8 Health Benefits of Drinking Warm Water


Kelly Yazdani

8 Health Benefits of Drinking Warm Water

Special thanks to our friends at LALO Tactical for the above image. 

I’m a recent addition to the Qore Performance team and a self-proclaimed hydration expert (as in - I like to drink a lot water!).  I find when properly hydrated, my energy is better, my appetite stays more even, I recover from workouts quicker, and I even sleep better.  I tend to drink warm water in the morning, to promote healthy digestion and get my metabolism kicking, and shift to room temperature water as the day progresses, returning again to warm water in the evenings.  In the summer months, I tend toward ice water (long days spent outdoors chasing kids, hiking, swimming, running with the dog, and soaking up the sun) and do more warm and hot beverages in the winter (my outdoor routine doesn’t slow down in the colder months).  My IcePlate has already replaced my daily water bottle, and with the weather beginning to cool in the Washington, DC metro area, I’m filling it with hot water in the morning to keep my body warm and keep me properly hydrated throughout the day.  Drinking hot water has always been intuitive to me, but I know there is firm science behind it. In this post, we’ll answer the following questions:

The #StayToasty Solution

In the northern hemisphere, fall has officially arrived!  At Qore Performance the whole team is shifting gears, helping our customers use their IcePlates to stay warm this winter!  By filling your IcePlate with hot water, you can be more comfortable and productive in the winter months.  When worn over your base layer, the hot water filled IcePlate provides a conductive heating effect, keeping your body warm, and allowing you to enjoy the hydration benefits of drinking hot water.  While drinking ice cold water can be a refreshing option during times of extreme heat and physical exertion, warm water can be an appealing alternative as external temperatures begin to drop.  Drinking warm water provides a myriad of health benefits to boot, and this practice is supported by Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.  Let’s learn more!

 

 

Overall Hydration: Why is it so Important?  A refresher.

The human body uses water for a myriad of essential functions - from body temperature regulation, tissue maintenance, transport of nutrients and oxygen to joint lubrication and digestion [1].  Water, in fact, constitutes approximately 60% of a person's total body weight [2].  

Even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue, confusion, and dizziness [3].  As such, drinking water is an important part of keeping your body both healthy and functional and allowing you to work and play more effectively.  You can’t maintain a competitive edge in any field while dehydrated.

 

But - How much water should I drink?

Traditionally, the 8 x 8 rule has applied - drink 8, 8 ounce glasses of water each day (totally 64 ounces or a half-gallon of water), although this can change based on illness status, level of physical activity, weather, and pregnancy/breastfeeding status [4].  A more recent study though, by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggests a different model.  According to their study, women (on average) need 2.7 liters of water (91 ounces) per day.  Men (on average) need 3.7 liters (125 ounces) of water each day.  These amounts can be met from a variety of sources - food and drink - with food accounting for about 20% of hydration.  These needs can change based on activity level and exertion each day, with very active individuals working in hot conditions having daily total water needs in excess of 6 liters.  Most people can generally meet these needs by letting thirst be their guide [5], although some experts suggest that as we age, our ability to sense thirst may diminish (this can be even more compounded for elderly individuals who are on diuretic medications) [6].  Excess drinking, or hyponatremia, is rare so the study did not set an upper limit of drinking.

 

Drinking Warm Water - One Step Better?

 

Historical Context

In Chinese culture, the practice of drinking warm or hot water has been established for thousands of years, dating back to 4th century BC.  At the time, very few people had access to fuel for heating, so hot water was reserved for the ill or those with the most need. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) also supports this practice.  According to TCM, health is maintained by balancing the yin and yang within the body.  When the yang is too strong, the internal temperature of the body begins to rise (think - fever).  Although counterintuitive at first, hot water is, in fact, a yin beverage.  This is why: when you drink hot water, your internal body temperature rises.  This in turn, promotes sweating.  Sweating lowers your body temperature through evaporative cooling.  The overall result is a lower body temperature, resulting in restored internal balance. [7] (Side note: A cold IcePlate cools the body through a similar mechanism  - mimicking the evaporative cooling effect of sweat.) 

Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient medical system created in India more than 3,000 years ago, also supports these findings.  In this tradition, boiling water is thought to enrich the water with energy (heat = energy).  This gives the water a penetrating quality, called sukshma.  When we drink the heated water, the channels of the body are purified [8].  Ayurveda suggests drinking water between meals.  Drinking water with food can dilute digestive enzymes [16], ultimately slowing the digestive process.

 

8 Health Benefits of Drinking Warm Water

 Drinking warm or hot water is not encouraged when you are working in a warm climate or during exercise.  In other conditions, drinking warm water can benefit you in a number of different ways: 

  1. Reducing toxins: Similar to the logic in both TCM and Ayurveda, hot water increases your body temperature, encourages sweating, and as a result, promotes the release of toxins [11].
  2. Cold and Flu Relief: Drinking hot water can provide relief during the cold and flu season by soothing a sore throat and helping to relieve nasal congestion [11]. (Best practice - throw some lemon juice in there as well!)
  3. Regulating your Digestive System: Starting your day with a glass of warm water can promote regular elimination [16].  The warm water causes your intestines to contract and also helps hydrate your body [11].
  4. Food breakdown: Hot water may help your body to break down food more readily. [13]
  5. Reduces anxiety and improves mood [14].
  6. Weight Loss: Some studies suggest drinking heated water may actually encourage weight loss [15].  In an article published by the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, participants who drank the most water, consumed less calories overall [18].
  7. Combats pain: Warm water increases blood flow to body tissue, providing a form of natural pain relief.  Drinking warm water can provide relief to people experiencing joint pain or menstrual cramps [19].
  8. Clearer skin: Anecdotally, it can also clear up acne prone skin [20]. 

 

 

How Hot is too Hot?  Optimal drinking temperature.  136 degrees F.

When you fill up your mug at your local convenient store or grab a coffee or tea from your favorite shop, the temperature of that beverage typically falls between 160 and 185 degrees F (71.1 to 85 degrees C).  Exposure to drinks at this temperature can actually cause scalding burns (Think about that first sip of any hot beverage and the initial cringe you experience or the epic Seinfeld episode where Kramer gets burned by piping hot coffee).  Scalding burns are caused in less than 1 second by water temperatures above 150 degrees F. At 140 degrees F this time frame increases to around 5 seconds [10].  (As a frame of reference, home water heaters have a recommended setting of 120 degrees F to avoid scalding in normal household use [9].)  A 2008 study tried to find the optimal drinking temperature.  For their study group, the ideal drinking temperature fell within a 15 degree range of 140 degrees F (within 8.3 degrees of 60 degrees C).  Their analysis identified an optimal drinking temperature of 136 degrees F (57.8 degrees C). [10]

 

End conclusion: Drink more (hot) water (in cooler months).

The evidence is clear.  Drinking warm water can improve your health in a wide variety of ways and give you an advantage of your competitors in cold weather settings. The Qore Performance IcePlate is the ideal receptacle for your warming needs.  Fill the IcePlate with hot water from your local convenience store, place it in a sleeve, and stay warm as you head out into the chilly cold.  Trust me. I’m doing it as I type, and your body will thank you.

 

How have you used your IcePlate to increase productivity and comfort in the cold?  We would love to hear your story. Post your comments below.

 

 

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