Does Drinking Hot Tea Cool You Down?

Believe it or not, when drinking hot tea, your overall body temperature can cool down. That’s right. Getting hot can make you cool. Hot tea might not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you’re overheating, but it’s by far one of the most effective methods of cooling your body. The science behind the hot drink cooldown is fascinating. 

Drinking hot tea increases the temperature in your stomach. This essentially leads your brain to think that the core of your body is hotter than it is. This leads your brain to regulate body temperature by starting to sweat, which cools you down. 

People have been drinking hot tea to cool down for centuries because it just worked. To learn more about exactly why this works, keep reading. 

How Does Drinking Hot Tea Cool You Down?

If you want to get technical, evaporative cooling is the scientific term used to describe why hot tea can cool you down.  

This explanation from Peter McNaughton of Cambridge University describes what happens when you drink a hot beverage. 

  1. Drink a cup of hot tea
  2. Your core temperature rises when the hot tea hits your stomach
  3. Nerve receptors in your mouth and stomach send signals to your brain about the temperature increase
  4. Your brain tries to reduce your body temperature by telling your body to start sweating
  5. Your skin starts to sweat
  6. As the sweat evaporates from your skin, your body starts to cool down

Evaporation requires energy to take place; your body will take heat energy from your body and use it towards the evaporation of sweat. By the time the evaporation process occurs, you have lost enough heat energy to lower your body temperature. 

What Can Stop Hot Drinks From Cooling Your Down?

While this evaporative cooling process has been proven to happen when drinking hot tea, some things can complicate the process.  

Dehydration 

For your body to cool down with a hot drink, you have to be hydrated. If you are not hydrated, your body will not have the excess liquid used to create the sweat. 

For you to grow cooler after drinking a hot cup of tea, you need an abundance of liquid flowing through your body. 

When not properly hydrated, your body can refrain from sweating. Since sweating is the first step in evaporative cooling, this will prevent you from getting any cooler when drinking hot tea. 

High Humidity

Since this is a process that requires evaporation, you must be in an environment where the process of evaporation has the ability to take place. Areas that have a high level of humidity in the air will not allow evaporation to occur. 

The reason behind this is the fact that humidity is the capacity of water vapor in the air. When there is high humidity in the air, the air cannot hold any more water vapor, so sweat will not be likely to evaporate in these conditions.

If you do find yourself trying to cool off with a cup of hot tea in an area of high humidity, then you will only increase your temperature. When in high humidity areas, it is recommended to drink cold beverages for the best result.

Lack of Airflow

We have established that the sweat needs to evaporate for the cooling process actually to occur. With that being said, there needs to be a good amount of airflow to the bare skin, or evaporation will not occur. 

Typically you aren’t wearing a winter coat when you are trying to cool off, but there are some notable instances in the summer when you should not use hot tea to cool off. 

For instance, if you are wearing a three-piece suit at a steaming hot summer wedding, you may want to opt for the cold glass of water instead of the hot tea. 

Psychology and Cooling

The process of evaporative cooling takes some time actually to complete itself and cool you down.  When this experiment was initially conducted, scientists monitored people over a period of 75 minutes after drinking hot tea. 

Drinking hot tea was shown to lower body temperature within an hour after drinking it. As humans, we typically prefer to go for instant gratification, which is understandable when we are baking in that summer heat. 

Our brains also tend to correlate a cold beverage with refreshment, which allows us to feel that sensation immediately after taking a sip. To just about everyone, that is a better choice than having to wait a certain amount of time before feeling cooled off. 

That is not to say that hot tea cannot cool you down because it certainly can lower your overall body temperature. It’s just that, for most people drinking a cold beverage is typically a more enjoyable process when looking to feel refreshed and cooled off.

Why Choose Hot Tea To Cool You Off?

The idea of drinking hot tea while you’re sweating and overheating doesn’t sound all that wonderful, even though it works. But, other things go on when you drink tea. Maybe one of these will help convince you that the cooling effect is worth it. 

Tea Offers A Caffeine Boost

Tea also contains a relatively low level of caffeine. Many adults in their daily lives spring for a caffeinated beverage in order to wake themselves up. Although too much caffeine can cause problems with sleep and make you feel jittery. 

The caffeine level of tea is significantly lower than that of coffee, but still typically has enough for the drinker to reap its benefits. Over time, the lower level of caffeine will give the drinker the benefit of better sleep and fewer other health complications. 

Tea Helps With Weight Loss

Tea works as a metabolism booster. In other words, it speeds up your metabolism system, which is excellent for weight loss. When your system is moving at a faster pace than usual, you will burn more calories, which, of course, will end up, resulting in weight loss. 

While drinking tea is not going to make someone lose weight single-handedly, it is an excellent enhancement in addition to exercise. 

Tea Boosts Immune System

Tea has a high level of antioxidants. Most teas also have antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties working together are an excellent recipe for a strong immune system. 

Don’t Overdo It When Cooling Down with Tea

As with any other food or beverage, too much can be harmful to your body. When drinking tea in excess, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

If you’re drinking a caffeinated tea like black tea,  WebMD recommends keeping your consumption to fewer than 5 cups per day.  

So, if you really love drinking hot tea on a hot day, add some cups of decaf or herbal tea to your cooling plan.  

Drinking tea has many health benefits, but those who enjoy tea should make sure they are drinking a safe amount. 

Cooling Off With Hot Tea – Great News for Tea Lovers!

It takes many people by surprise that drinking hot tea can cool the body down, but it has been proven to cool the body off.  For this to happen, you must be hydrated, have airflow to the skin, and low humidity conditions.  I’ll drink to that!

If you love tea as much as I do, pin this to your favorite tea-loving Pinterest board and pass it on for others to enjoy! Pinkies up!

hot tea cools you down by evaporation