Have you ever wondered why the people of India, one of the hottest countries in the world, are famous for drinking hot tea? The pattern continues across many hot countries and at first glance makes little sense. If these people are so hot why are they making themselves hotter? It appears these civilizations are ahead of the curve in their understanding of body heat and they may realize that drinking a hot drink can actually cool your body down.
While this may sound counter-intuitive a new study has proven what many have believed and practiced for centuries. When you are hot your body sweats to compensate. It releases these beads of sweat that evaporate off your skin and cause you to cool down. By drinking a hot drink you are able to sweat more and therefore cool down more. Studies have shown that the increase in your core temperature is overcompensated by the cooling effect on your skin.
However, the key is evaporation. If you are sweating so profusely that your clothes are damp or that the sweat is dripping to the floor, you are not getting any of the benefits of evaporation. In this case if you were to drink tea you would be getting hotter without any benefit. This is why you won’t see any athletes drinking hot tea during a match. Instead tea drinking is a useful tool in a comfortable space where you are not currently sweating an excessive amount.
It appears that the hot drink is a tool to fool the body. The heat is felt by receptors in the throat and mouth and they send an alert to the body that they are too hot. This causes the body is sweat. While the core of the body isn’t yet overheating you are still getting the benefits as if it was. On a hot day when you are already sweating a lot, a cool drink is still the best recommendation.
Therefore the idea of drinking a hot drink on a hot day definitely does make sense but under very strict circumstances. If you are in a humid country or are being physically active a hot drink is a terrible idea. If you are in a dry heat then a cup of tea could be just the thing to cool you down. Let us know if you have tried drinking a hot drink in warm conditions and if you have felt any benefit.