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7 Super Surprising Benefits of Drinking Plain Hot Water

Start your day with a drink of hot (or warm) water and you'll soon reap the benefits.

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Hot water being poured in a small white cupPhoto: Shutterstock / BAEVSKIY DMITRY

You may have read about the incredible health benefits of drinking hot water and lemon, but what about the benefits of drinking hot water on its own? According to ancient Chinese medicine and Indian culture, starting the day with a glass of hot water helps kick-start the digestive system and provides a range of health benefits. However, it’s not a case of the hotter, the better. Keep water to a maximum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid damaging the epithelial cells in your mouth and throat.

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Helps with weight loss

On its own, consuming hot water won’t make you lose weight, but it does help the process. Nutritionist Cara Walsh, RD, recommends starting the morning with hot water and lemon to fire up your metabolism, which gives the body the ability to burn more calories throughout the day.”Drinking hot water also clears out your intestines to prevent bloating in your body, thus getting rid of excess water weight you may be carrying,” she adds. Here are 50 things your doctor wishes you knew about losing weight.

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Woman with her hand pressed against her nose and cheeksPhoto: Shutterstock / AGNIESZKA MARCINSKA

Clears sinuses

Everyone’s looking for home remedies for a stuffy nose—so give a drink of hot water a try. It may help alleviate some of the symptoms of a respiratory tract infection, says Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, MS. Clinical trials suggest that drinking hot water benefits nasal congestion quicker than drinking cold water does because the higher temperature speeds up the rate at which mucus may travel. “The temperature of fluids we drink may possibly make a difference in the way we manage and deal with certain upper respiratory infection symptoms,” says Dr. Okeke-Igbokwe.

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Easier on your teeth

Your teeth may thank you for switching from cold to warm water. According to Sanda Moldovan, MS, DDS, warm water is better for the teeth and restorations, and is more easily absorbed. “Certain white filling materials contract in response to cold water, causing fillings to debond off the tooth,” explains Moldovan. Again, make sure your water isn’t too hot. Any extreme temperature on the teeth can be detrimental, so try to drink your water at room temperature to keep your pearly whites happy.

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Woman holding a hand against her stomachPhoto: Shutterstock / IRINA BG

Better for digestion

Warm water has a vasodilator effect, meaning it widens the blood vessels and stimulates the blood flow to rush toward the intestine, aiding the digestive process. “Drinking it on an empty stomach in the morning speeds right through your digestive system to the bowels where it is needed,” says cardiologist Luiza Petre, MD. But the digestive health benefits of warm water don’t stop there. It has a faster hydrating effect, so when it is followed by a meal the temperature helps emulsify fats, making them more digestible. Here are some weird facts about the digestive system you might not know.

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Helps clear out toxins

A drink of hot water raises the core body temperature, stimulating the sweating process, which is one of the way the body eliminates toxins. When consumed on a regular basis with lemon added to it, hot water helps balance all the acidic foods we ingest daily, says Dr. Petre. If you’re not a fan of lemon, try green tea, which may decrease free radical activity in the body. Look out for these signs your liver is in big trouble.

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Natural pain relief

While drinking cold water causes muscles to contract, drinking warm water increases blood flow to the tissues, allowing muscles to relax. This can help with all kinds of pain, says Dr. Petre, from joint aches to menstrual cramps. Drinking warm water before going to bed also has a soothing effect, which may help you fall asleep faster, and it will make you feel fuller—no midnight cravings!—and more rejuvenated in the morning. Check out these tips for the best sleep ever.

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Woman in pjs clutching her stomach as she rising out of bedPhoto: Shutterstock / AFRICA STUDIO

Eases constipation

Constipation occurs when there is little or no bowel movement and is often caused by a lack of water in the body. If you start each day with a drink of warm water (before eating anything) you can help improve your bowel movements and reduce the likelihood of constipation. “The elevated temperature stimulates the intestinal peristalsis and helps with sluggish bowel movements and constipation,” explains Dr. Petre. If you can stand it, sip warm water throughout the day for even greater benefits. Here are more natural home remedies for constipation.