Why you should ditch that ice cream for a cup of tea: Hot drinks really DO cool us down in summer, experts reveal

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Hot drinks lower body heat storage more than cool drinks, studies show

This is because after a hot drink the body compensates by sweating more

As sweat evaporates it cools the skin, increasing the loss of heat

Ice causes the body temperature to rise which could make exercise harder

Drinking tea in warm weather can actually cool the body down, Loughborough University experts claim

I remember as a child, on the rare warm days we used to get in Britain, my grandmother telling me to ‘have a cup of black tea … it will help cool you down’.

As a seven-year-old, this seemed like a crazy idea, especially when all I wanted was a cold lemonade and another ice cream.

But it appears this old wives’ tale may actually be more Stephen Hawking than Stephen King.

The idea of drinking hot drinks in warm weather goes back hundreds of years.

Tea, or ‘chai’ is one of the most popular drinks in India, and many of the leading consumers of tea per capita are in tropical or desert regions.

Recently, evidence has begun to emerge that drinking hot drinks may really help to cool you down, too.

In 2012, Ollie Jay published the first of a series of papers to see if drinking a warm drink can actually lower the amount of heat stored by the body compared to a cold drink.

In this first study, volunteers were asked to cycle at a relatively low intensity for 75 minutes in around 24°C heat, 23 per cent relative humidity, while consuming water at either 1.5˚C, 10˚C, 37˚C or 50˚C.

The change in core temperature was slightly greater when 50˚C water was ingested compared to 1.5˚C and 10˚C water.

However, when the authors considered the effect of drink temperature on body heat storage, which is a better indicator of total body temperature, the results were very different.

Following the ingestion of the warm drink, overall body heat storage was actually lower following exercise than with cooler drinks.


An explanation for these findings appears to be related to how sweating may be influenced by drink temperature.

Sweating, and more importantly the evaporation of this sweat, is one of the key avenues for modulating body temperature and maintaining heat balance.

Due to the increased heat load from drinking a warm drink, there is a compensatory increase in overall sweat output, which outweighs the internal heat gain from the warm drink.

Consistently, a 50˚C drink results in a higher whole body sweat loss (around 570ml vs about 465ml for 1.5˚C).

Drinking hot drinks lowers the body’s overall heat storage. This is because it causes us to sweat more, and we cool down as the sweat evaporates off our skin (file photo)

In practical terms, this means more sweat is produced which is evaporated from the skin surface, increasing heat loss from evaporation and reducing body heat storage.

Importantly, however, this study was conducted under conditions allowed complete evaporation of sweat – in other words dripping sweat was limited by maintaining a good airflow and keeping humidity low.

The results would likely be different in conditions where sweat evaporation is limited, such as in hot and humid conditions.

In fact, drinking cold drinks may be more favourable in these circumstances, minimising inefficient sweat losses – dripping sweat – and consequently aiding an individual’s hydration status.


In a second study, Mr Jay aimed to establish the effect of drink temperature on sweat rate, and to determine the location of thermoreceptors that may influence sweating.

He demonstrated that with differing drink temperatures, colder drinks (1.5˚C) resulted in reductions in sweat rate compared to when warm drinks were ingested (50˚C), despite identical changes in core and skin temperature.

Interestingly, however, differences in the sweat response were found when fluid was either swilled around the mouth or delivered directly to the stomach via a nasogastric tube.

Tea, or ‘chai’ is one of the most popular drinks in India, and many of the leading consumers of tea are in tropical or desert regions (file image)

After ingesting ice, people’s body temperature rises. This has important implications for exercise as it could affect a person’s endurance

The data showed that only when cold drinks were delivered directly to the stomach did they result in reduced local sweat rate.

This data indicates that the sensors responsible for influencing the sweat response, and therefore regulation of body temperature, reside somewhere in the abdominal cavity.

In a third study conducted in their lab, the team asked people to consume either 37˚C fluid or ice during exercise.

In agreement with their previous work, they showed there was a reduction in heat loss following ice ingestion compared to fluid at 37˚C, as a result of reduced sweat evaporation from the skin surface.

This has implications for endurance performance in the heat.

In essence, where changes in body temperature are known to influence performance, ice ingestion could result in an increase in body heat, making exercising harder.

The ingestion of an iced drink prior to exercise and in hot and humid environments, however, should be beneficial.

So, depending on your environmental conditions, maybe reaching for that cup of tea isn’t such a crazy idea after all.

Plus the moral of the story: listen to your grandmother’s advice – it’s based on years of experience.

Source: Daily Mail

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Land used for palm oil could double without damaging forests: researchers

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RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The area covered by palm oil plantations worldwide could double without damaging protected areas or sensitive forests, Austrian researchers said on Tuesday.

Researchers from the Austria-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) studied satellite maps from Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America to determine where the crop used to make vegetable oils and other consumer products could be expanded sustainably.

The findings follow criticism from campaign groups who say the expansion of palm oil plantations has destroyed rainforests and displaced local people from their ancestral lands.

An area larger than Uruguay, more than 18 million hectares (44.5 million acres) of land, is covered by palm oil plantations, up from six million hectares in 1990, IIASA said.

Expansion of the crop, which accounts for about 30 percent of all vegetable oil used worldwide, has been concentrated in biodiversity-rich tropical forests in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The industry could grow sustainably if the right policies are put in place, the researchers said.

“Currently, ‘no-deforestation’ pledges are being formulated and eventually implemented on different scales – from palm oil traders to provincial governments,” IIASA researcher Johannes Pirker told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“As a co-benefit of these initiatives improved land use planning and tenure clarification, smallholder inclusion and improved production practices might come about, which will ultimately also benefit the land rights of traditional communities,” Pirker said.

Satellite data shows an area of up about 19 million hectares onto which the industry could grow without damaging forests that are particularly valuable for biodiversity or storing carbon as means of combating climate change, IIASA said.

Globally, an estimated three million small farmers work in the palm oil business and this could rise above seven million if the industry is expanded sustainably, IIASA said.

(Reporting By Chris Arsenault. Editing by Astrid Zweynert. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

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Raw eggs ‘safe for pregnant women’

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Pregnant women should no longer be told not to eat raw or lightly cooked eggs, a safety committee has recommended.

The risk of salmonella from UK eggs produced to Lion code or equivalent standards should be considered “very low”, the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food said.

It said this meant eggs could be served raw or lightly cooked to “vulnerable” groups like the elderly and the young.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has begun a consultation on the issue.

The committee’s report said there had been a “major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella in UK hen shell eggs” since a report it produced in 2001,

Its recommendation to classify certain eggs as “very low” risk only applies to UK hens’ eggs produced under Lion code or equivalent standards.

It also warns that safety guidelines including proper storage and eating eggs within best before dates must be followed.

The FSA said it had launched an eight-week consultation in response to the report.

“The consultation is inviting views on the recommended changes to the FSA’s advice from a range of stakeholders, including food and hospitality industries, consumer and enforcement bodies, and health care practitioners,” it said.

It currently advises members of vulnerable groups against eating “raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks or any food that is uncooked or only lightly cooked and contains raw eggs” due to the risk of food poisoning.

Source: BBC

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Herbal Compound May Fight Colon Cancer

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A combination of two plant compounds with medicinal properties – curcumin and silymarin – holds promise in treating colon cancer, a new preliminary study finds.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, which is present in spicy curry dishes, and silymarin is a component of milk thistle, which has been used to treat liver disease.

Researchers at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo., studied a line of colon cancer cells in a laboratory model. They found treating the cells initially with curcumin, then with silymarin was more effective in fighting cancer than treating the cells with either phytochemical alone, they said.

“The combination of phytochemicals inhibited colon cancer cells from multiplying and spreading. In addition, when the colon cancer cells were pre-exposed to curcumin and then treated with silymarin, the cells underwent a high amount of cell death,” says Dr. Uthayashanker Ezekiel, a study author.

Phytochemicals, which are bioactive chemicals found in plants, offer an alternative route to fighting cancer without the toxicity and side effects that chemotherapy can cause, he notes.

This study is the first step in learning if the herbal combination is safe and effective. Scientists next would need to study how these herbs cause the cells to change. They then would need to be studied in animals and finally in humans, he notes of the research, which appears in Journal of Cancer.

Source: NewsMax

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