Who doesn’t love the taste of a crisp, ice cold glass of water? On a hot summer’s day, fresh, cold water can be truly delicious - and it certainly tastes better than lukewarm tap water. Whether you like your water at room temperature, cool or ice cold, you may not realize that there is actually an ideal temperature for drinking water.
This article will answer all of your questions about the ideal temperature for drinking water, explain the science behind it and suggest ways to incorporate warm water into your routine for additional health benefits.
The Best Temperature for Drinking Water
The are claims that the temperature of your water does make a difference to the way your body absorbs and uses the water. Some research suggests that drinking cold water could make headaches worse, and can make mucous thicker (which is especially bad if you have a cold or upper respiratory infection).
Japanese water therapy is the art of drinking water at a certain temperature, and in Japanese culture they believe that drinking cold water can solidify the fats and oils that you eat, preventing correct metabolism of food.
In the Chinese culture it is also believed that drinking cold water along with eating hot food can create an imbalance in the body.
It's important to note that most of the claims regarding water temperature are not backed by science, nevertheless most professionals recommend drinking water at room temperature, especially when the body is already overheated.
The rationale behind this recommendation is as follows: Our bodies tend to rest at around 37 degrees C or 98.6 F. When we drink water that is colder than our body temperature, our bodies need to use energy to warm it up and normalize the water’s temperature. This energy expenditure can cause our body temperature to go up. This is ideal especially for an already overheated body.
The trouble with this is that Ironically, the hotter we become, the more we crave cold water to cool ourselves down. After all, who wouldn’t want an ice cold glass of water after a sweaty workout? However, cold water can actually be dangerous when your body is overheated and can even send your body into shock.
Yogic Culture’s Approach to Room Temperature Water
In India, you will be hard-pressed to find anyone drinking water that is a few degrees colder or hotter than room temperature. Yogic culture dictates that water temperature determines your ability to transform on a spiritual level.
According to the yogic custom, inner transformation requires water to be within four degrees C of your body’s normal temperature. Students hoping to absorb knowledge are permitted water that is within eight degrees C of their body temperature.
This culture is based upon principles of inner and outer balance. It is believed that by drinking or eating anything that is drastically colder or hotter than the body’s natural temperature, you will lose your inner balance.
This doesn’t mean that room temperature is always the best temperature in every scenario. Let’s take a look at the instances when drinking cold, warm, and hot water may be better options than water at room temperature.
Is cold water ever a good option?
Water that is colder than room temperature is great for a few things.
- Weight loss: Cold water forces our bodies to work extra hard to warm the water up inside of us. You may not realize it, but drinking a cold glass of water can burn up to 8 calories. For this reason, many people recommend cold water for people who are trying to lose weight. Any bit counts right?
- Taste: This is a big one as cold water also tends to taste better than room temp or even hot water. Because hydration is an important part of one’s overall health, drinking cold water is much better than drinking no water at all. If you struggle to get through the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, try drinking ice cold water rather than the less appealing lukewarm water.
Is warm water ever a good option?
Warm or hot water (anything from a little hotter than room temperature to just below boiling), also has its uses and health benefits.
- Digestion: Studies show that warm water can help those with digestion problems. Because of something called the vasodilator effect, warm water causes the blood vessels to widen which in turn stimulates your body’s blood flow towards the intestines. Warm water also helps your body break down fats in the stomach, so it’s a great beverage to drink during or after a meal.
- Pain relief: Hot water can help alleviate general aches and pains around the body, because it calms the nervous system and increases blood flow. It can also help relieve menstrual pains in women.
- Circulation: Because warm water helps with blood flow, it can be great for people with circulation problems. By regulating your body’s blood flow, you will decrease your risk of high or low blood pressure along with a range of cardiovascular diseases.
- Improved mood and stress levels: Warm water can have a calming effect on the body’s central nervous system. The nervous system is in charge of your body’s physical reactions. A calm nervous system means you will feel less jittery and jerky throughout the day, or, in other words, less stressed.
- Help with symptoms of common cold: Many people claim that warm water can help relieve symptoms of the common cold such as nasal congestion and sore throat. Vaporized steam from warm or hot water can help to unblock clogged sinuses, while warm water has soothing effects on sore throats. The neck and torso also have mucous membranes. If these membranes are clogged, warm water can help to get rid of mucus build-up.
Everyone knows that hydration is crucial to our health. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, beach aches, dry skin, and other complaints. What many people don’t realize is that the temperature of your water matters, and affects your body in different ways.
Most health professionals recommend drinking water at room temperature, as ice cold water, while tasty, is not ideal for digestion. Moreover, warm water comes with a host of additional health benefits such as the ability to improve your stress levels, your mood, and your circulation. So, give it a try, and start incorporating a few glasses of warm or hot water into your daily routine.