Iced coffee and refreshingly sweet iced teas are the quintessential go-to drinks when temperatures start to rise. A hot drink on a sweltering summer day might sound ridiculous, but health enthusiasts and, even science, suggest that it can have some surprising benefits.
According to Love Grace Foods, a small organic foods company, the idea of drinking warm tea during the summer originated from traditional Chinese medicine. People in eastern countries believe the stomach is the body’s “internal fire” and hot foods and drinks are needed to “maintain our metabolism and energy.” Cold water and similar drinks counteract that belief and weaken the body.
Here are four reasons to ditch the ice, and opt for hot drinks this summer:
1. Improves Digestion
Warm foods and drinks boost the function of our digestive system. The Love Grace Foods blog explains that cold, icy drinks weaken our body’s ability to digest food by “restricting blood flow to the digestive system.”
2. Promotes Lung Function
Additionally, traditional Chinese medicine believes the stomach is the “mother” of the lung. Theoretically, if a person’s stomach is healthy and functioning properly, then an individual’s lungs are strong, as well.
3. Boosts The Immune System
The blog also explains that when we ingest icy drinks, our GI tract tends to function at a higher rate, meaning our body can’t properly absorb the nutrients from our food. Warm drinks, like tea, boost circulation and “promote nutrient absorption in the body.”
4. It Cools You Down
This might sound strange, but research proves the theory that drinking a hot drink on a hot day can cool you down. There’s some science involved, and as experts explain, you can only really feel the effects on days that you’re not already sweating profusely.
“If you drink a hot drink, it does result in a lower amount of heat stored inside your body, provided the additional sweat that’s produced when you drink the hot drink can evaporate,” explained Ollie Jay, a researcher at University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics.
Jay went on to explain to Smithsonian’s online magazine that there’s a bit of catch, though:
“On a very hot and humid day, if you’re wearing a lot of clothing, or if you’re having so much sweat that it starts to drip on the ground and doesn’t evaporate from the skin’s surface, then drinking a hot drink is a bad thing,” he said. “The hot drink still does add a little heat to the body, so if the sweat’s not going to assist in evaporation, go for a cold drink.”