March 16, 2022

Should You Drink Warm or Cold Water?

It all depends on your ideal temperature

An illustration of a person filling their mug at a water cooler

Some like it with ice. Others like it hot with a slice of lemon. And some of us are just fine with whatever comes out of the tap. But does the temperature of the water we drink have a positive or negative effect on our health? Fill up your glass and take a minute to read what gastroenterologist Brian Weiner, MD, has to say.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

What qualifies as cold water?

It might seem silly to define this, but think about it. You can be in a room that’s comfortable temperature-wise to you and one person will be freezing while another person will be burning up. So, that’s why we’re here — giving you a range of cold water temperatures.

Dr. Weiner says that a pitcher of ice water from the fridge would be around 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius). Cold tap water would be around 60 F (15.55 C). Room temperature water comes in at around 78 F (25.55 C).

Is cold water good for you?

You’d think there’d be a lot of research behind this. But Dr. Weiner says there isn’t a lot of science to back up the claim of whether or not cold water is good for you.

“We all need to hydrate ourselves. That’s critical. In terms of studies or science about this, it is relatively limited,” he says.

Cold water benefits

He adds that in the best-studied cases regarding athletes and hydration, though, athletes gravitated toward cold tap water more. Cold tap water also seemed to cool them down faster.


“It turns out that sweating stops before fluid can completely be incorporated into the body. There’s some kind of reflex that acknowledges liquid intake, and studies have shown that it kicks in more at the cold tap water level,” says Dr. Weiner.

Ice can help you burn calories

Dr. Weiner is quite familiar with this one. A few years ago, he decided to part ways with ice cream and started eating Italian ice instead. While he learned to love the swap, something still wasn’t quite right. It was the calorie count on the cups. They didn’t factor in the amount of energy that the body uses to melt the ice. So, he decided to look into it.

“I calculated it, and for every ounce of ice that you eat, it takes five calories to melt it and bring it up to body temperature,” Dr. Weiner says. He wrote a paper about it as well.

So, in a nutshell, if you want to hydrate, cold tap water is a good choice. If you want to burn some extra calories, munch on ice — or Italian ice.

Can warm or hot water help with achalasia?

Achalasia is a rare health condition that affects about 1 in 100,000 people in the U.S. every year. With achalasia, your esophagus can’t 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 prevent stuff from backing up into your esophagus. With achalasia, the LES doesn’t open.


One study suggests drinking hot beverages or eating warm or hot foods could help the LES to relax and decrease its resting pressure. Cold water can make the symptoms of achalasia worse.

So, what’s better for you?

It’s been said that drinking warm or hot water can help you have smoother bathroom moves or make you feel better when your sinuses are congested. But Dr. Weiner says there aren’t a lot of health benefits related to drinking warm or hot water.

“There’s something very comforting about hot beverages. People like hot beverages for their souls, for their psyches,” he notes. “If you have a cold and the hot steam gets into your nasal passages, that can offer some relief but that’s not a hydration issue. That’s similar to mom giving you a hot cup of chicken soup — the nurturing value of the food itself, but medically, there’s very little to no value.”

So, when it comes down to it, it’s mostly about personal preference.

Related Articles

tap water from the kitchen faucet
September 21, 2023
Is Tap Water Safe To Drink?

Your home’s tap water should be safe to drink, but you can install filters and run tests to be sure

water beverages with artificial syrups and sweeteners
July 10, 2023
Is ‘WaterTok’ Healthy for People Who Don’t Like the Taste of H20?

If you can’t bear the standard stuff, TikTok’s ‘water recipes’ may be appealing

older woman drinking a glass of water
May 29, 2023
Drink Up: The Connection Between Age and Dehydration

Body changes put older adults at increased risk of dehydration

Boiling water on stove top.
March 2, 2023
What Your Well Water Says About Your Health

Testing your well water system annually can help prevent contaminants and bacterial overgrowth

Toothbrush near bathroom sink faucet with water on.
February 15, 2023
The Hard Facts About Fluoride

Despite unfounded theories, fluoride has the power to make your teeth stronger

woman drinking water while exercising
February 2, 2023
Here’s Why Alkaline Water Doesn’t Live Up to the Hype

Whatever you think it’s doing, your body is already doing on its own

water with a strawberry in it
October 13, 2022
How Much Water You Should Drink Every Day

Factors like your diet and physical activity can affect how much you’ll need to consume

An instructor leads a water aerobics course as the students lift small dumbbells in a pool.
November 4, 2021
Types and Health Benefits of Hydrotherapy

Water therapy can provide relief from pain

Trending Topics

White bowls full of pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and various kinds of nuts
25 Magnesium-Rich Foods You Should Be Eating

A healthy diet can easily meet your body’s important demands for magnesium

Woman feeling for heart rate in neck on run outside, smartwatch and earbuds
Heart Rate Zones Explained

A super high heart rate means you’re burning more than fat

Spoonful of farro salad with tomato
What To Eat If You’ve Been Diagnosed With Prediabetes

Type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable with these dietary changes