One image of summer that has always perplexed me is the people who sit around sipping boiling cups of tea on an equally sweltering summer day. From Nana, or mint tea, in Israel, , to spicy Chai in India, the locals always seem to pair their humid climates with hot drinks. Is it because these tea drinkers are engaging in an extreme sports game of tea or is their a deeper, more scientific reason for this oddity? After doing some digging, I discovered that one reason is because the heat from a hot drink promotes your body’s metabolism, which means that it allows you to oxidize fat at a higher rate. It also will decrease your chances of becoming dehydrated because a hot liquid replenishes the body even more than cold water. This is because the body does not have to work as hard to digest it. Think of it this way- if you eat a popsicle, your body is not used to that type of coldness. The popsicle actually shock your system, making your body exert more energy, therefore creating more heat, in order to metabolize it. In Ayurvedic medicine, warm liquids are prescribed in order to balance the kapha and vata doshas. Western medicine backs this up, with the US recently recommending that people avoid very cold drinks as it can provoke stomach cramps. Make sure to pay attention to how your body reacts to cold.
After asking some native Middle-Easterners, some told me that they always believed that hot tea increases your body’s temperature internally, therefore tricking your mind to believe it’s cooler than it actually is outside. Others claimed it’s because the heat makes you drink the tea slower, allowing for more time to sit around and wile away the day with friends. Whatever it is, hot tea is a comforting accessory to have on a summer afternoon.