As we all know, water is essential to life. Whether you drink it hot, cold, or at room temperature, it keeps you hydrated.
But does the temperature matter? Does hot water have more health benefits?
Let’s take a look at what we know…
According to Registered Dietitian Beth Czerwony, MS, RD, CSOWM, LD, it’s possible that the heat of the water relaxes your gastrointestinal (GI) tract to help things like constipation. More importantly, though, is that staying hydrated in general is what helps your GI tract. Hot water certainly doesn’t hurt, especially if you drink it first thing in the morning with a little lemon. That being said, it’s not the temperature of the water that necessarily keeps things moving in your gut; drinking plenty of water each day can help you have more regular bowel movements.
Water works with your stomach’s acids to help break down the foods you eat so that your body can absorb the nutrients. It also travels through your GI system, softening your stool and making it easier for bowel movements.
Drinking hot water may also help with things like sinus congestion from the steam rising up to your nasal passages. Even just holding a cup of hot water or liquid to your nose and taking a deep inhale of the vapor can help loosen clogged sinuses or even relieve a sinus headache.
Warm water can also help soothe a sore throat caused by mucus buildup. In general, the study found that “hot liquid might be superior to cold liquids in the management of fluids in upper respiratory tract infections.”
The health benefits of staying hydrated and drinking more water are nearly endless. Staying hydrated can help you avoid fatigue, headaches and can make you more productive and focused. Water also helps your body’s major systems function and survive.
Here are just a few ways water benefits your body’s systems:
Notably, water impacts your brain function as well. Even mild dehydration can impair certain aspects of brain function. Studies have shown that mild dehydration can impair mood, memory, and brain performance.
You lose water every day through sweat, urine and bowel movements, and even your breath, which is why it’s critical to stay hydrated throughout the day. In order for your body to function at its best, you must replenish these lost fluids with food and beverages that contain water. This is especially true when you are sick or exercising.
In most cases, it’s a good idea for women to drink 11.5 cups of water per day and men to drink 15.5 cups of water. Alternatively, you can try drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day. For instance, if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water per day. Get a reusable water bottle and have it on hand to encourage regular water drinking.
Check out this CDC article for tips on how to drink more water and what other beverages can be part of a healthy diet.
If you are an avid soda drinker, you can start by replacing one soda or carbonated beverage with a glass of water instead. Continue this process until you are drinking primarily water, treating sodas or other drinks as more of an occasional dessert.
Interested in more healthy daily habits you can implement? Check out our blog, 14 Habits to Implement for Better Mental and Physical Health.
Try out this healthy and delicious warm drink recipe to stay hydrated this winter and potentially help aid in digestion.
Directions: Mix in a mug and stir well. Enjoy!
Want a visual breakdown of the benefits of water (hot or cold) on your health? Download our infographic below!