It’s an age old question. You might be one of those people who want their water refrigerated and ice cold all the time. Or perhaps you’re the kind who likes to calmly sip on some warm water in a mug. But which is better for your health? The truth is, they each have their place so the answer depends on what each of them is better for. Here are some situations where they each have their benefits.
Cold Or Hot Water: What’s The Best Choice
1. Weight Loss
Some believe that cold water requires the body to expend energy to heat it up and therefore helps you lose weight. In reality, only about 8 calories are burnt to heat up a glass of cold water.1 Instead, warm water helps kick start your overall metabolism. A higher metabolism means that you burn more calories.2 A squeeze of lemon adds pectin which is fiber. This fiber can help you feel fuller for longer. The water itself will also fill you up and reduce your cravings.
What You Can Do: Drink a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon in it, first thing in the morning when you get up.
Warm water can help digestion by breaking down oily food much more effectively than cold water. Drinking cold water right after a meal often clogs the system as it solidifies the fat, oil, or grease in our food. It may also require energy for the body to heat up which means that more energy is required to digest our food.
What You Can Do: Always drink warm water with your meals. And when you’re facing indigestion, try boiling some pieces of ginger with a cup of water. Ginger is great for indigestion. Let this cool down until it’s just cool enough to drink and sip it slowly.
Post exercise, you need to replenish the water in your body. Surprisingly, cold water does a better job at rehydrating your body. Our bodies absorb cold or cool water easier when we are low on water.3 Plus we do need to cool down after an intense workout.
What You Can Do: Keep bottles of water refrigerated so you can grab it on the go when you leave for the gym. Empty the water into a good quality flask and add a couple of ice cubes so you have cold water ready to go.
4. During Exercise
People think that cold water may lower your core temperature in the middle of your workout but it truth it does not have a significant effect. What it can do is encourage you to drink more water during your workout and therefore keep you properly hydrated.
What You Can Do: During your water breaks, gulp down water instead of sipping to make sure you’re hydrating enough.
5. Warm Weather
Warm weather makes us sweat and lose water content in our bodies. The hotter it is, the more water we lose. The warmer weather can make us dehydrated and cold water is absorbed better in this case. Not to mention it will cool down our body temperature and prevent further water loss.
What You Can Do: Make sure you have bottles of cold water in the fridge for the entire family. Another thing to do is fill up a water bottle halfway and place it horizontally in the freezer. When you’re heading outside, grab it from the freezer and top it up with water. You have ice cold water that will last you the day as it slowly melts down.
6. First Thing In The Morning
A glass of water helps kick start your metabolism. Both Chinese traditional medicine and Ayurveda recommend drinking warm water first thing in the morning. This helps start your bowel movements and gets your digestive system working.
What You Can Do: Boil some water and immediately put it in a flask, closing it tightly. In the morning you can mix it with some room temperature water to cool it down enough to drink. Drink this on an empty stomach as soon as you get up
Warm water is seen to help relieve congestion. Studies show that warm water helps loosen mucus and getting rid of mucus takes bacteria with it.4 Warm water can help you get better quicker.
What You Can Do: If you are suffering from a cold or a cough, drink lots of warm water to stay hydrated. You may add some ginger pieces to boiling water and add some honey in as well. These two ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties that will help reduce swelling and fight the infection.
Warm water helps prevent aging by getting rid of harmful toxins. Warm water cleanses the body and helps repair skin cells, which can increase the elasticity of your skin. Cold water may be more suitable for external uses like closing pores after a treatment or reducing puffiness and swelling.
What You Can Do: If you’re struggling to reach your target water intake, add the habit of drinking a glass of warm water to your skin care routine in the morning and night.
9. Muscle Cramps
Just as warm compresses help loosen and relax tight knots and muscles. Warm water can do the same thing internally especially in case of stomach cramps and menstrual cramps. This is because warm water helps increase blood flow to the tissues which reduces cramping and pain.
What You Can Do: If you suffer from menstrual cramps, add about 5-6 teaspoons of fennel seeds into half a liter of boiling water. Cool this mixture until it’s comfortable to drink and sip this slowly throughout the day. Fennel has been proven to be an effective remedy for dealing with period cramps.5
Caution: If you take any sort of medication, especially in the form the capsules, check with your doctor if it’s okay to consume hot or warm water regularly, as some medications may lose their effectiveness.
At the end of the day, warm water does seem to trump cold water. It definitely has more benefits. That being said, when it’s a sweltering hot day and you need something to quench your thirst, no need to put the kettle on. Enjoy your ice-cold water guilt-free.
|↑1||Mythbusters: Will Drinking Water Help With…? Washington University|
|↑2||Boschmann, Michael, Jochen Steiniger, Uta Hille, Jens Tank, Frauke Adams, Arya M. Sharma, Susanne Klaus, Friedrich C. Luft, and Jens Jordan. “Water-induced thermogenesis.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 88, no. 12 (2003): 6015-6019.|
|↑3||Is drinking cold water harmful? Columbia University.|
|↑4||Saketkhoo, Kiumars, Adolph Januszkiewicz, and Marvin A. Sackner. “Effects of drinking hot water, cold water, and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance.” Chest 74, no. 4 (1978): 408-410.|
|↑5||Ghodsi, Zahra, and Maryam Asltoghiri. “The effect of fennel on pain quality, symptoms, and menstrual duration in primary dysmenorrhea.” Journal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology 27, no. 5 (2014): 283-286.|