Drinking water is often overlooked as a necessary part of staying healthy. The body and blood are largely made of water, and so we need a lot of fluid to function.
Consequences of not drinking enough include urinary infections and kidney stones. Find out here how drinking enough water helps the body function.
Although there is little scientific research on the benefits of drinking hot water, alternative health advocates argue that hot water is an easy way to improve health. In this article, we look at the evidence.
While drinking water of any temperature can support overall wellbeing, drinking hot water is thought to provide a range of additional health benefits.
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.
Chronic dehydration can cause corresponding chronic constipation. This constipation can make bowel movements painful and may cause other problems, including hemorrhoids and bloating.
Drinking hot water helps to break down food faster than drinking cold or warm water. It reduces the risk of constipation by supporting regular bowel movements.
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.
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.
A soothing cup of hot water may help people manage stress and anxiety. An older study found that consumption of hot liquids, such as tea and coffee, could lower stress and reduce feelings of anxiety.
The primary risk of drinking hot water is one of being burned. Water that feels pleasantly warm on the tip of a finger may still burn the tongue or throat. A person should avoid consuming water that is near boiling temperature, and they should always test a small sip before taking a gulp.
A 2008 study reported an optimal drinking temperature of 136 °F (57.8°C) for coffee. This temperature reduced the risk of burns, but still offered the pleasant sensations of a hot drink.
Drinking hot water will not cure any diseases but, as long as the water is not scalding, the risks are minimal. So people who already enjoy hot water or who want to try a simple method for improving their health should feel assured that they are benefitting from it.
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