The Checkup: Why Drinking Hot Coffee Helps You Cool Off

It sounds counterintuitive, but science says it works.

• Since early June, my mornings have started out the same way: I brew of a piping hot pot of coffee, fill a cup with six ice cubes, pour said coffee over the ice, and make myself a perfectly respectable cup of iced coffee. We don’t have air conditioning in the downstairs of our house (more an economic choice—read: we’re cheap-os—than anything else), so an iced coffee is my attempt to stem the sweat-fest that is the mornings around the Leaman household. But now I’m thinking I’m going about it all wrong: If NPR is to be believed, the best possible thing I could do for my overheated body would be to drink a hot cup of coffee—hold the ice. Why? As University of Cambridge neuroscientist Peter McNaughton explains, eating or drinking something hot triggers your tongue’s receptors to turn on the body’s cooling system, which is a nice way of saying it makes you sweat. “The hot drink somehow has an effect on your systemic cooling mechanisms, which exceeds its actual effect in terms of heating your body,” so you end up feeling cooler than hotter, says McNaughton. Neat, right? I’m totally trying it.

• In the category of Things That Are Handy (not for me, mind you, but I’m sure some of you might find it useful), the magazine Fit Pregnancy came out with a nifty little primer called, “The Working Woman’s Guide to Pregnancy,” complete with tips for coping with symptoms—nausea, fatigue—on the sly if you haven’t yet told your coworkers that you have a bun in the oven. Pro tip: If nausea’s a problem, “always have a change of clothing, paper towels and mouthwash with you.”

• NBC10 posted an Olympics by the Numbers story yesterday, detailing some interesting stats and data on Team U.S.A. For example, did you know that for the first time in history there are more female than male Olympians on the American squad? And that the average age of our competitors is 27? More factoids here.