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 temperature of your water does make a difference to the way your body absorbs and uses the water. Most professionals recommend drinking water at room temperature, especially when the body is already overheated.
What is the Science Behind the Room Temperature Recommendation?
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.
Ironically, the hotter we become, the more we crave cold water to cool ourselves down. 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. 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.
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.
Cold water also tends to taste better than lukewarm 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.
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.
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.
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.
Drinking hot water temporarily raises your body’s internal temperature. When you take a hot bath, you will notice your body begins to sweat. Drinking hot water has the same effect.
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.
Tips on Drinking Warm Water
If you want to try adding warm water into your daily routine, but are struggling to get used to the taste, here are a few ideas of ways to make the transition a little smoother.
Heat your water in the right way
Depending on how you heat your water, you may notice slightly different results. For instance, microwaving water can result in a slightly uneven temperature. Boiling the water on the stove is also not recommended, as it’s hard to tell when the water is overheated.
The best way to heat your water is to use a kettle. Kettles are designed to heat water for human consumption, which means it won’t get hotter than boiling temperature. After boiling your water, make sure to let it cool for a few minutes before drinking, or you will risk scalding your mouth.
How to make warm water taste better
If you drink water that is hotter than 160 degrees F, you are likely to burn your mouth and esophagus. Ideally, your hot drinking water should be between 120 degrees and 140 degrees.
- Add a slice of lemon. If warm water isn’t doing the trick, try adding a slice of lemon to improve the water’s flavor. Lemon has its own health benefits as it’s rich in vitamin C and known for its abilities to flush out toxins and aid with digestion.
- Add cucumber slivers and mint. Another way to improve the taste of warm water is to add a few slices of cucumber and a few mint leaves. This will transform your water into a refreshing, crisp beverage.
- Ease into the habit of drinking warm water with tea. If lemon and cucumber aren’t helping, try easing into the habit of drinking warm water by starting off with tea. Tea has the same hydrating benefits as warm water, while tasting much better. Try a chamomile tea for an extra calming bedtime brew.
- Replace coffee with warm water. Another way to get into the habit of drinking warm water is to fit it into your morning routine. Have a mug of warm lemon water in the morning before work instead of your morning coffee. Coffee can be dehydrating and caffeine is an addictive substance that leads to an imbalance of energy levels. Switch to warm water and you’ll notice your energy levels are steadier throughout the day.
When is it best to drink warm water?
While drinking water at room temperature is generally the best way to hydrate, there are certain times when drinking warm water is best. If you’re considering adding a few mugs of warm water to your daily routine, try these times for the maximum benefits.
- First thing in the morning. Starting off the day with a cup of warm water will set you up energetically and mentally. Get your digestive system working, your muscles activated and your nervous system lubricated from the moment you get out of bed.
- With your meals. Because warm water helps your stomach digest fats efficiently and effectively, try incorporating tea or warm water into your mealtime routine. If you experience stomach cramps or difficulty digesting your food, this routine should help.
- Right before bed. Finally, finish the day off with a cup of hot lemon water. This will help to calm your nerves and your muscles. If you suffer from insomnia or you feel notice muscular aches and pains in bed, warm water will help you drift off.
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.