Think Differently

Part 3

Here in the Office Needs marketing department, we’re big fans of tea and coffee alike! However, in this hot weather, it’s not always tempting to sip on a piping hot beverage – but are we missing out on some cooling benefits?

For some time now, the debate has raged as to whether drinking a hot beverage on a hot day cools you down. We round up the evidence and present our argument…

Tea and coffee should cool you down…

When you drink a hot drink, this briefly raises your internal temperature. This might seem counterproductive if you’re trying to cool down, but in fact, this can actually help!

As your internal temperature rises, your body will respond by starting to sweat – and crucially, the output of sweat is greater than the internal heat gain, meaning that you end up cooler overall than when you started. This phenomenon was recorded by Ollie Jay, a researcher from the University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics – and it sounds like an excuse for a cup of coffee if we ever heard one!

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…but only in the right environment!

When our bodies sweat, the cooling effect is caused by the moisture evaporating. In order to evaporate, sweat is essentially using some of our body’s heat in order to turn into vapour, and therefore leaves us slightly cooler overall.

This means there is one crucial factor in whether more sweating will cool you down – can that sweat evaporate?

If you’re not wearing breathable clothing, or you’re in a very humid environment, then your body isn’t going to get much cooling benefit from sweating.

So before you reach for your cuppa to cool down, make sure you would actually be able to feel the positive effect!

BONUS TIP: is your cuppa the best hydration on a hot day?

Debates have raged for some time about whether the diuretic effects of coffee and tea are enough to outweigh their hydrating benefits (i.e. as you’ll need to urinate more often, will you become more dehydrated as a result). However, currently most thinking seems to point towards coffee and tea being fine as part of your daily hydration.

Having said this – do you really want to be consuming all of your daily hydration in the form of tea and coffee? While tempting, you’re not really advised to drink more than 5 cups of tea or 4 cups of coffee a day, and that’s not enough to keep you properly hydrated.

So while you might want to see whether your daily brew really can make you feel cooler, don’t forget to include plenty of water in your hydration routine too. See our previous blog post for tips to motivate yourself into drinking more!

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We hope this post might have inspired you to try using a hot beverage to cool down – we certainly still enjoy a cup of coffee in the heat! Why not tell us your favourite tips for staying cool in a warm workplace?

Have a great week!

Join us next week for Part 4 of ‘Think Differently’!

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