.
Drinking warm water before bed is a great way to wind down after a busy day. Knowing about the health benefits will have you sleeping soundly.