Appropriate hydration is key to avoiding heat-related ailments and illnesses, but before you reach for something cold to cool you down, a warm cup of rooibos tea might be a better option, say some experts.
It sounds illogical that a hot drink could cool you down on a hot day, but appropriately enough on National Rooibos Day, there is now hard science behind this old wives’ tale that dates back hundreds of years.
Studies by the University of Ottawa found that having a hot drink on a summer day lowers the amount of heat stored by the body, provided that the sweat produced by the hot beverage can evaporate.
Research director for the SA Rooibos Council, Joe Swart, said: “Sweating is the body’s way of cooling us down. As sweat evaporates from the surface of the skin, it cools and removes excess heat to keep our body temperature in check. It’s interesting to note that during one of the studies, researchers also tested the effect of a warm drink on those participating in exercise for 75 minutes at a relatively low intensity, in 24ºC at 23% relative humidity, while consuming water at different temperatures. It was only after participants had consumed the warm drink that their overall body temperature dropped.”