Water is essential for all life on Earth, and a critical component in healthy living. Still, many people are not getting enough water, which according to studies can lead to a host of problems including poor concentration, muscle aches and bad breath.

The recommended amount can seem staggering for most. WebMD recommends between half an ounce and 1 ounce for every pound you weigh. For a 150-pound person, that would be about a gallon of water per day. Those who are more physically active, drink dehydrating drinks (like coffee) or eat lots of salty foods should drink more to compensate. In fact, Sheila Tucker, dietician for Boston College, recommends not waiting until you feel thirsty before reaching for a glass.

While any water is better than no water, warm water, particularly on an empty stomach, will do more than just quench your thirst. Here are five benefits to drinking a warm cup of water instead of a glass of ice water.

1. Nasal congestion relief

Because warm water releases steam, the vapors from the heat can help provide relief for clogged or irritated sinuses.

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2. Increased metabolism

Warm water first thing in the morning will “kick start your metabolism” and help burn away fatty tissue says Lifehack. If a plain glass of hot water seems unappealing to you, you can also add lemon for an extra boost.

3. Ease menstrual cramps

The heat of the water will increase blood flow and help to relax the muscles for an overall soothing effect. Medical Daily also recommends drinking warm water to help with muscle spasms.

4. Wellness

Not only will boiled water have fewer opportunistic bacterial organisms than cold water, drinking hot water can help your natural defenses fight against infection. Warm water increases circulation and decreases mucus in the sinuses and throat making it harder for opportunistic infections to grow, Dr. Michael Wald, the director of Nutritional Services at Integrated Medicine and Nutrition, told Live Strong.

5. Digestive aid

Warm water helps to break down and flush out oils from foods, according to Medical Daily. Having warm water in the morning on an empty stomach also helps to stay regular, the site adds. Try also adding lemon as the acidity of the lemon further helps with digestion.

6. Natural detox

Warm water is a great natural detoxifier. It raises the body temperature and boosts circulation, thereby helping your body to naturally rid itself of impurities and wastes through sweat and excretion.

7. Soothe throat

Warm water is especially good if you have a cough or a sore throat. The increased temperature helps warm up those vocal chords.

8. Constipation relief

Drinking warm water also helps with relieving constipation. The warm water helps intestines to contract, making it easier for your body to get rid of old waste.

Source: RemedyDaily