Nutritionists recommend drinking a cup of hot water before bed or in the morning. This is also suggested when a person has cold symptoms like congestion. Consuming a cup of heated water probably has more than 10 health benefits.
Drinking water, hot or cold, keeps the body healthy and hydrated. According to Healthline. “Some people claim that hot water specifically can help improve digestion, relieve congestion, and even promote relaxation, compared to with drinking cold water.”
While most health benefits of drinking heated water are based on anecdotal reports since scientific research is lacking.
Nonetheless, many people claim to feel benefits from this remedy, especially first thing in the morning or right before bed.
To avoid burns or scalds, the recommended optimal temperature for hot beverages is between 130 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit (54 and 71 degrees Celsius).
Ten potential health benefits of drinking hot water include relieving nasal congestion, aiding in digestion, improving central nervous system function, helping to relieve constipation, reducing shivering in the cold, improving circulation, decreasing stress levels, helping the body’s detoxification systems, relieving symptoms of achalasia.
- May relieve nasal congestion through the steam rising from the cup. Grasping a cup of heated water and inhaling deeply provides a gentle vapor that could help loosen clogged sinuses. It may even relieve a sinus headache.
- Drinking water keeps the digestive system moving. Some people believe that drinking heated water effectively activates the digestive system. Healthline states, “The theory is that hot water can also dissolve and dissipate the food you’ve eaten that your body might have trouble digesting.
- A 2019 study revealed that drinking water, hot or cold, can improve central nervous system activity and mood.
- Since dehydration is a common cause of constipation, drinking hot water regularly may keep bowel movements regular.
- A 2017 study found that drinking warm fluids can help reduce shivering. Researchers discovered that drinking heated water quickly helped people maintain their body temperature during cold conditions.
- Drinking hot water may have the same effect as taking a warm bath to help circulatory organs — arteries and veins — expand and carry blood effectively throughout the body. The warmth from drinking heated water or bathing at nighttime may also help with relaxation and restful sleep.
- A 2022 study found that drinking more water, hot or cold, can help protect the kidneys and dilute waste materials in a person’s blood. Not only does water help to flush the body’s toxins, but can also fight inflammation, keep the joints lubricated, and prevent gout, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
- Researchers are not sure why but a 2012 study revealed that drinking warm water may help relieve symptoms of achalasia, a condition during which a person’s esophagus has trouble moving food down into the stomach. People with achalasia have trouble swallowing; they feel as though foods get stuck in their esophagus instead of moving to the stomach.
Chinese Consume Hot Water Regularly
Drinking boiling water is found in Chinese culture. Historians believe the habit is tied to the founding of Communist China in 1949 when tap water quality was poor.
According to the Los Angeles Times, 68-year-old Li Zhenhui remembers the government promoting drinking boiled water as a child. He said, “People delivered hot water to each household.”
Zhenhui continued: “They would do it every morning by filling containers you left outside the door. They kept saying it was for our health and hygiene.”
Chinese medicine calls for balance, “drinking hot or warm water is considered essential to balance cold and humidity. In addition, it is believed to promote blood circulation and toxin release,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Healthline: What Are the Benefits of Drinking Hot Water? By Kathryn Watson and Daniel Potter, Medically Reviewed by Jullian Kubala, MS, RD, Nutrition
Cleveland Clinic: Are There Health Benefits to Drinking Hot Water? By Registers Dietitian Beth Czerwony, RD
Los Angeles Times: China’s go-to beverage? Hot water. Really. By Nicole Liu