Summertime Tea: Why Drink It Hot?

In much of the the world, tea is the most popular beverage next to water… and you may be shocked to find that many cultures drink it hot even in the heat of summer. Say, what?! It’s true! And according to Eastern medicine, it makes sense. Chinese traditions hold that our stomach is a hot and active place that must be kept burning to maintain the energy needed to fuel the body, so the worst thing you can do to it at any time of year is douse it with cold, icy water.

Now I don’t imagine you’re ready to forego cool, refreshing beverages in the sizzling summer months, but here’s a few very good reasons to occasionally relax with a warm cup of tea:

It aids digestion.

In the summer months, our digestive system can be weakened by the heat and humidity, making us susceptible to illness. Cold foods and icy drinks can restrict blood flow to the system and make this worse, particularly after a meal. Warm tea during and after meals helps alleviate these issues and assist with healthy digestion. Also, warm beverages promote good circulation and help the body absorb nutrients. Cold drinks speed up digestion, which impairs nutrient absorption and makes organs more vulnerable to illness. So drinking warm tea can help your immune system.

It helps you breathe.

Over time, lower temperatures accumulating in the body can really weaken lung function and make it easier to become ill and susceptible to hay fever, allergies, sinus infections, and asthma. Excessive cold in the body also constricts blood vessels in the throat, creating an opening for pathogenic energies. Hence the chicken soup treatment when you’re sick!

It cools you down.

This may sound strange, but ice actually causes your body to produce heat. When we drink cold water in hot weather, our bodies compensate by heating up internally, which leads to greater risk of sunstroke and dizziness. Warm tea can help you relax, which helps the body cool itself down.

It helps with weight loss.

Contrary to some modern wisdom, ice water does nothing to speed up your metabolism. Quite the opposite, ice actually helps to solidify fats like when you refrigerate sautéed food. Warm liquids can help to ensure that fat stores are used for energy. Also, getting away from the ice water can help with portion control, as ice reduces sensation and swelling in the stomach that makes you feel full. Just like putting ice on a swollen ankle.

So supplement your daily summer diet with some warm tea. It’s worked for other cultures around the world, and there are reasons that traditions like this have persisted for centuries.

Let us know how you like your tea come summer time!

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