As what some could call an old wives’ tale, hot water has been proclaimed to be a miracle worker, providing several health benefits ranging from “detoxing” to relieving stress. This has left many people reaching for the hot water tab on their water dispensers. Singapore is a hot spot for such beliefs, so it would be apt to take a closer look at them.
Hot water indeed has plenty of benefits on your physical and mental well-being. For example, drinking hot water can soothe your aching throat when it gets sore and relieve stress after a long day of work. It has also been proven to help with nasal congestion, as the steam frees up your blocked nose. While many claims about hot water have merit, several have not been proven, or are just flat out untrue. Here are some of the most popular hot water claims and how much you can trust them.
One popular myth is that drinking hot water can “detoxify” your body. The claim is that drinking hot water causes your body temperature to rise, making you sweat. According to this belief, sweating releases toxins from your body, cleansing it. Unfortunately, the body simply does not work that way. While sweat does contain minuscule amounts of waste products, the amount that we remove from our bodies via sweat is insignificant.
Our bodies detoxify themselves through the liver and kidneys, which are then removed from the body through urine or faeces. Unless it is in the context of drug rehabilitation, the term “detoxing” is usually a scam. Simply put, hot water may make you sweat, but it certainly will not help “detox” your body.
It is often claimed that drinking cold water during or after a meal is detrimental to digestion as it can harden the oil in your stomach, making hot water a preferable option. Some even claim that this could form a layer of fat inside the stomach, promoting cancer. This myth is likely derived from people seeing how fats coagulate in cold water outside our bodies.
However, there is no credible evidence that suggests that cold water promotes cancer or slows down digestion, nor that hot water promotes it. The stomach contains bile, a substance that breaks up fats into smaller pieces, making a “hardening” of the oil unlikely. Once inside the stomach, water would also be quickly regulated by the body’s temperature. You can be sure that cold water will not hurt your digestion.
That being said, hot water may have some benefits to your gut microflora (microorganisms in your digestive tract). A recent study on postweaning rabbits in wintertime revealed that gut microflora was healthier in rabbits that had drunk warm water compared to cold water. But whether these results translate to humans is another story.
This is a myth that does have merit. Drinking water has indeed been proven to help with weight loss. The reason is simple – water fills up your stomach, making you feel fuller. Since water has zero calories, it does not contribute to you gaining weight. Who knew that your water cooler could be a weight loss machine?
As for hot water specifically, some claim that drinking hot water speeds up your metabolism, which can help with weight loss. This is simply not true. In fact, drinking cold water means that your body needs to expend energy to bring your body temperature back up, which burns even more calories than hot water.
While some of the myths about the benefits of hot water are problematic, that does not mean you should stop drinking it. As mentioned before, hot water can make you feel better when you are sick, and give you a much needed boost in mood. Also, boiling water is an effective way to kill any undesirable bacteria and viruses, so hot water can sometimes be considered “cleaner”. Either way, drinking water, in general, is very good for your health, no matter the temperature. To make sure that you get the most health benefits out of your water, consider getting a hot and cold water purifier so that you can get the best of both worlds.