A cozy cup of tea is what we all crave when we feel sluggish and bloated. Hot beverages, especially tea, help to soothe the digestive system and stimulate metabolism. The temperature is as important as the tea itself. Hot liquids help to break down food and increase blood flow to the intestines. Boosting that water with tea leaves adds healthy micronutrients for optimal digestion. Black tea, green tea, herbal tea—any high quality tea helps heal your gut and keep you feeling healthy.

How Does Hot Tea Help with Digestion?

First of all, hot water alone has many beneficial effects. When you add tea to the mix you get a powerful combination to support full-body health. You can tailor your tea choices to your individual needs with these simple guidelines.

Health Benefits of Hot Tea:

Digestion

Hot liquids help to break down food and absorb nutrients. It also cleanses waste from the body and can prevent constipation. A cup of tea will enhance these effects, especially with herbal tea and pu-erh tea.

  • Herbal teas like ginger and peppermint stimulate digestion.
  • Chamomile and licorice are soothing to the stomach lining and intestines.
  • Pu-erh tea helps to digest heavy meals.

Weight Loss

Drinking hot water stimulates the metabolism, making it easier to burn fat. Research suggests that water warmed to 98.6 degrees F. can increase metabolism by up to 40%. Black tea, green tea, and pu-erh tea are the best teas to enhance this effect. Caffeine and polyphenols in the tea may help regulate fat cells and aid in improving physical fitness.

Circulation

Hot liquids expand blood vessel and allow for better circulation. This helps muscles in the body relax and repair. True teas from the Camellia sinensis plant, like black tea and green tea are believed to improve circulation and even protect against heart disease. If you tend to get sore or stiff, a hot cup of tea can provide some relief.

Nasal Congestion

Heat and steam from hot liquids softens mucous in the nose and throat. This is part of the reason hot tea is recommended for colds and flus. A hot cup of tea may make it easier to blow excess mucous from the nose. Aromatic herbal teas such as lavender and peppermint can be especially useful. Remember to take a long, deep breath of steam before sipping the tea.

Best Hot Teas for Digestion

Hot tea is a popular remedy for irritated stomachs in almost every culture. Some ancient traditions such as Ayurveda recommend drinking only warm liquids all day to heal the digestive system. Ayurvedic digestive teas are usually full of warming spices like ginger and cardamom.

It is especially important to drink warm liquids first thing in the morning, to cleanse the bowels and get your stomach ready for the day. You may also benefit from drinking hot tea 20-30 minutes before or after meals. Cold liquids can slow digestion, especially during mealtime.

Pu-Erh tea helps to digest oils in heavy meals and keep cholesterol levels regulated. It has been sipped in China for centuries to balance rich foods. Pu-erh tea is fermented which gives it a bold, earthy flavor. Fermented foods and drinks have the added benefit of supporting healthy gut bacteria.

Peppermint tea is both invigorating and relaxing. The bright flavor is refreshing and cooling to the body, even when drinking the tea hot. It simultaneously helps to lower inflammation and calm frazzled nerves. Peppermint supports your digestive tract break down foods and absorb nutrients.

Ginger tea is spicy and stimulating to the digestive system. Like peppermint, it helps with breaking down foods and absorbing nutrients. It may also speed up the digestive process to make sure waste is eliminated on a regular schedule. Ginger tea is warming and can be helpful for maintaining strong digestion during cold winter months.

Licorice tea is soothing to the stomach lining and intestines. If you often get bloated after meals, there may be too much inflammation in your digestive system. Licorice is calming and may reduce digestive discomfort. The best part is that licorice tea is naturally sweet, so it is a great tasting addition to your health regimen.

Chamomile tea is famous for being a relaxing bedtime tea. But it is also a powerful digestive aid. Sipping chamomile tea 30 minutes before or after meals helps to balance stomach acid, which may reduce symptoms of acid reflux. The bitter compounds in chamomile tea can help relieve bloating and gas, which may improve conditions like IBS and gastritis.

Lemon Balm tea is especially helpful for anxiety related digestive issues. It has a relaxing effect on both the nervous system and digestive system. If you often get an irritable stomach when you are stressed, a hot cup of lemon balm tea may help. It has a pleasant citrus flavor that pairs well with other digestive herbs like ginger and peppermint.

Dandelion tea helps to eliminate toxins from the digestive tract. It stimulates the liver to aid in the natural detoxification process. For those suffering from constipation, dandelion tea can help the colon get rid of waste. Dandelion on its own can be bitter, so it is best paired with sweet herbs like licorice. You can also find roasted dandelion root as a popular coffee substitute.

Warm Tea or Hot Tea for Digestion?

Like all things, moderation is key. Ice-cold liquids are one extreme that can slow digestion while extremely hot liquids can burn the mouth, throat and organs. As a safety precaution you should always let piping hot beverages cool down before drinking. Many teas need boiling water to brew properly, but should not be consumed until they have cooled to at least 135-140 degrees F. Ayurveda and other traditional advice recommends drinking liquids closer to 98.6 degrees F., the average internal temperature of the human body. So warm tea might be a better term to keep in mind. Hot tea is great for digestion, but only if it is within the safe temperature range. A happy medium will keep your digestive system happy.