There's Actually Some Truth To This Hot Drink Belief

What do you do when it's a particularly hot, sunny, and sticky summer month? Do you have a jug of iced tea in the refrigerator at all times? Find any excuse to have margarita Sundays? Buy bags of ice from Costco to add to any and every drink? It seems like the obvious solution is to go for a cold beverage to get some relief from the heat. Brewing a hot cuppa — or any hot drink for that matter — is unimaginable.

However, Mental Floss says that research conducted by the University of Ottawa suggests otherwise. Contrary to what you may think, research suggests drinking hot drinks on a hot day may actually be better than reaching for an icy cold glass. According to pharmacology professor Peter McNaughton, sipping on a hot beverage (including spicy foods) triggers the heat receptors present on your tongue. The receptors in turn cause your body to start sweating profusely which, instead of making your body feel hotter, cools you by bringing your core body temperature down.

There are certain conditions to this logic

According to Ollie Jay, the University of Ottawa researcher who published this study, there are specific conditions under which hot drinks can cool you down on a hot day (via Smithsonian Magazine). According to the study, when you're drinking something hotter than your body's core temperature, you're adding additional heat to your body. This triggers your body to sweat. Sweat, Jay says, is your body's natural way of cooling itself down, so the more you sweat, the cooler your body will get. So a hot drink intentionally makes your body feel hotter, only so you can sweat profusely and cool down.

The key here, however, is that the sweat on your skin must evaporate. It's only when the sweat evaporates that the body cools down. If you're wearing thick clothes that traps sweat between the cloth and your skin, you shouldn't drink hot drinks as you'll only end up feeling hotter and stickier. It's also important that the scorching heat is dry and not humid, as humidity won't help the sweat to evaporate from your skin (The Spruce Eats). If you live in a region that gets dry summer heat, hot drinks on hot days will do you more good. For the rest of the world, it's back to iced teas, ice bags, and margarita Sundays.