Ever wonder what happens if you drink hot water every day? After all, we all know that water is essential to keeping properly hydrated, and 60 percent of the adult human body is made up of the stuff (via USGS). But who knew that the temperature you drink it at determines what kind of benefits you will receive from it?
Usually when thinking about drinking water, most people will think of a scenario where they’re sipping some ice cold H2O in the summer sun or enjoying the cold feeling of it after a sweaty spin class, but it turns out that drinking hot water every day has some additional benefits that cold water just may be keeping your body from taking advantage of. "Physicians recommend drinking warm water in the morning," clinical nutritionist Stella Metsovas explained to Medical Daily. In fact, this is something that has surprisingly been known for ages. Ancient Chinese and Indian medicines recommend drinking this very hot beverage because of its various health benefits to kick off the day right (via Reader’s Digest).
So what exactly does that mean? Here’s what happens to your body when you drink hot water every day.
If you drink hot water every day, you could lower your stress
In this chaotic world, there’s a pretty simple way to be able to stress less, and it starts with enjoying water each day. "Staying in a good hydrated status can keep your stress levels down," registered dietician Amanda Carlson told WebMD. "When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it, and it’s going to respond to that."
Drinking hot water calms your central nervous system, which controls your brain’s response to stress, as noted by Healthline. When you’re not properly hydrated, your central nervous system can be thrown off, and this could start a vicious cycle (via American Psychological Association). "You’re actually likely to get more dehydrated when you’re under stress, because your heart rate is up and you’re breathing more heavily, so you’re losing fluid," Renee Melton, MS, RD, LD, the director of nutrition at Sensei, told WebMD. So the next time you need to wash the worry away, maybe make the decision to drink hot water every day.
You could relieve body aches and pain if you drink hot water every day
While you work on relaxing your mind, you can relax your entire body while you’re at it too. Not only will you potentially help ease stress and anxiety if you drink hot water every day, but drinking the beverage has also proved to be a natural way to make physical pains go away. Since the stuff keeps you calm and provides necessary hydration that is vital to keep the central nervous system, composed of the brain and spine, in tip top shape, it can more easily target any body aches and pains that come your way, according to Healthline. This could include relieving achy joints or even menstrual cramps (via Reader’s Digest).
One study published in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility in 2012 even found that drinking hot water alongside a meal helped those who suffer from achalasia, a rare condition that makes it difficult to properly swallow food (via Mayo Clinic). Compared to drinking cold water, which caused people even more discomfort during mealtime, hot H2O relieved their pain by relaxing muscles in the esophagus and ridding them of corresponding chest pain too.
If you drink hot water every day, you could help put a halt to signs of aging
While you’re working on flushing out the bad vibes, drinking hot water every day will flush out toxins too. When a person guzzles down a glass, the heat from that piping hot cup increases the amount of sweat that the skin produces. Gross? Maybe. However, that excess sweat is responsible for clearing out pores, which, in turn, will likely leave the face feeling fresh, as noted by Healthline. Not to mention, you’ll be ultra hydrated after drinking water.
And in a world that’s over-the-top obsessed with anti-aging, there’s an added bonus to getting your sweat on: By drinking hot H2O on the daily, the toxins that are being flushed out by drinking hot water force your pores to keep repairing their cells. These repaired cells promote elasticity that can help prevent wrinkles as you age — potentially making you look younger in the long run (via Medical Daily).
You could improve your blood circulation if you drink hot water every day
It seems pretty obvious that the more relaxed you are, the better you feel — not only mentally, but physically too. And the physical benefits provided by drinking hot water every day don’t just stop there. By drinking hot water every day, the constant flushing of toxins that keeps you looking young also forces your body to keep its blood circulating and promotes good blood pressure. This pressure pushes fat deposits out of the body, creating a cleaner ride for the travel of blood, as explained by Medical Daily.
And without keeping the blood properly pumping, poor blood circulation can lead to issues like varicose veins (which will definitely age you) and blood clots from fat building up in blood vessels. Take it one step further, and these somewhat-minor issues can get even more extreme and lead to a heart attack or stroke, according to Medical News Today.
If you drink hot water every day, you might be able to alleviate sinus congestion
Clear out those sinuses by drinking hot water every day when you’re feeling under the weather. "The temperature of fluids we drink may possibly make a difference in the way we manage and deal with certain upper respiratory infection symptoms," Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, MS, told Reader’s Digest. So whenever you’re feeling under the weather and just a bit congested, whether it be from sniffles or a stubborn cold, curling up with hot water can help. One study published in Chest in 1978 found that drinking hot water directly helped with congestion. Much like enjoying hot chicken noodle soup on a sick day, warm vapor from a glass of hot water works in the same way to clear out mucus in the nasal passage. It might be nasty to think about, but it’s quite satisfying for all those allergy sufferers out there too.
In fact, the study also showed that people should stay away from cold beverages completely when they happen to have a runny nose. Drinking cold water was actually shown to slow down the sinus-relieving process, making people still feel stuffy — even more so than before — and that’s snot good. Get it?
Drinking hot water won’t cure your sickness
Some popular medical advice that’s been floating around on the Internet is that drinking hot water can rid the body of sickness. It’s said that by using hot water, you can flush toxins from your nasal passages down into your stomach and completely out of your body, removing germs from your system altogether, and it’s become a pretty popular belief. After all, boiling water is the best way to kill bacteria and viruses, so how could drinking hot water not help fight nasty germs in your body?
Unfortunately, while you’re reaching for a mug of hot water to stop the stuffiness, which can alleviate symptoms of a sickness, it won’t rid you of your ailment altogether. That is just a myth, as noted by BBC News, but we do wish getting rid of a cold was just as easy as that. However, making sure to stay hydrated every day does help get the body in its best shape to fight illnesses like the flu.
If you drink hot water every day, you will be less thirsty… but that’s not a good thing
You never see anyone reaching for a glass of hot water after a heated workout. Cold water is just so more satisfying, and there are a few good reasons for that. For starters, drinking hot water makes your body feel less thirsty, which is not so good when it comes to staying hydrated while hitting the gym. "This can be dangerous on days when your body is losing water through sweating to try to keep cool," registered dietician Vanessa Rissetto explained to Bustle. Your body needs that extra water in order to cool itself down and keep your blood pumping for those intense workouts. "Blood volume, which drives all pressure in the body, is primarily fluid based," exercise physiologist Mike T. Nelson, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., told Self. "If we start losing enough fluid, cardiac function is going to go awry," he said, and this could potentially be life-threatening.
One study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine in 2013 found that drinking hot water makes the body sweat more than gulping down cold stuff. But you need to retain that extra hydration during an intense workout, so, when turning up the heat on your daily exercise, it’s best to turn down the temperature on the water you drink.
If you drink hot water ever day, it could help with digestion
We all know that hydration is definitely helpful for the body, but drinking a glass of hot water is even more helpful when it comes to digesting a delicious meal. When waiters ask if we’d like to enjoy a cup of something hot after eating, it’s best to say yes. Without drinking enough water, your intestines will keep most hydration for themselves, which can cause unbearable bloating and can even make going to the bathroom a bad experience. Drinking an adequate amount of hot water, however, helps to break down food in the intestines to make it a smooth ride, and it does this even faster than a glass of cold water can, according to Medical News Today.
So when it comes to deciding what to drink after dinner, consider choosing to drink hot water every day. Your belly will be happy about it.
You could lose weight if you drink hot water every day
When it comes to weight loss, people are sure to go after easy fixes. A simple solution? You guessed it — drink hot water every day. "Drinking hot water also clears out your intestines to prevent bloating in your body, thus getting rid of excess water weight you may be carrying," registered dietician Cara Walsh, told Reader’s Digest, and that sounds like a good enough reason to us to enjoy this empty-calorie drink.
Not only is water great for weight loss because it makes your stomach feel fuller for longer, which stops us from overeating, but hot water has been shown to help out even more, as noted by Livestrong. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2003 found that drinking 500 milliliters of water increased a person’s metabolism by 30 percent within that same hour. When the water was heated, this increased to 40 percent. The higher your metabolism is, the more weight you can lose. So when it comes to achieving your goal weight, water you waiting for?
You could help protect your teeth if you drink hot water every day
Who knew that protecting your teeth was as easy as drinking hot water each day? If you’ve had multiple fillings and are hoping to refrain from having your dentist have to drill more, it’s best not to keep your drinking water cold when it comes to keeping your cavities in check. "Certain white filling materials contract in response to cold water, causing filling to debond off the tooth," Sanda Moldovan, MS, DDS, told Reader’s Digest. That sounds just downright painful. Luckily, turning up the temperature on your water is a quick and easy change to adopt.
There’s also an added bonus: If you have sensitive teeth, hot water is best when trying to stay hydrated as the cold stuff can cause some pain, as noted by The Sun. So to keep your cavities from cracking, help yourself to some hot water.
You could burn yourself if you drink hot water every day that’s too hot
It’s important to take into consideration what exactly "hot" means. Unfortunately, hot drinks can be dangerous. After all, everybody has most likely burned their mouth at one time or another from eating hot soup or drinking something scalding. Luckily, there’s a precise science to it.
According to research, it seems the preferred way to drink hot water is to keep it under 140 degrees Fahrenheit. To put that into perspective, coffee, tea, and other hot beverages are usually served best between 160 and 185 degrees. Honestly, though, nobody’s carrying around a thermometer in their purse to measure the temperature of their drinking water, so, as YouTuber and medical professional Doctor Mike recommends, "use some common sense" and "don’t burn your mouth." He added, "And understand that if you’re burning your mouth, you’re also definitely burning your esophagus."
If you drink hot water that’s too hot, you can cause internal damage
On the topic of temperature, drinking water that’s too hot can cause more than just a bad burn. A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Cancer followed 50,000 participants over a ten-year period of time and found that those who drank 700 milliliters of hot tea each day increased their risk of developing cancer in the esophagus. Though the study specifically tested tea, it was the temperature that was the issue. Drinking it above 140 degrees increased the risk of esophageal cancer by 90 percent. "The burn that can actually happen inside our esophagus can lead to more inflammation, which leads to DNA damage, leading to cancer," Doctor Mike explained. "Another explanation for this could be that the thermal or burning damage actually inhibits the esophagus from protecting itself, thereby making it susceptible to carcinogens that appear within our bodies every single day."
Though researchers couldn’t prove a direct cause and effect between hot beverages and cancer, ten years of research has hot water drinkers thinking twice about keeping it above 140 degrees. "And [if] that will possibly — maybe even likely, depending on the strength of this correlation — decrease your likelihood of developing cancer, it seems like that should be the wise thing to do," Doctor Mike said.
When you drink hot water every day directly out of the tap, you could get sick
If you want to drink hot water every day, don’t drink it directly from the faucet. Instead, make sure to heat the water up in other ways. Here’s why: The plumbing in many homes unfortunately contain lead that, when repeatedly put into the body on a daily basis, can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and brain. Hot water can "actually increase [lead’s concentration] more quickly, as noted by The New York Times. So taking water straight from the faucet and into your glass is a bad idea.
Fortunately, many faucet water filters sold in stores across the country can help effectively remove lead from tap water, but you should still always use cold water — even when straining it through fancy filters that contain activated carbon. "Heat can really mess with the chemical-physical process involved in activated carbon’s ability to adsorb contaminants," Consumer Reports‘ chief scientific officer James Dickerson said. Hot water also helps bacteria grow on the filter, and that bacteria goes straight from your glass to your gut. Yuck.
When you drink hot water every day before bed, you can mess up your sleep
Turns out, timing is important when it comes to drinking hot water every day, and earlier in the day is the best way to do it. According to Japanese tradition, you should drink four glasses of hot water every morning before even brushing your teeth, as reported by NDTV. If this seems like a lot of water at once, know that spreading out your hot H2O intake throughout the day is still a great way to gain its benefits. The important part is to not try to catch up on your hot water late in the day because drinking hot water too close to bedtime can seriously mess up your sleep.
Sleep is important to a person’s well-being, so disrupting it on a regular basis can have detrimental effects. Your body automatically decreases its bathroom breaks at night, and drinking too much water within the two hours before bedtime can cause a disruption to this natural rhythm, as noted by Healthline. One study by the National Sleep Foundation found that those who were over age 45 and slept less than six hours each night were at risk for a heart attack or stroke. So while drinking hot water may help you relax, avoid drinking it close to bed in order to get those necessary nightly Zs.