Staying hydrated has numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. Experts recommend that women aged 19 and above should consume around 2.7 liters of water daily while men aged 19 and above must consume 3.7 liters of water daily.
But do the health benefits of water vary depending upon the temperature of the water you drink?
Can drinking cold water have adverse effects on your health?
Walk through this article to understand the effects of cold water on your health.
Some individuals believe that consuming cold water is not a good habit and can have severe impacts on your long-term health. Typically, the reason behind this belief is that cold water tends to contract your stomach, thereby making it more difficult to digest food.
Some individuals also claim that our body needs to work harder for maintaining its internal temperature of 37°C if you are consuming water that is around the temperature of ice. But is there any truth to these ideas? Keep reading to find out the possible risks and benefits of drinking cold water
However, is there any science-backed evidence behind these theories? Read on to understand the potential risks as well as advantages of drinking cold water.
Risks of Cold Water
Cold water affects our body in a manner you may not want. A 1978 study, involving 15 participants, concluded that cold water tends to make our nasal mucous thicker, which hampers its smooth flow through our respiratory tract.
The study found that hot water and chicken soup helped the participants breathe easily. Therefore, if you are battling flu or cold, you should avoid cold water since it can worsen the symptoms of nasal congestion.
Several other health conditions can aggravate by drinking cold water. According to a 2001 study, cold water is associated with triggering Migraine in individuals who are already suffering from it.
The pain associated with Achalasia(1) a health condition that reduces the ability of your body to pass food through our esophagus may also worsen by drinking cold water, particularly with a meal.
According to ancient Chinese medicine, taking cold water with hot meals can trigger an imbalance in your body. As per traditional Chinese culture, food is served with hot tea or warm water. Several other cultures across the globe also follow this belief.
Some individuals believe that consuming cold water during hot summers will not cool you down. However, more research is needed to verify this belief.
Benefits of Drinking Cold Water
Despite all the beliefs discouraging the use of cold water, there are several science-backed health benefits of drinking cold water. Taking cold water while exercising may prevent overheating of your body, thereby making your workout or exercise session more productive. This is because the cold water helps your body in maintaining a low core temperature.
Drinking cold water helps your body keeps a high energy level throughout the day. Also, there are several other benefits of drinking cold water, such as:
1. Help Lose Weight
Drinking cold water instead of sugary beverages helps improve your digestion and maintain a healthy weight. Also, cold water may help you in burning a few extra calories as compared to drinking hot water since your body needs to work harder for maintaining its core temperature.
2. Excellent Post-Exercise Drink
The temperature of your body tends to increase drastically during a vigorous workout session. For lowering your body temperature after an exercise session, experts recommend you consume cold water.
3. Fights Heat Stroke
Typically, drinking cold water in hot days is an excellent choice since it offers several health benefits. Your body absorbs cold water quickly as compared to hot or warm water. When you’re back home for school or office amidst scorching weather or in case you face a heat stroke, have a glass of cold water for instant relief.
4. Aids in Weight Loss
The main principle behind weight loss is to enhance metabolism(2) of your body to burn more calories. Having a glass of cold water or taking a cold-water bath tends to boost your metabolism.
5. Mood Lifter
In hot days, a glass of chilled water is one of the most pleasant things that can happen to you other than a cold bath. After a vigorous workout session, outdoor activities, and spending hours out in the sun that leads to excessive sweating, you need some cold water to soothe your body and lift your mood.
There are some areas in our brain’s temporal lobe that are associated with our mood. Cold water stimulates these areas to lift your mood and gives you a sense of pleasure.
This is the reason why individuals behaving aggressively are offered cold water since it feeds the happy hormones in their brain to cool down the aggression instantly.
6. Hormone Regulation
Hormones are essential chemical substances made by various glands in our body. Several studies have found that consuming cold water has a beneficial and positive effect on the hormones in our body, specifically estrogens, and testosterone. Also, cold water helps maintain an excellent sex life.
[Read: Balance Hormones Naturally]
7. Healthy Skin
Consuming lots of water is vital if you to want to have smooth, flawless, and healthy skin. Drinking cold water helps speed up the mechanism of generating natural skin glow along with providing a face-lift to your skin texture.
Most people are not aware of the fact that hot or warm water tends to strip off the essential oils from your skin, making it dry and dull. Consuming cold water prompts the flow of blood to your skin surface, leading to smaller pores and flawless, shining skin.
8. Better Hair
Individuals who use hot or warm water for washing their hair regularly tend to have increased scalp dryness and rough, dull hair texture. Typically, cold water helps your hair cuticles lie flatter, making the hairs reflect more light. This makes your hair look smoother, shinier, and healthier.
[Read: Foods for Hair Growth]
9. Serves as an Energizer
The cold water helps provide you with more energy instantly. Water contains oxygen and hydrogen, both of which do not directly offer any considerable energy to your body. However, cold water makes you hydrated along with regulating your body temperature, thereby helping your body derive more energy from the food you eat.
Is Warm or Hot Water Better Than Cold Water?
Drinking warm water helps boost circulation and digestion, along with helping your body flush out harmful toxins faster. There is no risk factor as such in drinking warm water; it is a matter of individual preference. Both warm and cold water have their own merits and demerits therefore, you may choose between the two based on your choice, climate, and existing health condition.
Drinking hot or warm water makes you feel less thirsty, which may be harmful on days when the body is already losing water in the form of sweat for maintaining its ideal core temperature.
In case you choose to consume warm water, keep in mind to drink water after frequent intervals even if you don’t feel thirsty.
[Read: Posture While Drinking Water]
A Few Ways to Add More Water to Your Daily Diet
- Green tea: It not only promotes increased water consumption but also enhances the metabolism of your body.
- Lemon water: Together with rehydrating your body, lemon water enhances your immunity.
- Turmeric Ginger-Honey Tea: It helps cool down your body, thanks to the excellent cooling properties of ginger and turmeric. Also, these herbs help minimize the side effects of humid and scorching heat.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk enhances your calcium levels and cools you down instantly.
- Coconut water: It is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, and has the potential to regulate blood pressure levels. Also, coconut water comes handy in increasing your daily water consumption along with providing the benefits of a well-hydrated, toxin-free, and healthy body.
Some individuals may prefer to avoid cold water intake. Consuming cold water when you have flu or cold, or in case you suffer from any chronic health condition that leads to slower digestion, is perhaps not an excellent idea. Though some cultures, such as Chinese, believe that drinking cold water has substantial health risks, more research is required to support these claims.
If you are worried about your digestion, need to make a weight-loss plan, or experience frequent dehydration, consult your physician.