Drinking enough water is on everyone’s to do lists. Water is essential for digestion, organ health, metabolism and pretty much every bodily function. But there’s a debate about what’s the healthiest water temperature. Most of us choose an ice chilled glass of water over a warm one – particularly in warmer months. But is cold water good for you? Surprisingly, there are many negative effects of drinking cold water. DOSE writer Demi explores the expert answers to the big question…
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What’s Bad About Drinking Cold Water?
There’s nothing quite like gulping down an ice cold glass of water, whether it’s after a workout or by the pool. But while it may feel good, it doesn’t do good. Below are the negative effects of drinking cold water, which may make you question your decision next time you ask for ice.
Throat Sore? It May Be From Drinking Too Much Cold Water
Constantly sipping on cold water can lead to a build up of the protective layer that lines the respiratory tract – known as respiratory mucosa. This results in a sore throat and makes the respiratory tract more vulnerable to infections.
Is Your Dinner Not Going Down Well?
It’s probably because you drank cold water, which slows down digestion. Now for the sciencey bit. Chilled water reduces our body temperature (duh). But this results in our blood vessels constricting and the body having to focus its energy on bringing its temperature back to normal. Whereas, if we drank warm water, this energy would be focused on digestion. As well as this, cold drinks solidify fats we’ve consume. Meaning they don’t get broken down as easily so the body needs to spend more energy on breaking them down. So think again next time you glug an icy beverage with your takeaway!
Heart Rate Low? Warm Up Your Water!
Another thing that cold water does is decrease our heart rate. This effects the vagus nerve, which plays a key role in our autonomous nervous system, and mediates the lowering of heart rate. When we consume cold water, the low temperature of the water stimulates the nerve to cause the heart rate to drop.
It Can Make That Headache A Lot Worse
A study from the Neuroscience Department of Sweden University Hospital found that a significant number of participants experienced headaches after consuming cold water. So, next time you’re taking a paracetamol for that headache, reach for a glass of warm water to wash it down.
Should I Drink Cold Water During Exercise?
In short, the answer is yes. Nutrition specialist Brooke Schantz explains that cold water is ideal for exercise, as it helps prevent your core body temperature rising significantly. As we sweat and move our body temperature rises, most of us can handle this rise in temperature. However, drinking cold water helps our bodies reduce its temperature faster.
Benefits of Drinking Hot Water
Feeling stuffy? Drinking hot water clears nasal passages
If you’re struggling to breathe out of your nose, hot water will help you out. Inhaling the steam from a cup of hot water can help unclog sinuses. We have mucous membranes throughout our sinuses and throat, so drinking hot water can help sooth a sore throat by reducing the mucus levels.
Food Baby Got You Feeling Down?
Drinking water helps to keep the digestive system moving. As the water moves through your stomach and intestines, the body is better able to eliminate waste. Hot water can break down the food we consume, making it easier for it top be digested.
Calms You Down
It’s no surprise that a cup of tea is the answer to any problem, as drinking hot water can relax your central nervous system. Leaving your mind and body calm and controlled.
So, Which Is Best?
For a quick summary of when to drink water at different temperatures watch the video below.
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Can drinking cold water cause health problems?
Drinking cold water can cause temporary discomfort, but it is not harmful to your health. However, people with certain medical conditions, such as Raynaud’s disease, should avoid cold water.
How much cold water should you drink per day?
The amount of water you should drink per day varies depending on your age, gender, and activity level. However, experts recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day.
Is it better to drink cold or warm water after exercise?
Drinking cold water after exercise can help lower your body temperature and reduce inflammation. However, drinking warm water can help improve digestion and boost your metabolism.
Can drinking cold water help with headaches?
Drinking cold water can help alleviate headaches caused by dehydration. It can also help reduce inflammation and improve circulation, which can help prevent headaches.