This drink is far better than water at keeping you cool during a heatwave

young woman fanning herself while sitting on couch at home
Surprising drink to cool you down in a heatwavenensuria - Getty Images

There's no denying the UK weather hasn't exactly been consistent this summer, but this week it's truly serving sunshine, blue skies and soaring temperatures. And with this comes hot and sweaty WFH days and sticky nights, meaning we're willing to try anything that'll help stop us melting and keep us cool during a heatwave.

But, whilst this trick to make your fan feel colder makes a whole lotta sense, one hot weather hack we've come across is entirely unexpected... In fact, studies have found that drinking hot drinks can actually make you feel cooler. Yep, hot drinks! So, what's the deal?

woman sitting in a cafe in the sunshine drinking out of a tea cup
Anna Efetova - Getty Images

According to a study carried out at the University of Ottawa, drinking a hot drink when it's warm outside can cool you down – so long as you're not already sweating, that is. That's because drinking hot beverages triggers your body's sweat response (without raising your core temperature too much). The sweat then cools on the surface of your skin which in turn reduces the feeling that you're too warm.

Explaining how it all works, Ollie Jay, a researcher who worked on the study, said: "If you drink a hot drink, it does result in a lower amount of heat stored inside your body, provided the additional sweat that’s produced when you drink the hot drink can evaporate."

The expert added, "What we found is that when you ingest a hot drink, you actually have a disproportionate increase in the amount that you sweat... the hot drink is hotter than your body temperature, so you are adding heat to the body, but the amount that you increase your sweating by — if that can all evaporate — more than compensates for the the added heat to the body from the fluid."

woman resting cup of herbal tea on her legs while sitting on the grass
lolostock - Getty Images

But, don't be fooled into thinking a hot drink on a hot day will solve all your problems, as the hack only works in certain circumstances. "On a very hot and humid day, if you’re wearing a lot of clothing, or if you’re having so much sweat that it starts to drip on the ground [nice!] and doesn’t evaporate from the skin’s surface, then drinking a hot drink is a bad thing," Jay adds. "The hot drink still does add a little heat to the body, so if the sweat’s not going to assist in evaporation, go for a cold drink."

It's also worth bearing in mind the NHS advises that to cool yourself down you should have "cold food and drinks, avoid alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks, and have a cool shower or put cool water on your skin or clothes". So perhaps see having a cuppa for cooling effects as the exception and not the rule (a decaf coffee or nice herbal tea might be best). And remember, only try it when you're not already a sweaty mess (no judgement!).

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