For as long as I remember, my mom began each day drinking a cup of warm water. I thought it was, well, weird. But as an adult, I joined her in this ritual. She lived to 102 and needed no prescription medications.
Recently my brother told me he had started drinking warm water (with apple cider vinegar and honey) after developing some health problems. He believed it has helped him.
I decided to explore the topic a bit more.
According to ancient Chinese medicine, hot water is a yin beverage, trusted to restore balance in a person’s health. The belief has existed for centuries, aided by periods during which the government advocated consuming boiled water. (The boiling may have been to kill bacteria, but the practice continued as a part of Chinese culture. It is not uncommon to request “re shui“—or hot water—in restaurants.)
There’s a similar philosophy from the Ayurvedic (Hindu) tradition. It promotes drinking a glass of warm water every morning on an empty stomach to stimulate digestion.
While I’ll never know the source of my mother’s morning routine, it appears to be more respected than what I thought. Here are a few benefits sources cite for starting the day consuming plain hot water.
It improves circulation and aids digestion
Warm water widens the blood vessels, increasing blood flow throughout the body. Digestive organs are better lubricated to keep digestion moving. Warm water can help cleanse the body and eliminate toxins. And it eases constipation.
It can reduce premature aging
Since toxins in the body contribute to the appearance of aging, you want to get rid of them. Warm water helps keep skin cells hydrated and supple, slowing down the aging process.
It can help with weight loss
Research has long supported the correlation between drinking water and losing weight. Drinking any water boosts the feeling of fullness. But drinking warm water, in particular, elevates your body’s temperature, raising your metabolic rate. That could explain why one study showed that switching to hot water from cold water enhanced the potential for weight loss. (Hot water alone won’t cause weight loss, but it can be part of the process.)
It eases pain
Drinking warm water increases blood flow, allowing muscles to relax. It’s known for having a calming and soothing effect on abdominal muscles, providing some relief from cramps and muscle spasms.
There appears to be no real downside to drinking warm water in the morning (other than your own tolerance level). But it’s easy enough to try for a few weeks to see whether it works for you. It’s part of my wellness lifestyle now, and I don’t foresee that changing.
For more information:
Benefits of Drinking Hot Water, Healthline
Health Benefits of Warm Water, Medical Daily
What are the Benefits of Drinking Hot Water? Medical News Today
9 Super Surprising Benefits of Drinking Plain Hot Water, Reader’s Digest