Why Drinking Hot Water Improves Hydration Levels
Drinking water of any temperature is important to keep hydration levels up. When the body is dehydrated, many of its processes suffer. Water keeps the body temperature regulated, helps nutrients travel to the areas that need them, and ensures organs are functioning properly.
Recently there have been claims that drinking hot water can be just as good, if not better for the body than drinking cold water because of hot water’s ability to aid in digestion, promote relaxation, and improve congestion in the nose or lungs. That being said, the research behind these health benefits has not always been properly conducted. So what does the science say about drinking hot water for health benefits? Does drinking hot water help to improve hydration levels, or does the temperature not matter?
What are the benefits of drinking hot water?
As mentioned above, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence surrounding the health benefits of drinking hot water. While not all of it has been stringently researched, there are some claims that can be scientifically backed up. Some health benefits of drinking hot water include…
Improving the function of the central nervous system
The central nervous system acts as a communication pathway between the brain and the rest of the body, so it needs to function at its best for you to be at optimal health. While there is no conclusive research surrounding hot water and central nervous system function, some has found that drinking water of any temperature helps to improve central nervous system activity.
Dehydration can cause issues with constipation, and drinking hot water may help to improve digestion and soften stools so they are easier to pass.
Reducing shivering in cold conditions
Many people reach for hot beverages when it’s cold outside, and for good reason. Research shows that when in cold conditions, drinking warm fluids can keep the body from shivering. This helped people use less energy to keep their body temperature up.
There is little evidence to support that drinking hot water can help to improve circulation, but it’s thought that since immersing the body in warm water helps the circulatory organs, consuming it may have the same effect.
Could help people who have difficulty swallowing food
Researchers found that drinking warm water could help those with conditions that make it difficult to swallow or move food through the esophagus.
Drinking more water of any temperature can help aid in weight loss, but research has found that drinking warm or body temperature water could increase the metabolism by up to 30%.
Lowering stress levels
Studies have found that drinking hot beverages such as coffee, tea, or even hot chocolate can have a positive effect on stress levels. Participants of one study drank hot beverages and were reported to have lowered feelings of both anxiety and stress. (It should be noted, however, that this study is over 20 years old.)
As we mentioned, many of these health benefits are anecdotal, and drinking any type of water whether (hot, warm, or cool) could pose the same effects. This is because hydration in general helps the body in the aforementioned ways, so it’s not entirely clear whether the specific water temperature matters.
Does water temperature affect hydration?
Water temperature has an effect on hydration simply because of the way it affects levels of sweating. The research that is available on the subject is scarce, but what is out there concludes that drinking hot water may not actually improve hydration levels. It actually could lead to the opposite, for several reasons. Hot water leads to more sweating, which is essentially more water loss. Drinking warm water was also found to lead to people consuming less water than they would if they were drinking cold water.
Does warm water hydrate you faster?
Any form of water will help to improve hydration. That being said, the question of whether hot water hydrates you faster is not that cut and dry. The evidence available on the subject seems to suggest that the opposite is actually true, and that cool water is best for rehydration.
One particular study looked at people who were dehydrated. They were all given waters of different temperatures to test the hypothesis of what temperature is best for rehydration. The study focused on the sweating response and found that it was influenced by both how much a person was drinking as well as the temperature of the water they were drinking.
Since cold and hot water bring about starkly different sweating responses, the research found that cool tap water was the best for remedying dehydration the quickest.
What is the best temperature when drinking hot water?
Personal preferences aside, research has found that there is a temperature range that is optimal when it comes to drinking hot water. You don’t want the water to be so hot that it scalds or burns your mouth or esophagus, of course! However, to get the benefits, it will need to be more than just warm – the best temperature for hot beverages is between 130 and 160°F.
Whether you’re drinking hot water because you like it better that way, or for the health benefits it may have, there is no denying that hot water beverages can be good for you – even if it’s just through a mental boost!