There are many benefits of drinking hot water. Many health enthusiasts make sure that they drink warm water every morning and right before hitting the sack. But what does science say about this practice?
According to studies, warm or hot water goes a long way in improving digestion and relieving congestion besides reducing stress levels. However, you have to ensure the water you are drinking is between 120 and 140 degrees F. Otherwise, you may end up burning your tongue and throat.
What are the other benefits that drinking hot water provides? Are there any potential risks? Keep scrolling to find out!
In This Article
How Can Drinking Hot Water Help You?
The most important benefit of drinking hot water is improved digestion. Hot water intake is also known to ease nasal congestion and the associated stress. It also promotes esophageal health.
1. Improves Digestion
Drinking hot water can activate your digestive tract. This improves the digestion process. Hot water also helps dissipate particles in your system that you might have had trouble digesting.
Hot water also widens the blood vessels and directs blood flow towards your intestine – further enhancing digestion. When you take hot water after a meal, the temperature emulsifies fats and makes them more digestible (in case you suffer from gastric reflux avoid drinking excessive water before and after meals, as this can dilute gastric juices making digestion more difficult, which may cause reflux).
Studies also show that meal temperature can have an impact on the rate of gastric emptying (1). This may help relieve constipation as well.
2. Relieves Nasal Congestion
Hot water can loosen clogged sinuses and nasal passageways, clearing congestion. This way, it can also relieve a sinus headache.
You have mucus membranes throughout your neck and upper torso. Drinking hot water can help warm these areas and soothe a sore throat (often caused by a mucus build-up).
Studies show that hot liquids are superior to cold liquids in managing fluids in the upper respiratory tract and treating the related infections (2).
Hot drinks also work wonderfully well in relieving most symptoms of cold and flu (3).
3. Eases Stress
Drinking hot water can boost the functioning of your central nervous system, helping ease stress as well. As per a study, adding warm milk to hot water can further promote the stress-busting effects (4). However, is important to remember that milk and dairy products promote mucus build-up. This might work for stress reduction, but it wouldn’t work for relieving nasal congestion.
Though the study attributes the stress-busting effects of the liquid to caffeine (that was added to the milk), it also stresses the role of the warmth of the beverage.
4. Helps Treat Achalasia
Achalasia is a health condition in which the lower part of the esophagus fails to relax. This prevents the food from passing into the stomach. Studies show that the intake of warm foods (water included) can assist in the relaxation of the lower part of the esophagus (also called lower esophageal sphincter, LES) (5).
In another study, hot water swallows were found to improve symptoms in patients with achalasia. Hot water traversed the LES more rapidly than room temperature water or cold water (6).
5. May Aid Weight Loss
A theory suggests that hot water stays in your stomach a little longer when compared to cold water. This means you feel fuller for a longer period, which might aid weight loss.
6. Improves Blood Circulation
Hot water expands your arteries and veins, allowing for better blood circulation throughout the body (8). This also can regulate your blood pressure levels.
7. Relieves Pain
We saw that hot water could boost circulation and improve blood flow. Though no research has directly linked hot water intake to pain relief, it might help.
People usually use heat packs to reduce pain. So, drinking hot water might ease the internal pain. But do note that heat can also aggravate swelling. Hence, you may consult your doctor in this regard.
8. Helps Flush Out Toxins
Drinking hot water increases your internal body temperature. Although temporary, this activates your body’s endocrine system, and you begin to sweat. This can help rid your body of toxins.
Toxins in the body can also make you age faster. Clearing them may slow down signs of aging.
Drinking hot water helps. It might sound too simple, but it does have beneficial effects. But what about cold water? How is drinking it different from drinking hot water?
Drinking Hot Water Vs. Cold Water
Cold water does have some benefits, especially when your body temperature is on the rise. This can be when you are exercising or are involved in an intense activity. When you are traveling in the hot sun and face a risk of heat stroke, cold water works.
Drinking cold water brings your body temperature back to normal. It also helps you rehydrate more quickly. Drinking hot water in these instances could be a bad idea.
Excluding the above-mentioned instances excluded, hot water is always preferable. But then, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
What Are The Concerns With Hot Water?
Please understand that when we say hot water, we don’t mean water that is too hot. You don’t want to damage your esophagus or burn your taste buds. Neither would you want to scald your tongue!
You must avoid drinking hot water that is near boiling temperature. Testing a small sip before taking a gulp works best.
The temperature of hot water (or warm water) is between 120o F and 140o F. Of course, you won’t always be able to measure the temperature. So, a test sip should help.
Ayurvedic medicine suggests that regularly drinking hot water helps your body heal. Hot water also boosts digestion and eliminates toxins. The benefits of drinking hot water also include better circulation and relief from nasal congestion. While cold water can help restore your body temperature to normal and rehydrate you, hot water can help relieve stress and pain. However, you do not have to drink boiling hot water as it may scald your throat. Also, take a sip to ensure it is at the right temperature before gulping it down.
Frequently Asked Questions
How beneficial is drinking hot water before bed?
Drinking hot water before bed can keep you hydrated throughout the night and even rids your body of the toxins. You can drink hot water on an empty stomach in the morning too – this can kickstart your digestive system.
How good is drinking hot water with honey/lemon?
Drinking hot water along with a dash of honey and lemon can work wonders. In addition to the benefits we have discussed, you can also enjoy the powerful nutrients in both honey and lemon. The drink can be a potent mix of vitamins B and C, potassium, and iron.
Lemon also helps increase the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach, which leads to better digestion and better absorption of nutrients. Lemon in warm water is the perfect combo to have before meals and first thing in the morning to help quick start the digestive system and aid elimination of toxins.
- “Effect of meal temperature on gastric emptying…” Gut, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Effects of drinking hot water, cold water, and chicken soup…” Chest, US National Library of Medicine.
- “The effects of a hot drink on nasal airflow…” Rhinology, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Effects of hot tea, coffee and water ingestion…” Psychopharmacology.
- “Response of esophagus to high and low temperatures…” Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Hot water swallows may improve symptoms…” Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Effect of cold water on…” Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, US National Library of Medicine.
- “5 tips to improve blood circulation” Johnston UNC Health Care.
- “Say yes to warm for remove harm” European Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research.