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Is it healthier to drink hot water instead of cold water?

We've grown up in a world where we've been taught that it's important to drink plenty of water throughout the day as it helps keep us hydrated, which is essential for organ function and cell metabolism. Water also supports the digestive system and can reduce the risk of constipation, regulate appetite, keep skin hydrated and healthy, transport nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, and maintain a normal body temperature. In short, water plays a huge role in our overall health and wellbeing, but should it be cold or hot for the most benefits?

In this blog, we will question whether it is healthier for the body to drink hot or temperate water instead of cold water.

Danish and Chinese preferences for drinking hot or cold water

In Denmark, most people prefer to drink cold water over hot water as they find it more refreshing and comfortable on hot days. However, there are some Danes who also like to drink lukewarm water, but in general, Danes prefer the refreshing sensation of cold water, especially when they are active or in social situations. So for Danes, cold water is the most common drink, but the question is whether it's the healthiest choice. If we ask the Chinese population, there is a clear consensus that they would rather have lukewarm or hot water to drink.

In China, drinking hot water or tea is considered to promote human health and wellbeing and this thinking can be traced back 2,000 years. In a work on traditional chinese medicine by Huangdi Neijing, hot water is described as an effective health regulator. This description stems from one of the pillars of traditional Chinese medicine, which is the balance between Yin (cold) and Yang (hot) energy, and that an imbalance between them can cause health problems.The body's internal temperature is warm and therefore it's not too difficult for the body to process warm water, whereas cold water requires more time and energy for the body to process.

Chinese people have always recommended drinking boiled water or hot water, because in addition to hygiene, disinfection and sterilization factors, drinking hot water can facilitate digestion, absorption and promote fluid generation. Drinking water doesn't quench thirst directly, it's the production of liquid that is needed to quench thirst.

In fact, Chinese people who go to Western countries to study or work will usually suffer from hay fever within less than two years, which is directly related to the change in their dietary habits. In Western countries, people are exposed to ice water on a daily basis and some students are not allowed to bring thermoses to school to drink hot water because the school is concerned that hot water can cause burns. Along with the consumption of cold drinks, especially carbonated cold drinks and cold milk, Chinese people's hot intestines and stomachs gradually cool down, the secretion function of the gastrointestinal glands decreases, and all kinds of digestive enzymes in the intestinal tract lose their activity when they encounter cold. As a result, a lot of nutrients are absorbed without being broken down and digested sufficiently, and then they become allergens, which induce perversion in the human body and give rise to a wide range of allergic symptoms.

Testimonials from Akupeng Acupuncture clients

Yuan herself has asked questions about her clients' eating and drinking habits and, based on their answers, advised them to try drinking more hot or lukewarm water instead of just cold. This suggestion was met with mixed reactions, but despite their skepticism, they gave it a try. Sure enough, the clients actually noticed a marked improvement in the issues they brought up. One client had been suffering from very bad eczema all over her body and face, and after trying to incorporate more hot drinks and meals into her daily routine, the eczema stopped flaring up again:

"I've tried all sorts of treatments for my eczema, which I have all over my body, but to no avail. Yuan's acupuncture treatment helped with the eczema, but it always came back. It was only after Yuan's advice that I changed my diet. I avoided cold water as much as possible and drank hot chicken soup every morning. Miraculously, almost all the eczema on my body and face disappeared after a week, and it didn't come back after that."

Another client had frequent abdominal pain after meals, very severe daily bloating and irregular bowel movements, sometimes diarrhea and sometimes constipation. These symptoms were accompanied by restless leg syndrome, which the client had been suffering from for two and half years, and doctors were unable to do anything about it. Unfortunately, after having acupuncture with Yuan twice, the effect was not very satisfactory. Yuan again advised her to change her diet and to start eating hot meals and drinking hot drinks. The third time this client came back for acupuncture, she said her stomach felt much more comfortable.


In short, water needs to be heated, digested, filtered and absorbed before it can be converted into body fluids. People have different body types and experience the sensation of cold and heat differently. As a result, different people have different opinions on whether it's healthier to drink hot water or cold water. Instead of arguing about this question, it's better to ask yourself whether your body is better suited to drinking hot or cold water?

If you would like more advice on diet based on your personal constitution, feel free to contact Yuan.

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