Health

Are There Health Benefits to Drinking Hot Water?

Q: I’ve heard drinking hot water has health benefits. Should I drink hot water?

Water is essential to life. And drinking it, whether hot, cold, or room temperature, obviously keeps you hydrated. But are there health benefits to drinking hot water? And does the temperature of the water you drink really matter? 

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There are claims that drinking hot water has health benefits, like helping with digestion and relieving congestion. But there is little scientific research to support the health benefits of drinking hot water as opposed to room temperature or cold water. 

Most of us don’t drink enough water anyway, so however you can get your recommended daily allowance of water works. In general, that breaks down to about 15 cups per day for men, and about 11 cups per day for women. It’s always good to stay hydrated. But everyone is different. Some people prefer room temperature water, other people can’t drink room temperature water and prefer it ice cold. 

Many feel that drinking hot water first thing in the morning helps with digestion and can help you go to the bathroom. But is it the temperature of the water, or just the simple fact that staying hydrated helps to have regular bowel movements? Or is it that the water is hot and helps to relax your bowels?

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is one big muscle, so perhaps the heat of the water relaxes your GI tract a bit to help things like constipation. If you have cold symptoms, drinking hot water can help with things like sinus congestion from the steam rising into your nasal passages. 

The bottom line is, if you prefer drinking hot water and it helps to keep you hydrated, drink up! 

— Registered Dietitian Beth Czerwony, MS, RD, CSOWM, LD

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