I’m sure it’s not breaking news when I say that drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water (about half a gallon) per day helps can clear skin, improve digestion, reduce headaches, and maybe even speed up your metabolism. Staying hydrated is essential for the body to function, but it turns out that the temperature of the water you drink may have unique advantages. Beyond just hydration (which is very important in itself), there are added benefits to drinking warm water.
This is great news for people like me who skip the ice cubes and drink seltzer at room temperature (more good news for the La Croix lovers in the house: Studies show that sparkling water is just as hydrating as still water, per Food Network). I spoke to three experts about the surprising benefits of drinking warm water, and I was amazed to find out that hot liquid can help with a myriad of physical symptoms, and may even make you feel more relaxed. Perhaps best of all, you already have a faucet full of the elixir right in your home. Now get ready to fill that cute stainless steel water bottle with warm H2O and reap the benefits.
1. Aids Digestion
Drinking a mug of hot water before, during, or after a meal can help make digestion more comfortable and efficient. Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RDN tells Romper, “Hot water actually helps to digest food faster than cold water. It lubricates your organs better to be more efficient.” The warm liquid can help break down and flush things out that may be sticky in your intestines. I apologize for that image, but it's true. Warm or hot water can “dissolve and dissipate things you’ve eaten that your body might have had trouble digesting,” according to Healthline.
"For many, drinking warm water in the morning with a pinch of lemon juice or cumin seeds has demonstrated profound effects on digestion, gut stability, cholesterol, diabetes/blood sugar control and weight loss," Anita Mirchandani, registered dietician, tells Romper. Sign me up!
2. Eases Menstrual Cramps & Bloating
If you’ve ever filled up a water bottle with hot liquid and held it on your abdomen during your time of the month. then you already know that warm water can help relieve cramps. Interestingly, drinking warm water can do the same for the body internally. “Hot liquids increase blood flow to your skin and may relax cramped muscles,” according to Healthline. Dr. Edo Paz, M.D. with K Health, tells Romper, “There is some thought that warm water may also improve cramping, as it can cause dilation of your blood vessels. Another tip to help with cramping is to use a heating pad on your lower abdomen.” Drinking more water may be the last thing you want to do when you feel bloated but it can really help flush excess out sodium that may be contributing to the bloat.
3. Promotes Relaxation
The next time you find yourself in a stressful situation at work or about to lose it in the school drop off line (that place is mayhem) you may consider reaching for a thermos of hot water. Simply put, the warmth of the water sends a soothing signal to the body. A study done by the journal Psychopharmacology found that drinking warm liquid, especially when mixed with milk, "improved mood and reduced anxiety 30 and 60 min post-consumption."
"Warm water increases blood flow, which can help muscles relax," Schapiro tells Romper. Just be sure not to drink water that's too hot. Paz says this, "can damage the tissue in your esophagus and the tissues in your mouth," and can also damage taste buds which seems like the opposite of relaxing.
4. Increases Circulation
Hot water is known as a "vasodilator" which means it expands blood vessels. This is true when you sit in a hot bubble bath or take a steamy shower, but it's also true when you drink warm water. Schapiro tells Romper, "[consuming warm water] helps your organs carry your blood more efficiently. Increased blood circulation means a lower risk of high blood pressure."
5. Eases Constipation
Constipation is so frustrating (hello, my jeans won’t button because there’s a poop baby within) but drinking warm water can help ease constipation naturally. “Drinking warm water first thing in the morning or an empty stomach can help increase contractions in the intestine to get things moving," Schapiro tells Romper. Mirchandani says that consuming warm liquid can “increase bowel flow” which is why you may notice you get the urge to go right after drinking a steaming cup of coffee.
6. Helps Clear Toxins From The Body
"Drinking hot water raises your body temperature, which can cause you to sweat and release toxins," Schapiro tells Romper. This also happens when you take a hot bath or go in a sauna, but drinking warm water is a quick and easy way to relieve toxins that are trapped in the body.
When you're hot and sweaty, you're probably inclined to reach for that icy glass of water, but you actually may want to rethink that choice. "Interestingly there is some evidence that drinking cold water can slow down your body's cooling mechanisms. This is because cold water can reduce your sweating, which is an important mechanism to cool our body. However, this difference is very minor," Paz tells Romper. You want your body to sweat for as long as it needs to to reduce toxins, and drinking super cold liquid may shorten your natural sweating mechanism.
7. Helps Relieve A Sore Throat And Congestion
Gargling with water salt water is one of the oldest tricks for curing a sore throat. When you're feeling under the weather, it's essential to stay hydrated, and warm water will hydrate you and help ease an irritated throat. "Warm water is one of the best ways to help manage both symptoms," Mirchandani says. Inhaling the steam from a cup of very hot liquid can also ease congestion.