Drinking hot water: the benefits and harms

© iStock Drinking hot water: the benefits and harms

In China, drinking hot water is reputed to be a natural remedy for different disorders. This very simple practice is not as common in France. But what are the real effects of this habit? Are there any disadvantages? We take stock.

Water is an essential element of life because it allows the body to operate organs,remove toxins from the body or transport ingested food. As a reminder, the body is composed of water at more than 60%. We lose some of it every day when we urinate, sweat, and breathe. In order to maintain the balance of the body and ensure its proper functioning, it is, therefore, necessary to hydrate regularly. It is recommended to drink 1 to 1.5 liters of water per day to compensate for water losses.

But some people do not have the reflex to quench their thirst on a regular basis. To drink more water and follow the recommendations, they program an alarm, bet on foods rich in water, or get a gourd. Another technique: turn to herbal teas or infusions, to be consumed without sugars. “Do not hesitate to vary the type of plant according to your desires. In addition, you can flavor drinking water with lemon rings or mint leaves”, which can be read on the website of the Health Insurance.

In China, locals have a preference for natural hot water. In addition to allowing the body to be properly hydrated, this practice would have many health benefits. But what are the real benefits of this habit? Are there any disadvantages associated with ingesting this liquid, natural and tasteless substance in its purest form?

Drinking hot water: what are the advantages of this practice?

According to the International Center for Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (CIAMTC), “hot water is absorbed more easily by our body than cold water because our body does not need to warm the water before assimilating it.” According to the center, consuming this hot liquid would have a favorable action on the digestive system.

This virtue was also advanced by a study conducted among 60 people, the results of which were published in 2016 in the journal Gastroenterology Nursing. This work showed that “the ingestion of hot water after an operation had a favorable impact on the expulsion of gases and intestinal movements”, according to the research. This practice could thus help fight against constipation.

Another benefit of regular consumption of hot water is that it would soothe the nervous system. This hot liquid substance could improve central nervous system activity and mood as well as reduce anxiety. This was revealed by a study published in the journal Scientific Reports in 2019.

Hot water would also activate blood circulation, according to the CIAMTC. The reason is simple: this element is a vasodilator, which means that it helps to dilate blood vessels and improve circulation. This process, which allows blood to flow more efficiently throughout the body, can reduce pain.

The list of virtues of this common practice in China does not end there. Work published in 2003 in the journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism revealed that switching from cold to hot water could promote weight loss. “The thermogenic effect of water must be taken into account when estimating energy expenditure, especially during weight loss programs,” the scientists concluded. The CIAMTC also stated that “hot water helps us to more easily remove toxins from our body” and “stimulates our immune system”.

Are there any disadvantages associated with the consumption of hot water?

There are no real drawbacks associated with ingesting hot water. However, it is recommended to pay attention to the temperature of this liquid substance because too hot water can lead the body to provide energy to cool the body. In addition, drinking water that is too hot can damage the tissues of the esophagus and burn the tongue.

When should I drink hot water?

The International Center for Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine advises consuming hot water in the morning when waking up. But it also specifies that it is possible to drink this liquid substance at any time of the day and during any season of the year. Before ingesting it, it should be ensured that the water is at a temperature close to that of the body, i.e. at 37 degrees.

Sources: Health Insurance, International Center for Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Gastroenterology Nursing, Scientific Reports, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

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