Drink a Hot Beverage to Keep Cool, Science Says

Believe it or not, the research says it works better than cold drinks


From the East Coast to the West, people are suffering from a scorcher of a summer. While conventional wisdom tells us a cold drink will help you cool off, science is telling us it's the opposite — it's the hot drinks that will help you cool down on a hot day.

Don't believe it? Smithsonian reports on a study published months ago, done by researcher Ollie Jay at the University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics, that confirms it. How does it work? When you take in a hot beverage, you're effectively adding to your body's temperature. That doesn't sound like it will cool you, but it does: when you drink something hot, you start sweating more (lovely), which evaporates and cools the body. Jay explained to the Smithsonian, the tiny increase in body temperature from drinking hot is outweighed by the increase in sweat.

What's important about this research is that it's typically thought that hot drinks raise the body's core temperature, therefore making you a sweaty beast. But Jay points out a different theory: it's the body's thermosensors in the mouth and throat that set off your sweating response to a hot drink.

But before you start chugging hot coffee to cool down (which sounds more or less miserable), Jay noted the key component to this science: the sweat has to evaporate for you to cool down. Said Jay, "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." So basically, East Coasters, you're still out of luck in this heat wave.


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