Hot Tea on a Hot Day: Friend or Foe?

 

It’s hot out there. How about a nice cold drink?
You hear the clink of ice cubes in a tall glass, see the beads of sweat condensing on the outside, and you just know you’re in for some serious refreshment.

So why does the rest of the world drink hot tea in hot weather?
Can a couple of billion subcontinental residents be wrong?

There’s lot of scientific pontification about neural thermoregulation and TRPV1 receptors in the tongue, but basically the science behind the hot tea theory is that it raises your body’s temperature which naturally makes you perspire, and that helps cool you off.

For hot tea to work as advertised, the cooling power of sweat would have to exceed the heating power of the tea. The reality is that neither is having all that much of an effect. Our bodies are really good at maintaining our core temperature, and a single glass of anything isn’t likely to be sufficient to alter it. What a hot drink can do is warm the tissues it travels past on its way to your stomach—too small and fleeting to heat your core but enough to make you feel warm and flushed. Definitely not the effect you were hoping for.

Trust your intuition.
You wouldn’t turn up the heat in your house on a hot day. That would make you sweat too, but you wouldn’t feel any cooler.

 

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