People have consumed hot drinks for thousands of years. Folk medical literature is filled with stories of how hot water can improve health, but researchers have only just begun to look into the benefits of drinking hot water.
This article looks at eight of the potential benefits and the theories behind them.
1. Healthier digestion
When a person does not drink enough water, the small intestine absorbs most of the water consumed through food and drinking. This causes dehydration and can make it more difficult to have a bowel movement.
Drinking water reduces the risk of constipation.
2. Body detoxification
Natural health advocates argue that hot water might help the body detoxify. When water is hot enough to raise a person’s body temperature, it can cause sweating. Sweating expels toxins and can help clean the pores.
3. Improved circulation
Hot water is a vasodilator, meaning it expands the blood vessels, improving circulation. This can help muscles relax and reduce pain.
Although no studies have directly linked hot water to sustained improvements in circulation, even brief improvements in circulation can support better blood flow to muscles and organs.
4. Weight loss
Research has long supported the idea that drinking more water can help a person lose weight. This may partially be because drinking water increases feelings of fullness. Water also helps the body absorb nutrients, and it flushes out waste.
A study published in 2003 found that switching from drinking cold water to hot water could increase weight loss. Researchers found that drinking 500 ml of water before a meal increased metabolism by 30 percent.
Raising water temperature to 98.6 degrees accounted for 40 percent of the increase in metabolism. This metabolic step-up lasted for 30-40 minutes, following water consumption.
5. Reduced pain
Hot water improves circulation and may also improve blood flow, particularly to injured muscles. No research has directly linked hot water consumption to pain relief.
However, people routinely use heat packs and hot water bottles to reduce pain. Consuming hot water may offer some internal pain relief, but it is important to note that heat can also exacerbate swelling.
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