Is Cold Water Good for You?
It’s the middle of the day and you’re parched, so you decide to reach for a liquid that provides a slew of wide-reaching benefits to your body: water. However, should that water be a particular temperature in order to best help you—or avoid hurting you? Is it true that cold water is bad for you and you should avoid drinking it, or are there viable benefits of drinking cold water?
Cold Water Benefits
Cools You Down Faster
If you’ve just finished a long day of hard work, completed a tough workout, spent the day relaxing in the hot sun or took part in some other type of activity that raised your body temperature, odds are you’ll reach for a cold water to help you regulate your body temperature.
In studies on hydration, athletes tended to choose cold water over any other temperature to rehydrate their bodies. This cold water—around 41 degrees Fahrenheit if chilled in the fridge—stopped them from sweating before the fluid they drank could be completed incorporated into the body. This told researchers that the temperature of the water, not only the water itself, helped signal the body to stop sweating.
Ice Helps Burn Calories
Getting your cold water in the form of solid ice can hydrate you, but before your body can use that ice as water, it has to heat the ice up and create water from it. This process takes approximately five calories per ounce of eaten ice to complete, and each ice cube from a standard sized ice cube tray you’d find in most freezers weights approximately one ounce.
Five calories may not sound like much, but any progress is good progress—and you’ll be doing two positive things at once for your body. If you’re a habitual eater, keeping your mouth busy with ice may also assist with weight loss.
Take a Cold Shower
Studies show that taking a 10-minute cold shower after a workout—the entirety of the therapy known as cold water therapy—helps you feel less tired and less sore. Sure, your first reaction when you’re hit with strikingly cold water is to pull away, but that’s because cold water can put a strain on your body.
That shock and strain kicks you into survival mode, placing your circulatory system into overdrive. The body will increase blood flow in an effort to warm you and protect your vital organs. However, that’ll be hard because the cold shower will also cause blood vessels near the skin to constrict, limiting circulation.
The lack of blood flow to the skin and certain parts of the body can cut down on pain and inflammation. When normal circulation does reach these spots again, it’ll bring that increased blood flow along with it, flooding the area with oxygen and nutrients. This can also help improve your skin.
Risks of Drinking Cold Water
Can Aggravate Throat
Frequent consumption of cold water can result in an abnormally high amount of built up respiratory mucosa, the layer of mucous that protects the respiratory tract. When this build up becomes too much, it can elicit soreness in the throat as a response. Too much respiratory mucosa can also make you more susceptible to respiratory infections.
Decreases Heart Rate
Along with cooling you down and restricting blood flow, cold water can also lower your heart rate.
The cold temperature of chilled water impacts the functions of the vagus nerve, a long, complex cranial nerve—or a nerve in your head—that’s part of the parasympathetic nervous system. That means it helps regulate your non-voluntary functions, like heart rate.
Can Aggravate Pre-existing Medical Conditions
If you have certain medical conditions and are looking to hydrate, cold water may trigger or worsen your state rather than help you.
A 2001 study showed the act of drinking cold water could trigger a migraine in people who have a history of migraines. One theory on migraine causes involves the constriction of blood vessels. Cold water may cause such a reaction.
A 2012 study showed a link between cold water and the pain related to a condition called achalasia, which describes an inhibited lower esophageal sphincter. The LES is a muscle that connects the stomach to the esophagus and it opens when food and drinks need to enter the stomach for digestion. It’ll close to prevent matter from backing up the other direction.
Achalasia, which impacts approximately 1-in-100,000 people, means the LES has trouble moving things into the stomach. In the 2012 study, cold water was shown to exacerbate achalasia.
Cold vs. Warm Water
At the far ends of cold and warm, each temperature carries its own benefits and dangers. Beyond personal preference, the answer to the question of which water temperature is better—chilled or hot—lies mostly in circumstance.
How Water Temperature Affects Your Body
While extreme water temperatures result in obvious responses from the body, for the average person in an average situation, water temperature is most likely a matter of personal preference over medicinal benefit.
We all have our own temperature preferences for what we put into our bodies, be it a solid or a liquid, and the temperature of the water we consume is no different. Whether you prefer a refreshingly cold chilled water, like drinking room temperature water or want to stay hydrated with warm water, the most important thing is that you drink approximately 2.7 to 3.7 liters of water a day.
Maintain Optimal Hydration with DripDrop and Save 25%
Regardless of your chosen temperature, DripDrop can enhance the water you’re drinking by adding three times the electrolytes you’d get if you downed a sports drink—all while taking in a third of the sugar those same sports drinks contain.
Electrolytes help the body make the most of the hydration it’s getting by assisting with communication, muscle function, food digestion and more. Whether you like your drinks cold or warm, DripDrop and the electrolytes it contains can help the body perform at its optimal level.