Myth Busted: Is Drinking Room Temperature Water Better for You?
Water is a necessity for life; without it, humans can only survive for two to three days at best. When it comes to survival we really can't be picky about water temperature. But if you have some time and access to a fridge, you might wonder if you should be drinking cold or room temperature water.
- Whether it's ice cold or lukewarm, drinking water is an essential part of staying healthy (and alive)
- In some cases, water temperature can change how your body is affected
Water makes roughly 60 percent of body mass on average, though it ranges between 45–75 percent depending on many factors such as heat exposure, exercise level, metabolism, age, gender and more. You are probably familiar with the saying “you should drink 8 glasses of water everyday” but more than likely this is not the ideal amount of water for your unique body. While the ideal amount of water is variable, is there an ideal temperature for drinking water? Is room temperature water the ideal choice? Does the temperature of your drinking water even matter? The science says yeah, just a bit.
Benefits of drinking water
Before we look at the differences in the effects of varied temperatures of drinking water lets just appreciate all of the the functions that water (regardless of its temperature) has within our bodies:
- Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Protects body organs and tissues
- Acts as a lubricant for joints and eyes
- Lessens burden the on kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products
- Helps us swallow
- Provides the medium in which most reactions in the body occur
- Acts as a cushion for the nervous system
- Helps regulate body temperature.
- Helps dissolve minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to your body
Constipation, UTI’s, kidney stones and overall skin hydration are among the most common issues seen when one does not have enough water in their diet. Chronic dehydration is also associated with diabetes, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. When we get dehydrated, not only our bodies suffer but our minds do as well. A 1% loss in water has been shown to impair mood and increase the frequency of headaches. Mild dehydration also has noticeable effects on fatigue, attention and focus, reaction speed, and short-term memory.
Room temperature vs cold water
No matter what temperature your water is, getting it into your system is the most important. Though there have been multiple studies over the years to determine if hot, cold or room temperature water is the best option.
1. Room temperature water vs cold water for energy
In a study by the European Journal of Nutrition, it was found that cold water (2°C) reduces the amount of energy available compared to room temperature water (37°C) by 19%. This decrease in usable energy is thought to be due to the amount of energy that it takes the body to heat the water to body temperature.
Winner: Room temperature water
2. Room temperature water vs cold water for hunger
It has been shown that cold water compared to room temperature water suppresses feelings of hunger. Therefore if you are trying to eat less, try some cold water first and then see if you're still hungry.
Winner: Cold water
3. Room temperature water vs cold water for exercise
There are few things that sound better after a tough workout than a glass of ice cold water, but is that best for your body? The answer seems to be mixed depending on who you ask. It is known that cold water before, during and after exercise reduces the amount of sweat that your body produces significantly by mediating your body temperature, which could allow you to workout for longer. However, cold water can also cause cramping which could bring your workout to a halt. One study claims that the answer to this one falls somewhere in between, stating that cool water (16°C) is the most optimal temperature for hydration. This temperature water both increases water intake and reduces sweating.
Winner: Cool* water
4. Room temperature water vs cold water for digestion
If you’ve ever wondered why a warm coffee or tea after a meal sounds like a great idea it's probably because your body inherently knows something you might not, and that is cold water is not ideal for digestion. Cold water can shrink your blood vessels and reduce your efficiency in digestion. Room temperature or warm water helps your stomach to break down food faster and is recommended with meals as opposed to cold water especially if you have digestive issues like constipation or IBS.
Winner: Room temperature water
5. Room temperature water vs cold water for weight loss
Many people assume that drinking cold water will help them lose weight since their bodies require energy to get the temperature of cold water closer to their internal temperature. Technically, this is correct, but keep in mind you're only burning 8 calories per cup of water this way. That being said either option is good and way better than a juice or soda.
Winner: Cold water (barely)
Just like anything else in this world, there is such a thing as too much, even water. This condition is called hyponatremia. Though it doesn't happen often because our bodies have a natural “don’t drink anymore” signal, you can still OD on water. When you have too much water, your kidneys can't get rid of the excess and your blood's sodium content gets diluted. This can lead to cramps, nausea, low energy, headaches and in extreme cases death.
When it's time to get a glass of water, you have the option of pouring it straight from the fridge or opting for room temperature water. Both have advantages and disadvantages, so it really just comes down to personal preference.
Written by Kiana St.Onge
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