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09 Dec 2018, Edition - 1244, Sunday

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Health Matters

Have a hot cup of tea to cool you down this summer

Indrani Thakurata

Hot drinks in summer can cool you down, yes, you heard it right. The piping hot tea and a hot cuppa coffee isn’t something that you should run away from in this heat. If you love your chai, you can continue to have it even in this weather because a research paper published by the University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics has actually validated–that hot drinks on hot dry day can cool you down. Nah, it isn’t magical but simple science. Hot drinks makes you sweat disproportionately, because of the rise in temperature.

The sweat, which is a response from the body evaporates off, making you cool. But not without the prerequisite conditions. “This is pure science. This happens only when it is dry heat and not humid. Also, you can’t be all covered. The clothes should be such that it allows the sweat to evaporate. Humidity is an important component to note. So while it will work very well in dry Delhi summer, it won’t do a thing in humid Kolkata,” says Scientist Sayoni Das.

The interesting thing that a neuroscientist from University of Cambridge, Peter McNaughton explains about the sweating that happens after the consumption of hot drink. He talks about the receptors on the tongue and in the throat, one such is called TRPV1, which senses heat and causes the body to respond with sweat. “If you can recall your encounter with spicy food, you will know that this is exactly how your senses react,” explains Sayoni.

Eventhough we may not get happy being sweaty, but to know that body perspires for a good reason–when the sweat evaporates from the skin, energy is absorbed into the the air as part of the reaction, cooling the body down. So, next time you head for a hot cup of tea in the summers, you should know that you will perspire more than the little heat that will heat you up.