Drinking Cold Water — Good Or Bad?

There has been an ongoing debate about the temperature at which water should be consumed. More and more western experts are suggesting you replace your regular water with cold water.

Ayurvedic medicine suggests that cold water can slow down digestion and cause an imbalance in the body, but there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims.

On the other hand, a 2013 study did find that drinking water at a temperature of 16°C was the best temperature for rehydration in dehydrated athletes, as participants drank more water and sweated less at this temperature.

However, this study was conducted on a small sample of only six people, so further research is needed to confirm these findings. In general, it is recommended to drink enough water to stay hydrated, regardless of the temperature.

Should you do that? And why?

What are the pros and cons of drinking cold water?

And when should you drink it?

We’ll discuss all this in this article today. And as a bonus, we will compare warm and cold water – so you know which one is better for you and your family to hydrate.

Cold Water Health Benefits We All Need

Drinking cold water gives you mostly the same benefits you can expect from water at any temperature.

1) It Prevents Dehydration

Dehydration can cause an electrolyte imbalance in the body. This imbalance can affect your muscle and nerve function, energy levels, and blood flow, among other things. 

Cold water can help avoid these problems – it improves energy levels and even prevents dehydration headaches.

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2) Increases Blood Circulation

The rise in blood flow helps the nutrients and oxygen in your body reach all the organs. Outer organs like skin and hair too will thus be nourished well despite being far from where the heart pumps blood.

3) Helps Lose Weight

Studies suggest drinking cold water may help you lose weight (up to 1.2kg in a year) by increasing your metabolism. 

It helps keep you full, thus reducing your appetite and weight gain. Additionally, it flushes out toxic waste from the body. 

4) Prevents Kidney Stones

If you have been wondering if cold water is bad for kidneys, here’s your answer. It’s not unless you drink too much of it.

You see, water is alkaline in nature. So, it can prevent the formation of kidney stones by diluting acids in the stomach. These acids may otherwise create an environment favorable for kidney stones. 

Also, water will help pass them out and relieve your pain if you already have the stones. 

Just make sure not to drink too much cold water. Doing that may cause overhydration, which may lead to losing essential electrolytes from the body.

You can enjoy all these benefits by drinking cold water almost throughout the day. But can you be drinking cold water on an empty stomach in the morning?

Here are two main benefits of drinking cold water in the morning.

  • If you exercise in the morning, cold water helps increase your workout performance.

Drinking water before or during an exercise session helps the body store heat more effectively (i.e. heat sink). This reduces exercise-induced heat gain. 

Also, cold water tends to lower your heart rate. Thus, helping stabilize the increased heart rate during workouts.

With control over your heart rate and body temperature, plus increased energy levels, cold water in the morning can help you commit to your workout for longer hours. Thus, getting you better results.

  • If you live in a hot climate area, cold water in the morning will prevent heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion happens when the body’s temperature rises rapidly, and it’s unable to cool down. This usually happens after you have been in the sun. 

But for people living in extremely hot places, this is possible after a long night of sleep because you probably didn’t drink any water all night.

Cold water will help lower the body’s temperature while replacing the fluids lost from sweating all night.

It may also be effective against cold sweats.

How Cold Water Can Harm You — The Risks

1) It Lowers Heart Rate

Drinking cold water can stimulate the tenth cranial nerve, the vagus nerve. This nerve – a crucial component of the body’s autonomous nervous system – mediates the slowing of the heart rate. 

What does this mean? Is drinking cold water bad for your heart? 

Yes. A drop in heart rate can limit the oxygen that reaches your brain. Low heart rate could cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath. It may even lead to blood collecting in your heart’s chambers and lead to congestive heart failure.

2) Creates Difficulty Managing Weight (In Some Cases)

You read that right! I remember saying that cold water helps increase metabolism, thus reducing weight. But in some cases, drinking cold water increases weight.

This happens when you consume cold water around meal time. 

That’s why Ayurvedic experts like Dr. Vasant Lad advise us to avoid cold water almost all the time. He is the author of the popular book The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies: Based on the Timeless Wisdom of India’s 5,000-Year-Old Medical System. 

In this book he has explained the reasoning behind. 

Drinking cold water, especially when eating, tends to lower body temperature. 

Now, since your body must maintain a constant temperature of about 37 degrees Celsius under normal circumstances, it works to return to this temperature. 

The body expends all of its energy to do this rather than utilizing it for digestion. The result is indigestion which brings a whole new set of health problems with it.

Are there any disadvantages of drinking cold water in the morning?

When you drink cold water, it may shut down your digestive fire. If this happens in the morning, you may lose the fire you need to digest your breakfast. 

Slow digestion will mean slow access to energy. Low energy levels may make you unproductive in the morning and leave some food undigested before your lunch. Thus making you vulnerable to indigestion and bloating

If you live in a hot environment and must drink cold water in the morning, use copper vessels to store your water. They tend to lower the temperature of the water without making it too cold. 

Water stored in Copper vessels has several health benefits – including its ability to improve digestion. 

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    Cold Water Vs. Warm Water 

    The temperature of the water that’s suitable for you depends on what benefits you are looking for and what risks you must avoid keeping your health conditions in mind. It also depends on when you drink it.

    For issues like dehydration, leg cramps, and reduced blood circulation, both cold and warm water are effective. 

    For some others, check out this table.

    Cold WaterWarm Water
    Helpful to increase workout performance.Helpful when you need to increase digestion (early morning, during meals, 30 min before and after meals)
    Helpful to reduce body temp if you spent too much time in the heat.Helpful when you have a cold or any nasal allergies.
    Helpful to stabilize your heart rate, when it’s skyrocketing.Helpful when you are stressed. 
    Helpful as a replacement for coffee when you need instant alertness. Helpful when you have trouble swallowing food. 

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