Written by: Mutshidzi Kwinda
Growing up I was accustomed to drinking hot water, especially at night after dinner. This was a custom that my mother taught me and my siblings while we were young. This was in addition to regular water intake. To this day, my mother likes to still remind us to not forget to drink hot water. This is because my mother believed that warm water is important in helping our bodies digest the food better and faster. She would also say, hot water is better at cleansing the digestive tract compared to cold water. Especially after eating greasy or fatty food like tripe. Although I did not understand the whole concept then. I later discovered that other people also do it too in different parts of the world.
While I was doing some research for this article, I learned that drinking hot water is a common ritual among the Chinese people. Since the 4th century B.C, Chinese people have believed that drinking hot water has many health benefits such as “expelling humidity from the body.”. During that time however, access to boiling water was not as easy as it is now. So they would reserve the hot water they did manage to boil for specific people like those who were sick, pregnant women as well as the elderly.
Today with all the technological advancements and better access to running water, most people practice this custom in different ways and for different reasons. In addition to the hot water, some people prefer to include fresh lemon slices and/or honey for additional health benefits. Here are some of the common benefits of drinking hot water.
During the period of my cancer treatments three years ago, I experienced constipation which got me trying all kinds of home remedies to use in conjunction with my prescription drugs. Among the things I tried was hot water with lemon and/or honey.
The good thing about this particular remedy is that it is comforting, healthy and it has other health benefits. One such benefit is its ability to prevent or reduce flu symptoms and congestion. Other people also claim that it is good for promoting healthy skin and detoxifying.
With constipation, various studies report that hot water with lemon and/or honey can help soften the stool and increase hydration which further supports better bowel movements.
This is another benefit of hot water that I can attest to. As I mentioned above, hot water is the best choice of drink to opt for especially after eating a heavy or fatty meal. This is because, unlike cold water, hot water is a good emulsifier.
The difference between hot water and cold water in this instance is that hot water is able to break down the food faster. This helps the body to use less energy towards the digestion process and therefore allows for effortless bowel movement.
Normally when our body's temperature rises, the blood vessels relax. Allowing for easy blood flow throughout the body to and from the heart.
Similarly, because the water is hot, it adds to the natural warmth in our bodies, which ultimately eases blood circulation even further. The better the circulation the better the muscle relaxation. And when the muscles relax, the body can benefit in many ways. For example, it can help with relieving menstrual pains, cramps, as well as pain caused by other inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
Also, hot water is a better option to go for after dinner not only for its digestive benefits but also because it can also help you sleep better. This is due to its function as a natural muscle relaxant.
Please note and understand that the benefits mentioned above have not been proven scientifically and are based on personal feedback.
Let us know what your best remedies are for constipation, better digestion, and circulation.