The regular drinking of hot water can provide many health benefits, including improved digestive health and weight loss. The taste of hot water may not suit your taste buds, prompting you to add flavorings, caffeine or sugar. While adding flavoring doesn't alter all the benefits provided by the hot water, it may cause weight gain, depending on what you add to the hot water.
The biggest benefit from drinking any form of water, hot or cold, is hydration for your body, explains Gayl Canfield, RD, Director of Nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa in Miami, Florida. This hydration helps the kidneys flush waste products and toxins from the body and provides a medium for all of the biochemical and metabolic processes in your body. Canfield emphasizes, “It's the water that is important for your body, not necessarily the fact that it's hot or cold.” Drink enough water to keep your urine a light yellow to clear color.
While any type of water can provide your body with hydration, hot water may help you lose weight or maintain your current weight. “Hot water may increase body temperature and therefore increase the metabolic rate slightly,” states Dr. Michael Wald, the director of Nutritional Services at Integrated Medicine and Nutrition in Mount Kisco, New York. An increased metabolic rate causes your body to use more calories throughout the day, although whether it creates enough of a change to cause weight loss is questionable. The increased metabolic rate may help the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys function more efficiently, detoxifying the body by stimulating the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys, Wald explains. Drinking hot water may even make your weight loss efforts more enjoyable. Wald explains that when hot water is consumed, the receptors in the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines stimulate "the pleasure centers in the brain."
Hot water may decrease the number of infections you suffer from. Boiled water decreases the number of bacterial organisms found in water, making hot water superior to room temperature or cold water by reducing your exposure to opportunistic infections, Wald says. He adds that hot water increases the circulation to the gastrointestinal tract and decreases the amount of mucous in your sinuses, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract, decreasing the ability for viruses, bad bacteria or fungi to grow or infect your body.
Chinese Medicine Standpoint
The theory of Chinese Medicine and its Yin-Yang philosophy states that you should drink warm water, about the same temperature as the body, because hot water and cold water throw off the balance of your body, explains Dr. Gui Chao Wu, a registered acupuncturist, traditional Chinese medical doctor and registered massage therapist in Calgary, Canada. Nevertheless, Wu explains that if you have cold symptoms or other Yin-type imbalances such as frequent chills, thirst, depression, sleepiness, “foggy” brain, bloating or retention of fluids, hot water plays the role of the Yang and brings your body back into balance.
- Gayl Canfield, RD; Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa; Miami, Florida
- Dr. Michael Wald; Integrated Medicine and Nutrition; Mount Kisco, New York
- Dr. Gui Chao Wu; Chronos Apollo; Calgary, Alberta, Canada