It’s official: Hot drinks actually do cool you down in a heatwave

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Anyone else sweltering right now? If, like us, you’ve spent the last few days dabbing your forehead with a cold flannel and Googling ‘how to stay cool in a heatwave’, then listen up, because we’ve got advice from the experts.

According to a resurfaced study, hot drinks are actually the answer to staying cool when the sun is out.

It’s a contentious one, and it seems to be argued about whenever the sun is out…but hear us out.

tea heatwave how to stay cool

You might not fancy a cuppa in a heatwave, but listen up… (Credit: Unsplash)

The study, conducted by the University of Ottawa, found that drinking a hot drink when temperatures are hot triggers your body’s sweat response, which then cools you down.

This is because the sweat cools and evaporates on your skin’s surface, preventing you from feeling too warm.

When the sweat beads leave your body, it converts excess water into liquid vapour, thus also making you cooler.

“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,” Dr Olly Jay said in an interview with Smithsonian Mag.

woman with fan

Too hot? Well, time to boil the kettle, apparently (Credit: Alamy)

“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,” the expert goes on to explain.

The study does warn that this hot drink trick is less effective in humid conditions, where you might already be sweating, and the water doesn’t evaporate off you enough to cool you.

“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 and doesn’t evaporate from the skin’s surface, then drinking a hot drink is a bad thing.

“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.”

woman drinking hot drink

Avoid hot drinks when it’s really humid (Credit: Pexels)

So, we’d attempt the hot drinks hack now, but maybe avoid when the temperatures start tipping into the mid 30s later in the week (eeek).

In the meantime, anyone for a cuppa?