How to Cool Down on a Hot Day: Drink Tea

Learn why drinking hot drinks can help you cool down in a summer heat wave.

Over the last couple of weeks, almost all of the United States has been struck with a massive heat wave, bringing temperatures up to the triple-digits. If you want to cool down, your first inclination might be to grab a cold glass of water, lemonade, or maybe a beer. But, counterintuitively, the best way to cool down is to have a hot drink. Here’s why.

According to University of Cambridge neuroscientist Peter McNaughton, our tongues have special “receptor” cells that respond to heat, and a message to the brain. Our brains respond by activating our sweat glands, which cool us down.

“The hot drink somehow has an effect on your systemic cooling mechanisms, which exceeds its actual effect in terms of heating your body,” McNaughton told NPR.

McNaughton adds that chili peppers tend to be popular in hot countries like Thailand because they can help people lower their body temperature through sweating.

So, if you can’t stand the heat, it might be time to get into the kitchen—and boil up a hot cup of tea. (And maybe a spicy pad thai to go along with it.)