With winter approaching and temperatures dropping, there’s never been a better time to enjoy a nice warm drink. As Japanese scholar Okakura Kakuzō once said, “Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage.” Warm drinks offer real health benefits, but you don’t have to stick to tea to enjoy these.
Consuming any warm drink, even if that happens to be warm water, will heat you up. Naturally, your hands will heat up simply by holding a mug, which is comforting in its own right, but when the liquid hits thermosensors in the oesophagus and stomach, your body temperature will rise.
With the New Year approaching, you may have one eye on resolutions. One of the more common resolutions is to lose weight and hot water can assist you in losing or maintaining weight. According to the director of Nutritional Services at Integrated Medicine and Nutrition in Mount Kisco, Dr. Michael Wald, “Hot water may increase body temperature and therefore increase the metabolic rate slightly.” This results in your body using more calories throughout the day.
If you are prone to colds, you will no doubt notice an improvement in your mood, and potentially your symptoms, when you consume a warm drink. Dr. Wald notes that hot water hitting the receptors in the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, and intestines stimulate “the pleasure centres in the brain.” Director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, Professor Ron Eccles, noted in a 2008 study that there is a placebo effect produced by consuming warmdrinks. He also stated that sweet drinks can stimulate receptors in the mouth and the receptor that picks up sweet tastes sends a stronger electrical signal to the brain when food or drink is warm.
One of the nation’s favourite drinks is a nice cup of tea and there’s no doubting the health benefits of this. The antioxidants in tea can help protect against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and Parkinson’s disease. Though most research on tea is positive, it is worth living by the mantra, “Everything in moderation.” And watch the amount of milk and sugar you use.
In Short: Warm drinks will not only heat you up this winter, but potentially improve your mood, how you are feeling, and protect you against disease.