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Is Drinking Cold Water Bad For You?

Medically reviewed by Lucas Aoun, Naturopathic doctor
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Is Drinking Cold Water Bad For You? Hyderabd040-395603080 June 12, 2019

Do you reach out for a bottle of icy cold water to quench your thirst after a tired day in the sun? Well, hold it right there. Before you go ahead and gulp it down, find out whether drinking cold water is actually good for you or not.

You must have had people recommending you to drink warm water instead of cold water. Some restaurants even serve their customers with a glass of warm water unless asked otherwise. But is warm water really better than that tempting glass of cold water? Read on to find out.

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Why Is Cold Water Bad For You?

Many health-conscious people advocate drinking enough water daily and staying hydrated to stay healthy. But, this may not be the case with cold water.

Many are of the opinion that drinking cold water can do you more harm than good. This belief comes from the idea that cold water may cause your stomach to contract, thereby making it harder for the food to digest after a meal. Some individuals also believe that your body will have to work harder to maintain the optimal inner temperature (37°C) if the water you are drinking is at a temperature of 4°C or less.

Are these beliefs true? Well, maybe partly.

According to a small study carried out in 1978 and published in Chest, drinking cold water was found to make nasal mucus thicker and consequently more difficult to pass through the respiratory tract. Comparatively, drinking hot water or beverages like chicken soup was observed to make breathing easier. Cold water was also found to aggravate congestion in those who had cold or flu (1).

In another study conducted in 2001, drinking cold water was linked to triggering migraine in those who already experience it (2). The pain related to another condition called achalasia (a condition that makes it difficult for food to pass through the esophagus) can also get worse when you drink cold water with a meal (3).

Also, according to Chinese medicine, drinking cold water with meals is believed to create an imbalance within the body. Hence, meals in the Chinese culture, as well as several other cultures around the world, are served with warm water.

Another popular belief is that drinking cold water doesn’t actually help your body cool down on a hot summer day. However, there is no sufficient scientific evidence to back this claim.

So, does this mean that cold water has only cons? Or does it have any potential benefits? Let’s find out.

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Benefits Of Drinking Cold Water

Drinking cold water can prevent your body from overheating following a rigorous workout session or during exercising. This could be because consumption of cold water can make it easier for your body to maintain a lower core temperature (4).

Another benefit of drinking water, in general, irrespective of its temperature, is its ability to provide your body with more energy throughout the day (5).

Drinking water is also good for digestion and can help you maintain a healthy weight as compared to its sugary counterparts. It can also help you burn a few extra calories as your body will have to work harder to maintain its optimal core temperature when you drink cold water (6).

However, if you think that simply drinking more water (whether hot or cold) can jump-start your weight loss, that’s not true. But it may assist other weight loss programs in working better.

What’s the final verdict? Should you continue drinking cold water or switch to hot water? Find out in the next section.

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Is Warm (Or Hot) Water Better Than Cold Water?

Drinking warm water has its pros and cons. Warm water can aid digestion, improve circulation, and also help your body get rid of toxins faster (7). But, drinking warm water may make you less thirsty, which can be dangerous on hot days when your body tends to lose more water through sweating.

With all the information available, we can conclude that drinking cold water can help keep us hydrated while also providing us with energy. However, drinking cold water may not be such a great idea when you have a cold or flu as it can slow down your recovery. Cold water is also associated with reduced digestion.

However, you cannot ignore the cons of drinking cold water. You can take a few sips of icy water after a rigorous workout or after a tiring day at work. But if you indulge in a heavy meal or have the flu, hot/warm water is your best bet.

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Hope this post has helped you decide whether you should go for cold water or not. Do you have any more queries related to this subject? Feel free to get in touch with us through the comments section below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is it better to drink room temperature water?

If you do regular workouts and exercises, drinking cold water is better to maintain a lower core body temperature. But when it comes to digestion and detoxification, warm water (room temperature) works better.

Can drinking cold water help with weight loss?

While drinking cold water will not have a drastic effect on weight loss, it may help you burn a few extra calories as your body will have to work harder to warm the water within your body.

Is it bad to drink cold water on a hot day?

Drinking water that is extremely cold can do you more harm than good on a hot day. Icy cold water can cause esophageal spasms and abdominal cramps. It may also cause your heart rate and blood temperature to drop.

References

  1. Effects of drinking hot water, cold water, and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance” Chest, US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Headache caused by drinking cold water is common and related to active migraine.” Cephalalgia, US National Library of Medicine.
  3. Response of esophagus to high and low temperatures in patients with achalasia.” Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. The effect of a cold beverage during an exercise session combining both strength and energy systems development training on core temperature and markers of performance” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Plain water consumption in relation to energy intake and diet quality among US adults, 2005–2012” Nutritional Epidemiology, Wiley Online Library.
  6. Influence of water drinking on resting energy expenditure in overweight children.” International Journal of Obesity, US National Library of Medicine.
  7. SAY YES TO WARM FOR REMOVE HARM: AMAZING WONDERS OF TWO STAGES OF WATER!” European Journal Of Pharmaceutical And Medical Research.