While there's no question that we all ought to be drinking enough water if we want to stay at the top of our wellness game, a more complicated question lingers close behind: what temperature should that water be?

It seems as if there are pros and cons both to chilling out with a cold drink or warming up with a hot one. Thus, your answer may be informed by your health, your goals, and the particular environment in which you wish to imbibe.

First, if you have a cold (or any other condition associated with congestion), it may be best to stay away from the chilly H20; one study found that drinking cold water thickened nasal mucus and made it more difficult to break up, while hot water has been shown to have the opposite effect (though drinking chicken soup worked even better!)

Cold water may also worsen the symptoms of certain health conditions, including achalasia, a condition in which sufferers have difficulty passing food through their esophagus. This seems to be because cold water leads to more contraction of muscles and thus slower digestion, so anyone with digestive issues may want to take note as well.

Cold water has also been implicated in both migraine and non-migraine headaches. However, the beverage has plenty of perks as well, especially when it comes to weight loss! While drinking enough water of any temperature seems to boost your metabolism, cold water has been found to boost it a bit more!

However, the difference between hot and cold amounts to a mere 8 calories per glass, much smaller than you would need to create an effective caloric deficit without other substantial changes in your diet.

Then again, if you drink your recommended two liters of water a day, you'd find yourself burning 66 more calories daily; not enough to give you the body of your dreams, but enough to compensate for three Hershey's kisses or half a grapefruit.

However, this boost isn't worth it if you find yourself experiencing any negative health effects from your cold water, or if you simply don't like it. Plus, you could get the same calorie-burning benefits by spending more time in colder environments.

Another time cold water wins out is during intense exercise. Cool fluids are both easier for most people to drink and processed more quickly by the body, leading to quicker re-hydration.

Cold drinks can also help cool down your core temperature, and have been associated with reduced fatigue and improved athletic performance. (Interestingly, a cold beverage flavored with menthol led to the best performance of all!)

Cold water may also be the better choice in other situations where your temperature may be raised, such as excursions outdoors in particularly hot climates or times when you find yourself fighting a fever.

Also, unlike, warm or hot water, there is no point at which cold water becomes too cold. While you may certainly find drinking freezing water unpleasant, even ice can be safely eaten with no risk of burns or tissue damage.


So what's the warm water got going for it? Well, in contrast to cold water, drinking warm water may benefit your digestion, speeding food's movement through the stomach and increasing blood flow to the intestines. Additionally, a glass of warm water on an empty stomach is thought to be particularly beneficial in fighting constipation.

Warm water also helps remove toxins from your body by improving circulation and stimulating your endocrine system. This improved circulation may then translate to pain relief as more nutrient-rich blood makes it to the site of your injury or ailment.

Another problem that can arise with warm water is that plenty of people simply don't like the taste. If this is you, you can try making your hot water more appealing by adding lemon, certain herbs and spices, or a bag or two of non-caffeinated tea. The occasional cup of caffeinated tea or coffee can contribute to your water intake as well, but be aware that caffeine can also serve as a dehydrating diuretic.

There is, however, a point when warm is too warm. Unfortunately, commercial hot beverages are often served so hot that you may risk being burned. This can occur on your tongue in a too-eager sip, or it may end up affecting your skin if you, like me, are prone to spilling things all over yourself.

Apparently, the drink offering the least burn risks without sacrifcing that soothing warm beverage taste should be served at about 136 °F (57.8°C). If you go any higher than that, you may also increase your risk of esophageal cancer!


If you're going to switch off between the two temps, your warm water is probably best taken with meals to combat indigestion. You may also enjoy a cup of warm water or herbal tea when winding down near the end of your day, since many people also report that hot water helps ease their anxiety.

On the other hand, cold water might make the most sense as a between-meal refresher or a gym essential. Then, for your first glass of the day, you may want to go for a warm beverage if you've been dealing with tummy trouble, but feel free to choose its colder cousin if you'd rather get your metabolism right into gear or shake off your sleepiness off a little faster!

However, drinking any kind of water is much better than not drinking enough of it. Both varieties will make you feel fuller, help prevent joint pain and headaches, give you more energy, spare you from water retention, and so much more. There's no reason whatever water you choose shouldn't be a part of any healthy diet for good!

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