What’s best for you? – Cleveland Clinic
Some like it with ice cream. Others like it hot with a slice of lemon. And some of us are very accepting of anything that comes out of the tap. But does the temperature of the water we drink have a positive or negative effect on our health? Fill your glass and take a minute to read what gastroenterologist Brian Weiner, MD has to say.
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What qualifies as cold water?
It may seem silly to define this, but think about it. You can be in a room that is comfortable for you and one person will freeze while another burns. That’s why we’re here – giving you a range of cold water temperatures.
Dr. Weiner says a pitcher of ice cold water from the refrigerator would be around 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius). Cold tap water would be around 60 F (15.55 C). Water at room temperature comes in at around 78 F (25.55 C).
Is cold water good for you?
You would think there would be a lot of research behind it. But Dr. Weiner says there isn’t much scientific data to back up the claim that cold water is or is not good for you.
“We all need to hydrate. It’s essential. In terms of studies or science about it, it’s relatively limited,” he says.
Benefits of cold water
He adds that in the best-studied cases involving athletes and hydration, athletes turn more to cold tap water. Cold tap water also seemed to cool them faster.
“It turns out that sweating stops before fluid can be fully incorporated into the body. There is a kind of reflex that recognizes fluid intake, and studies have shown that it becomes more activated in cold tap water,” says Dr. Weiner.
Ice Cream Can Help You Burn Calories
Dr. Weiner knows this one well. A few years ago, he decided to part ways with ice cream and started eating Italian gelato instead. Although he learned to like the exchange, something was still wrong. It was the calorie count on the cups. They didn’t take into account how much energy the body uses to melt the ice. So he decided to find out.
“I calculated it, and for every ounce of ice cream you eat, it takes five calories to melt it and bring it to body temperature,” says Dr. Weiner. He also wrote an article about it.
So, in a nutshell, if you want to stay hydrated, cold tap water is a good choice. If you want to burn extra calories, snack on ice cream – or Italian gelato.
Can hot or hot water help with achalasia?
Achalasia is a rare disease that affects approximately 1 in 100,000 people in the United States each year. With achalasia, your esophagus cannot move food and liquids to your stomach. Your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that connects your stomach to your esophagus, opens to allow food and liquids to enter your stomach and closes to keep things from coming back up your esophagus. With achalasia, the LES does not open.
A study suggests that drinking hot beverages or eating warm or hot foods may help LES relax and decrease resting pressure. Cold water can make symptoms of achalasia worse.
So what’s better for you?
It has been said that drinking warm or hot water can help you move around the bathroom more easily or feel better when your sinuses are congested. But Dr. Weiner says there aren’t many health benefits associated with drinking warm or hot water.
“There is something very comforting about hot drinks. People like hot drinks for their soul, for their psyche,” he notes. “If you have a cold and the hot steam enters your nasal passages, it may provide some relief, but it’s not a hydration issue. It’s like mom giving you a cup of chicken soup hot – the nourishing value of food itself, but medically there is very little or no value.
So ultimately it’s mostly a matter of personal preference.