Does Drinking A Hot Beverage Cool You Down?

By mahir | June 8, 2011

When it's hot outside, should you choose the hot tea on the left or the iced tea on the right?

You may have heard the old wives’ tale that a steaming cup of tea on a sweltering day will make you feel colder. Although it’s a common question and I think a lot of us want the answer to be “yes,” unfortunately, that’s just not the case. 

This myth is simply not true; drinking something hot will not cool you down. Some people think it does because they “perceive” they are colder. But our perception is just fooling us.

When you drink or eat something hot, you feel warmer, like when you have a warm bowl of soup or oatmeal. But really, the amount of heat that goes into your body is so small that it won’t actually change your internal body temperature.

In the summer, if you drink something hot you’ll feel even warmer which will cause you to sweat more. As the sweat evaporates, you’ll think you are feeling cooler.

In truth, the amount of heat lost by the sweating will never exceed the amount of heat you put into your body with your beverage. You’ll always be putting in more heat than what comes out. Also, the extra heat makes the blood vessels near your skin dilate to help cool you down, but this will cause your nerves to react and make you feel flush and even warmer. Not good!

So, although drinking a hot tea or coffee on a hot day might make you sweat more and “feel” a bit cooler, you’re only fooling yourself. You won’t actually cool down doing this. Instead, why not try an orange or tropical smoothie.

The conclusion: as summer begins, choose cold drinks instead of warm ones.

What are your favorite summer coolers?

Photo Credit: Lindsay Hunt

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