We have always heard that drinking hot water has a number of health benefits. Of course, it does! The fact is true to quite an extent. Most people who drink hot water as a holistic health benefit do so first thing in the morning or right before they go to sleep, for optimal health benefit.
It is essential to know that the temperature of hot water should not be too high to scald your taste buds. However, there are also some side effects of drinking too much warm water.
Let’s take a look at some of the side effects as well as benefits of drinking hot water:
Side effects of drinking hot water
The risks of drinking hot water include tissue damage, reduced thirst signals that can cause you to not drink as much as you should, and increased sweating that may require more hydration than normal when exercising.
The optimal drinking temperature for hot fluids is 58°C (136 °F) as per a 2008 study conducted by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas. This temperature is optimal for reducing scald burn hazards and improving consumer satisfaction.
The study goes on to note that 71°C / 160°F is the maximum for serving hot beverages including hot water. This diagram shows key water temperatures relevant to drinking hot water.
1. Puts pressure on the kidney
The kidney has a strong capillary system that flushes excess water and toxins out of the body. Drinking too much hot water will put pressure on the kidneys by increasing the pace at which it functions.
Since drinking hot water causes dehydration, the kidney is at risk. It would also increase the workload of the kidney, thereby leading to the overworking of this organ. This will eventually affect your kidneys.
2. May Have More Contaminants
There is little research on this aspect. But hot tap water might contain contaminants. Hot water systems like boilers or tanks have metallic parts. These can corrode and contaminate the water they contain. Hot water can dissolve these contaminants faster than cold water.
Though using hot water from a water filter could be a safer option, there is risk involved. Hot water dissolves the internal material much faster than cold water. This can cause problems in the long run.
Drinking hot water can cause unexpected harm – all of which is physical. If you have the habit of drinking hot water, you must take proper care.
3. Drink When You Feel Thirsty
Studies have shown that if you drink too much hot water when you are not thirsty, chances are that it could affect your concentration levels. Drink only when you have the urge. Too much water can cause brain cells to swell leading to further complications.
What are the Benefits of Drinking Hot Water?
1. Hot Water Promotes Better Digestion
A 2003 study found that switching from cold water to hot water promotes digestion. It was entitled Water-Induced Thermogenesis and carried out by Michal Boschmann et al. from the Humboldt University in Germany.
The study followed 14 healthy men and women and found that drinking 500 ml of water before a meal can increase metabolism by 30%. The researchers concluded that the increase occurs within 10 minutes, and lasts for 30-40 minutes after hot water consumption, with the optimum time being the beginning of the day.
Drinking hot water helps break down food faster than drinking cold or warm water. Drinking cold water can harden the oil in foods and create a fat deposit in the intestine, unlike when you drink hot water. The opposite happens when you drink hot water. Hot water also dilates blood vessels in the gut which acts as a catalyst and aids digestion.
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. Helps with weight loss
On its own, consuming hot water won’t make you lose weight, but it can increase your feelings of satiety, helping you feel more full so you eat less, Dr. Mehdizadeh says. In addition, the body has to use extra energy to cool down hot liquids or warm up cold ones, helping you burn a few extra calories, he says.
Hot water—maybe squeeze some lemon in your water—can also be a good weight-loss tool if you’re using it to replace a caloric hot morning beverage, like coffee with sugar or tea with cream, Dr. Li-Sauerwine adds.
4. Clears sinuses
Everyone’s looking for home remedies for a stuffy nose—so give a drink of hot water a try. “The body produces liters of mucous every day and dry nasal secretions can make you feel congested,” Dr. Mehdizadeh says.
The steam from hot water can also help loosen up congestion and unclog sinuses, Dr. Li-Sauerwine says. To get the maximum effect, try inhaling the steam before drinking it.
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.