Which water temperature is best for drinking?

How to get the perfect sip for every occasion 

Everyone knows that hydration is important. Water is a key ingredient in countless systems in our bodies. We’ve discussed in a
previous blog post how to calculate how much water you should drink per day and what types of water are best for hydration in terms of mineralization and filtration. But what temperature is best for hydration? 

People have made a lot of claims about water temperature - that you should always drink room temperature water, that ice water helps you lose weight, and that hot water can help cure a cold. Which are fact and which are fiction? Read on to find out!

which water temperature is best for drinking

What temperature is water?

This may seem like an obvious question, but what is cold water? There’s a whole spectrum of what might be considered “cold” or “room temperature,” so it’s helpful to lay out some standard definitions. 

Gastroenterologist Brian Weiner, MD offers the following approximate temperatures for each term:

  • Ice water - 41 degrees Fahrenheit (~5 degrees Celsius)
  • Cold tap water - 60 degrees Fahrenheit (~16 degrees Celsius)
  • Room temperature water - 78 degrees Fahrenheit (~26 degrees Celsius)

Warm and hot water are a little harder to quantify, but we can suppose that hot water is significantly above body temperature. 

Room temperature water vs. cold water for hydration

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what temperature water you should drink, just as there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how much water you should drink in a day. It depends on a number of factors, including time of day, body temperature, health conditions, and how much you are sweating. Also, different schools of medicine say different things. For example, Chinese medicine makes some claims that Western medicine does not actively support. This is why it is important to absorb all the information available and make the choice that you think is best for your body.

Is it better to drink warm or cold water in the morning?

Many people crave warm drinks in the morning, and it could be your body’s way of telling you something - a warm drink in the morning could help you better digest lingering food from the night before. 

Ayurvedic medicine, a natural system of medicine that has been around for thousands of years, says that a warm glass of water at any time of day can help wake up the digestive system and jumpstart your metabolism. The reasoning behind this, says Ayurvedic expert Dr. Akhilesh Sharma, is that cold water constricts blood flow to the organs. Warm water helps with circulation and moves toxins more efficiently through the body’s natural filters, the kidneys and liver.

Does drinking cold water lower your body temperature?

Drinking any kind of water can help lower your body temperature if you’re dehydrated. This is because your body stops sweating when it doesn’t have enough water, and sweat is a natural way in which your body cools down your internal temperature. A study on post-rehydration states, “During heat stress and dehydration, thermoregulation is partly suppressed to save body fluid and circulation. Drinking induces the recovery of thermoregulatory responses including sweating.” 

While all water can help cool you down on a hot day, some temperatures do it better than others. The study referenced above asked a group of participants to become mildly dehydrated by exercising. They then gave subsets different temperatures of water. The group that was given water at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit (~16 degrees Celsius) experienced the best results, because the water was cool enough that they wanted to drink more of it, but they didn’t sweat it out too quickly. This was considered optimal hydration, since most of the water remained inside the body. 

Warm and room temperature water tend to make you feel less thirsty. This can be dangerous on a very hot day, where you might rely on your brain signaling thirst to drink an adequate amount of water. But this is easily combated by reminding yourself that you need to drink more water than you think.

In general, if you crave cold water while exercising, that’s probably your body sending signals to your brain that it’s overheating. Cold water will cool down your internal temperature more quickly, so it’s probably a good idea to reach for water that’s been chilled. Cold water can restore you to equilibrium after a workout more quickly than tepid water.

The opposite is true if your body is very cold. Drinking warm or hot water has been shown to prevent shivering and even hypothermia. A study found that drinking water at 126 degrees Fahrenheit (~52 degrees Celsius) helped participants stay functional and healthy in a cold environment.

Water temperature and weight loss

For a while, people were spreading the information that drinking ice cold water would help you lose weight, because your body has to work harder to warm up the water. This has been debunked, or at least shown to cause so little difference that it’s not a useful tip. Since room temperature water is thought to jumpstart your metabolism and digestion, those looking to lose weight might be better served by drinking warmer water.

Eating ice is a little more effective. Dr. Weiner says that when you eat ice, your body expends 5 calories to melt it. What makes for greater calorie expenditure, however, also makes for worse hydration. If your body has to work to process the moisture in ice, then it could become more dehydrated rather than less

Drinking water is one of the best ways to keep your metabolism working properly, so if someone’s goal is weight loss, they should focus on making hydration easier rather than harder.

Medical conditions affected by water temperature

In general, if you are sick, warm water is a better choice than cold water.

A 1978 study found that in a group of people with cold- or flu-like symptoms, those who were given hot water experienced “immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny rose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness, and tiredness, whereas the same drink at room temperature only provided relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, and sneezing.” Meanwhile, cold water made the drinkers’ nasal mucus thicker and harder to move through the respiratory tract. 

Warm water is also helpful for those who have had their gallbladder removed. Patients who have undergone laparoscopic surgery are encouraged to drink warm water in order to aid their digestive system. It’s also better for those who experience migraines - migraines can be triggered by very cold water.

Patients with achalasia, a condition in which the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not function correctly, can also be benefitted by drinking warm water. A study on water temperature’s effect on the LES found that drinking hot beverages helped the LES relax and release pressure, which let food and liquids pass into the stomach.

Warm water seems to be the best option in the most mundane medical situations and the most severe. For example, warm water can help relieve constipation, but it can also prevent death: There have been cases of people dying after drinking cold water. The cold temperatures caused cardiac arrhythmias because of underlying heart problems.

What kind of water should you drink with meals?

In traditional Chinese medicine, balance is very important. It is believed that eating hot food while drinking cold water creates conflict rather than balance, which is why you’ll usually find that Chinese meals are accompanied by tea or warm water. While this belief is not mirrored in Western society, it is held by many other cultures around the world. 

What about ice water?

Most of the examples that we’ve discussed so far have concerned warm water, room temperature water, and cold tap water. But what about ice water? The truth is that while there are no direct benefits to drinking ice water, there are also very few drawbacks.

A water sommelier might argue that ice water ruins the taste of water. The ice can numb your taste buds, and if you’re trying to identify the flavor palette of a specific type of water, it is impossible to do so if the ice cubes are not made from the same water.

But many people, especially in the United States, prefer drinking ice water. The refreshing, stimulating feeling of cold water is more important than the flavor for them. And that, ultimately, is what’s most important, because it’s really hard to adequately hydrate when you don’t like the water you are drinking.

Most desired temperature range for drinking water

The most desired temperature changes depending on where you live. We’ve already mentioned that at Chinese tables, warm water is served. Throughout Europe, room temperature water is the norm, while Americans choose ice water. In general, however, water that is between 50 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (10-22 degrees Celsius) is what is generally preferred and what is optimal for allowing the body to absorb the water and rehydrate.

What water is best?

is cold or room temperature water better

The best water is the water that you enjoy the most, because that is the water that will help you stay hydrated. While there are ideal temperatures for each situation, the differences between them are small. 

Wisewell caters to everyone’s water temperature preferences with our easy temperature selection. Use the arrow keys on the display to choose your ideal temperature: cold, room temperature, or hot. It’s easy to switch between the three options, so you can even sample the three throughout the day and discover which one makes you feel the most hydrated. No matter which temperature you choose, you can guarantee that the water will be pure, safe, and delicious. Take the plunge today: https://www.wisewell.com/products/wisewell-model-1

What Temperature Water is Best to Drink for Health Benefits and to Lose Weight?

Should You Drink Warm or Cold Water?

Water is best served room temperature, not ice cold. Do not @ me.

What Are the Risks and Benefits of Drinking Cold Water?

The effect of water temperature and voluntary drinking on the post rehydration sweating

Sudden death after a cold drink: case report

Outdoor Myths and Dehydration:

Response of Esophagus to High and Low Temperatures in Patients With Achalasia

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