UK weather: Met Office forecasts spike in temperatures
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Tea enthusiasts like to boast about the supposed health benefits of their beloved hot drink. It has been claimed tea is full of antioxidants and it can help prevent some health issues. Many have also claimed sipping tea can help to cool people down during a period of hot weather, but scientists have investigated whether this is actually the case.
Does tea cool you down in hot weather?
On a scorching hot day, many may crave an icy cold drink rather than a hot cup of tea.
But with some advocating hot drinks as a solution in sweaty weather, some may find themselves putting the kettle on.
But is there any science justifying the claim that hot drinks can cool you down in hot weather?
Scientifically speaking, there is not an easy yes or no answer to this question.
In 2012, researchers at the University of Ottawa found that, in some circumstances, drinking a hot drink can help people to cool down.
Speaking to the Smithsonian Mag, Dr Ollie Jay, one of the authors of the study, explained: “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.”
Therefore, the reason someone may cool down when they consume a hot drink is that drinking the beverage will make them sweat more.
When this sweat evaporates, it works to cool the person down.
Dr Jay added: “What we found is that when you ingest a hot drink, you actually have a disproportionate increase in the amount that you sweat.
“Yes, 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 added heat to the body from the fluid.”
However, the circumstances have to be right for someone to cool down after they drink a hot drink.
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In humid heat, it may be that sweat cannot evaporate from the skin’s surface as well.
Dr Jay added: “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.”
So based on the findings of this study, in some circumstances drinking a hot drink, such as tea, could help someone to cool down during a spell of hot weather.
But depending on the weather and circumstances, it may be better to drink a cold beverage instead.
What other drinks keep you cool in hot weather?
During a heatwave, it’s important people drink enough to prevent dehydration and heatstroke.
The NHS website explains someone should drink plenty of water and avoid excess alcohol during periods of hot weather.
Water, lower-fat milks, tea and coffee are all good options to keep hydrated.
It is also a good idea to keep water to hand when travelling.
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