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Drinking warm water: is it really healthier?

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A cup of warm water instead of coffee in the morning – sounds like it takes a lot of getting used to. But not for everyone, because when it comes to drinking water, it is not the proverbial opinions that differ, but above all the cultures. In Asian countries, especially in China or India, it is completely normal to drink hot or warm water straight, as it is considered very healthy in terms of both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda. Cold water, on the other hand, is frowned upon, while we enjoy it primarily as a thirst quencher in summer.

And who is right: does drinking warm water actually offer benefits? We have with Dr. Burkhard Jahn, specialist in general medicine and nutritional medicine, asked: Drinking warm water is healthy – truth or myth?

Drinking warm or cold water – which is healthier?

Water is healthy, that’s for sure. A regular and sufficient supply of water is the basis for all bodily functions to run smoothly, i.e. water keeps the human machine running because it is an important fuel in your body. Does the temperature really play such a big role?

“I have been drinking one or two cups of hot water when I get up for years,” reveals our expert Dr. Jahn. “At some point I stopped drinking coffee and switched to water.”

He came to this through traditional Indian medicine, better known as Ayurveda. There, drinking warm water is considered healing and very healthy. The heat is said to support the so-called Agni, the digestive fire, in its work. “It’s also just very pleasant to drink something warm in the morning,” says the nutritional doctor and author (“The Healthy Person”).

What is the ideal drinking temperature of water?

You often read that cold water in the body first has to be brought to “operating temperature” (37 degrees body temperature), which takes a lot of energy. Instead, warm drinks are said to be the better choice as a thirst quencher in summer. However, in a statement from the Justus Liebig University of Giessen on the subject of “drinking on hot days”, these theories are examined more closely and emphasized that there is no scientific evidence for this claim. After drinking a cool drink, passive – not active – warming takes place in the gastrointestinal tract. This means that our body temperature drops minimally and adapts. The same counter-regulation occurs when drinking warm water, which is completely normal.

Cool drinks in summer are safe, but ice-cold drinks can be hard on your stomach

Lukewarm drinks, around 37 degrees, mean the least amount of effort for the body, but cool drinks are also completely okay to quench your thirst in summer. However, it is not recommended to drink an ice-cold drink as it can lead to stomach cramps.

What is warm water supposed to do in the body?

There are numerous articles circulating on the Internet in which warm water is said to have truly miraculous effects: “Why warm water makes you more beautiful than cold water” or “Easiest medicine: drink warm water” – to name just two headlines. Warm water is said to rid the body of toxins, relieve pain, improve blood circulation and even help you lose weight. There are no studies or expert opinions that can support these statements.

There is talk, for example, that the nutrient fat in particular can be more easily removed from food by drinking warm water and would thereby actively support weight loss. “Absolute nonsense,” says nutritional doctor Jahn, who is not aware of any scientific basis for such claims.

However, there are actually a few special features that drinking warm water brings with it and we don’t want to withhold them from you:

1. Warm water gets the circulation going optimally

Drinking a glass of water in the morning on an empty stomach stimulates your metabolism. “In Ayurveda it is said that warm water acts like a shower from the inside,” says our expert. “That’s a good comparison, because the shower in the morning also revitalizes our body and cleanses it from the outside. So a glass of warm water brings additional cleansing from the inside.”

Doesn’t a glass of cold water give you a metabolism boost? “Scientifically difficult to prove, but I would definitely recommend warm water in the morning as it is much more pleasant,” says Jahn. With a thermo mug you can keep your water pleasantly warm, even when you’re on the go.

2. Warm water stimulates digestion and prevents constipation

To keep your digestion going, regular water intake is essential. “Above all, the amount you drink plays an important role in digestion,” says Dr. Jahn. Water stimulates intestinal peristalsis and thus supports regular bowel movements. Therefore, drinking water regularly will definitely prevent constipation. Do you find it difficult to drink something regularly? Here are 7 tips to drink more water in everyday life.

A glass of warm water in the morning can boost your digestion, just give it a try

But does the water really have to be warm? Not necessarily, but studies actually show the antispasmodic and beneficial effects of warm water on the intestines, especially in the context of reducing spasms (cramps) during colonoscopies.

“Warm water is also simply more pleasant to drink and perhaps the drinking temperature encourages some people to drink more,” says the nutritionist. If the taste of plain water is too boring for you, add a slice of lemon or cucumber. Also delicious and super healthy: warm ginger water. Here’s how to prepare it correctly.

3. Warm water can relieve pain

If you have stomach pain, flatulence or cramps, many people turn to a hot water bottle because the warm water or heat has a relaxing and vasodilating effect. This can work just as well from the inside: according to an Indian review, a cup of hot water can help relax tense muscles and nerves. Warm water provides a certain feel-good effect both inside and out, which you can easily take advantage of – without a prescription, without side effects. However, if the pain persists, seek medical advice.

The best thing to do is to add a few herbs and prepare a herbal tea for stomach aches etc., such as the well-known fennel-anise-caraway tea. According to studies, fennel and caraway have an antispasmodic effect and are traditionally used for digestive problems.

By the way: Fiber also supports healthy digestion and should be on your plate every day. If you want to eat healthier, our varied and fiber-rich nutrition plans are ideal for you. We provide you with changing recipes and shopping lists every week. Adapted to your calorie needs, your goals and your preferences.

4. Hot water has a beneficial effect on colds

Drinking warm water regularly in the morning cannot prevent colds or ward off viruses. But holding your stuffy nose over a steaming, hot cup of water (or tea) can provide relief from your stuffy nose. The steam from the hot water and of course the water itself keeps the mucous membranes moist, which is always recommended as a supportive healing measure for colds.

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A hot tea or lemon can subjectively relieve your cold symptoms

An older study also examined whether hot drinks have a positive effect on runny noses and other cold symptoms. Objectively, no significant improvement could be measured (air flow in the nose), but subjectively, after drinking hot tea, the test subjects experienced immediate relief from coughs, runny nose, sore throats, chills and fatigue.

Is warm water better than coffee in the morning?

This cannot be said in general terms, especially since the reasons why people drink coffee in the morning are very different. Some may find the soothing warmth of coffee more pleasant in the morning than the caffeine, Dr. Jahn. A cup of tea or a mug of warm water can therefore have the same warming effect.

According to our expert, a hot drink in the morning is always a good choice – including coffee, because it is anything but unhealthy. “Coffee has long since lost its bad reputation and can definitely be described as a healthy food,” says Jahn. The main reason for this is the secondary plant substances, such as the so-called polyphenols, in the coffee bean, which have been proven to provide health benefits.

So no one has to go without their beloved coffee in the morning. “Anyone who enjoys drinking coffee can continue to do so with a clear conscience.” Dr. Jahn recommends perhaps simply drinking the warm water in addition to the coffee.

Warm water or cold – it’s best to just try out what works for you. According to Ayurveda, the positive properties of warm water clearly outweigh the negative ones. Maybe start with a glass of warm water immediately after getting up as a small, healthy metabolism booster and a little later drink your coffee as usual as a delicious wake-up call. By the way, you can find a healthy alternative to caffeine here

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