Water plays a vital role in our wellbeing, aiding our digestive system, improving circulation, detoxification and promoting healthy skin and hair.
Our bodies need to consume water to stay hydrated and function properly – when we aren’t drinking enough water, we place our systems under considerable pressure.
More than half our body weight comes from water, and dangerous side effects can occur from a lack of water, including mental fog, loss of essential fluids, risk of stroke, dehydration, and decreased kidney function.
Drinking water, hot, warm or cold, is essential to keeping your body functioning and hydrated. Health experts believe that drinking water should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle and recommend consuming at least two litres or half a gallon a day.
Experts have also argued that hot water is specifically better for our health. From Ayurveda practices to Chinese medicine, hot water is promoted as a cure for ailments, removing toxins and creating a healthy balance within the body.
Both ancient and modern science claim that warm water specifically can help improve digestion, relieve constipation, reduce anxiety and promote weight loss, compared with cold water.
Although there is little scientific research proving that consuming hot water has health benefits, many people have discussed the advantages of making this part of their lifestyle.
According to recent research, the optimal temperature for drinking water is between 54°C and 71°C.
Separate research has also shown that the remedy is best consumed early in the morning and just before going to bed.
For an additional health boost, consider adding a slice of lemon or lime to the hot water, which can help improve the taste and ensure you get your dose of vitamin C.
Still, wondering what the health benefits of drinking hot water are? We’ve outlined ten benefits of drinking hot water that you may have never known.
What are the benefits of drinking hot water?
Although medical literature is saturated with stories about the benefits of drinking hot water, scientific research has only gotten underway in recent years.
According to official research and anecdotal reports, consuming hot water can promote the following benefits:
- Improves digestive system
Consuming water helps the food you consume travel through the digestive system by ensuring the large and small intestines remain smooth and flexible.
Suppose your body does not have sufficient water levels. In that case, the intestines absorb water from your food waste which can cause dehydration and constipation by making hard stools that are difficult to pass.
Chronic dehydration can also lead to chronic constipation, impacting regular bowel movements and increasing the risk of haemorrhoids and bloating.
According to the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board, women should consume at least 91 ounces of water a day from food. In comparison, men should intake 125 ounces – equivalent to approximately eight glasses.
Although cold water helps break food down and promote healthy digestion, hot water speeds up the process, reducing the risk of dehydration and other painful conditions.
- Decreases nasal congestion
While the hot water itself may not reduce nasal mucus, the steam from the hot water, when inhaled, can relieve sinus congestion and associated conditions such as headaches.
Steam from hot water can thin the mucus in your nasal passages and help drain your sinuses, alleviating pressure caused by colds or nasal allergies. Even drink
Consuming hot drinks can also soothe sore throats and remove mucous by loosening congestion as it encourages coughing and nose-blowing.
For fast relief, pour boiling water into a bowl, lean over the bowl, drape a towel over your head and inhale the steam. Do this a couple of times a day, if possible, to help your mucous move.
- Improved circulation
As hot water opens blood vessels when consumed, it enhances blood flow and circulation, alleviating muscle pain by increasing your body’s levels of oxygen and delivering essential nutrients to muscles to help repair damaged fibres and cells.
While no studies directly link hot water to improvements in circulation, many people have described feeling reduced muscle fatigue.
Improved circulation also lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease, and just two cups of hot water a day could help improve your blood flow.
- Flushes out waste and promotes weight loss
While weight loss may also be triggered by the fact that drinking water increases the feeling of fullness, a PubMed research study published in 2003 found that drinking hot water before a meal increased weight loss.
According to a study published by PubMed, the metabolic response in participants that consumed hot water before a meal increased by 40%, compared with cold water, which increased metabolic activity by 30%.
Hot water promotes weight loss by breaking down fat and encouraging the body to absorb nutrients and excrete waste.
So, the next time you have a food craving, drink a glass of hot water to help fight your urges!
- Heat therapy alleviates pain
Besides improving circulation, hot water is also known for loosening stiff joints and pain relief.
Although most people tend to use hot water bottles or heat packs to alleviate pain, consuming hot water also helps by opening blood vessels and reducing inflammation.
However, it is essential to note that improper use of heat or hot water can increase inflammation, so it’s important to use this remedy with care.
May improve central nervous system function
While drinking cold and warm water can help soothe the nervous system, the effects of hot water have a far more significant impact.
According to a 2019 scientific report, drinking water can help soothe the nervous system and improve mood.
The research showed that it boosted mental activity and helped protect kidneys by flushing out waste and lubricating the body.
While the study showed that hot, cold and warm water could create this positive effect, anecdotal reports suggest that hot water more effectively reduces anxiety and promotes mental relaxation.
A separate study by the Arthritis Foundation also found that incorporating this into your lifestyle helps loosen up the synovial fluid to fight inflammation and prevent gout.
- May help relieve constipation
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation. In many cases, drinking water is an effective way to relieve and prevent constipation. Staying hydrated helps soften stools and makes them easier to pass.
Drinking hot water regularly also helps to ensure regular bowel movements.
- Keeps your body healthy and hydrated
Although water at any temperature will help keep you hydrated, hot water has a faster hydrating effect, especially following a meal by emulsifying fats and making them easier to digest.
Hot water is also known for combatting dry scalp, dandruff and flaky skin by improving blood circulation throughout the body.
According to the Institute of Medicine (IoM), women should consume at least 2.3 litres of water each day, while men should ingest 3.3 litres a day – including water from foods such as fruit and vegetables.
If you have a high metabolism, engage in strenuous activity, work in hot climates, or you’re pregnant, you should up your water intake to prevent dehydration.
- Reduce stress levels
According to a 1997 clinical trial by P Quinlan, a soothing cup of hot or warm water helps lower anxiety and other mental health illnesses in participants involved in the study.
While the study also focused on the effects of caffeine and acknowledged that this played a role in the improved mood, Quinlan found that the warmth from drinking hot water-induced feelings of calmness, satisfaction and positive emotions.
Dehydration also negatively affects dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, which can increase depression and anxiety. So one of the fastest ways to improve your mood is consuming a glass of water!
- Improves symptoms in patients with achalasia
Consuming hot water helps relieve symptoms of achalasia, a rare disease of the throat that makes it difficult for foods and liquids to pass down the oesophagus into the stomach.
According to a trusted 2012 study, drinking hot water reduces lower oesophagal sphincter (LES) pressure. In addition, it helps muscles at the lower end of the oesophagus relax, relieving pain associated with the illness by decreasing the amplitude and duration of oesophagal body contractions.
While there is little scientific research into the benefits of hot water versus cold water, anecdotal studies have shown the potential benefits of drinking hot water versus water at different temperatures.
Although getting into the habit of drinking hot water may be difficult due to the taste, try starting with warm water or add your favourite citrus fruit to your mug.
Hot lemon water: Are there any additional benefits to drinking lemon water?
Increasing your water intake is the easiest and most accessible way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If you dislike the taste of water, why not infuse it with fruit, which will add some flavour to your beverage and increase your vitamin intake.
Water with lemon is a cult classic, but have you tried lemon and hot water?
Nutritionists and celebrities alike are raving about the health benefits of this combination, especially when taken just before bed and first thing in the morning.
What are the pros and cons of drinking hot lemon water?
- Increase feelings of fullness and boost metabolism due to being rich in vitamin C, fibre, calcium, magnesium and other minerals.
- Boosts immune system and helps fight against infection
- Alleviates stress levels and improves brain function
- Promotes weight loss and reduces inflammation
- Reduce the look of wrinkles and encourage collagen production
- Itching, burning or swelling of the mouth
- Heartburn and upset stomach
- May erode dental enamel
Despite the few cons, lemons are packed with beneficial nutrients. Not only are they the best sources of vitamin C, but they are also a valuable source of flavonoids and have been proven helpful in the treatments of certain cancers by suppressing tumour growth.
Several other nutrient-rich hot drinking combinations linked with health benefits include ginger tea, chai tea and green tea.
Healthy and flavourful hot drink combinations
Besides hot lemon water, ginger tea has a long history of use against illnesses, flu and stomach pains.
It is best consumed fresh and can be brewed by grating or slicing a small piece of ginger root into boiling water for ten minutes. You can adjust the potency by differentiating the time you leave the ginger root in the water; alternatively, add a teaspoon of sugar to reduce the bitterness.
If you’re not a fan of ginger and have a sweet tooth, opt for some flavoursome fruit tea packed with vitamins and antioxidants that cleanse the body of toxins and maintain a healthy immune system.
You can make this at home or purchase fruit-infused tea bags and loose blends from your local supermarket.
If weight loss is your prime concern, mint tea is low in calories and has historically been used to ease digestive upsets. However, green tea is also a fantastic alternative – touted as one of the healthiest beverages on the planet – as it is loaded with antioxidants that emulsify fats, hydrate the body and improve brain function.