Does your first thing after coming back from the office involve running to the fridge and grabbing a bottle of cold water to quench your thirst and whisk the day’s tiredness? After all, who doesn’t want the cool respite in a hot climate?.
With the mercury rising every day, it feels necessary to drink chilled water as often as possible. But did you notice, what you have been thinking as a great thirst quencher may be taking a toll on your health? And the cooler the water, the tougher are the side effects.
Ayurveda advises against the habit of drinking chilled water no matter how hot it gets. Drinking very cold water during a meal or any time can disturb the gastric juices’ normal functioning and imbalances the doshas.
Here are a few cold water health risks and why you should switch from cold water to normal room temperature water.
1. Restricts Digestion
Experts claim that cold water and even chilled beverages contract your blood vessels, thereby hampering digestion. It also restricts the absorption of nutrients during digestion.
The body’s focus deviates from digestion as it tries to regulate your body temperature and that of the water, which can actually cause water loss and make you feel dehydrated.
The body’s normal temperature is 37 degrees C, and when you consume something of very low temperature, your body compensates by spending energy to regulate this temperature. This excess energy that is now used to regulate the temperature would have been originally used in the process of absorbing nutrients and digestion.
This is why it is always recommended to have lukewarm water.
2. Sore Throat
Another very valid reason, for which even your elders have been preventing you from drinking chilled water, is your increased chances of getting a stuffy nose and sore throat.
Drinking cold water, particularly after a meal, results in the build-up of excessive mucus (respiratory mucosa), which makes the protective layer of the respiratory tract. However, when the tract becomes congested, it becomes exposed to various inflammatory infections.
3. Inhibits Breakdown of Fats
Experts also say that if you drink cold water just after your meal, the cold temperature will solidify the fats from the foods you have only consumed, making it difficult for your body to break down unwanted fats. It is anyway not advisable to drink water immediately after your meal.
Keeping a window of half an hour after a meal and before you drink water will help.
4. Could Decrease Heart Rate
Some studies have also shown that chilled water may play a role in decreasing your heart rate. Drinking chilled water supposedly stimulates the vagus nerve (the 10th cranial nerve). This nerve plays a crucial part in the body’s autonomous nervous system, and it mediates the lowering of heart rate(1).
When you drink chilled water, the water’s low temperatures stimulate the nerve to make the heart rate drop.
5. The Shock Factor
It is also not suggestible to have ice water after a workout. Fitness experts suggest drinking a glass of warm water after a workout. When you exercise, there’s a lot of heat generated, and if you drink chilled water immediately after, the imbalance of temperatures may take a toll on your digestive tract.
In addition to that, your body cannot absorb the chilled water; therefore, it’s of no use. Some also complain of chronic pain in the stomach due to cold water consumption right after a workout. This is because ice-cold water comes as a shock to your body.
Though cold water appears to do more damage, it does have certain advantages.
1. Improved Glucose Metabolism
A recent study in the Journal of JCEM (Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism) found that human exposure to freezing temperatures positively impacts the activation of BAT (brown adipose tissue), also known as brown fat.
Brown fat’s main purpose is to burn calories to generate heat in the body and is often referred to as good fat since it burns rather than storing fat.
While more research is required, this finding is promising in incorporating simple daily practices like drinking chilled water and even cold showers to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, both of which work to support autophagy.
[Also Read: Fast Metabolism Diet]
2. Boosted Weight Loss
Aside from the fact that intaking water of any temperature can help weight loss since we often mistake thirst for hunger, chilled water, in specific, can increase your calorie burn. This is because your body is compelled to work tougher to maintain its core temperature.
Taking a cold shower and enjoying a glass of chilled water have a similar metabolism-boosting effect. The extra calorie burn from drinking chilled water isn’t any significant number, but every little bit adds up if weight loss is one of your targets.
[Also Read: 5 Ways to Boost Weight Loss]
3. Better Workouts and Recovery
While increasing the heating element of your workouts by turning up the temperature or wearing extra layers of clothing can boost autophagy, drinking chilled water can also keep your body from overheating, making your exercise session more fruitful.
Post-workout, research shows that soaking in an ice-cold bath can reduce sore muscles by up to twenty percent, as it combats swelling, muscle stiffness, and inflammation.
[Also Read: COVID-Proof Gym Workouts]
4. Glowing Skin
We all strive for healthy skin, and chilled water can help. Besides just drinking your cold water, consider splashing a little on your face for an instant glow. Coldwater causes blood to rush to your skin’s surface, giving you a shiny and natural glow.
Benefits of drinking cold water in the morning
If you wake up early and are welcomed by a headache, cold water can work wonders. One of the major causes of this pain in the morning is the reduced water levels in the body.
When you wake up with a headache, your body does not have enough water levels. If you can drink some cold water on an empty stomach, the pain can vanish away, and you may have a fantastic day!
[Read: Drinking Cold Water Benefits]
The intake of cold water purely depends on one’s health condition and the situation they are in. Chilled water is not suitable for individuals with achalasia or migraines. Warm water, on the other hand, seems to be safe for most people.
Though chilled water naturally is not bad, it may cause issues in a few people. Hence, check your physician and the season or the time of the day to decide which suits best.