Some people believe that drinking cold water is a bad habit that can actually harm your long-term health. This belief is based on the idea that drinking cold water contracts your stomach, making it harder to digest food after a meal. Some people also believe that your body has to work harder to maintain its internal temperature of 98.6°F (37°C) if you’re drinking water that’s near the temperature of ice, or less than 36°F (4°C).
But is there any truth to these ideas? Keep reading to find out the possible risks and benefits of drinking cold water.
Drinking cold water does affect your body in ways you may not anticipate or want.
If you’re trying to treat a cold or flu, drinking cold water might make your congestion feel worse.
There are some health conditions that drinking cold water can aggravate. Drinking cold water was linked to triggering migraines in people that already experience migraine.
The pain related to achalasia, a condition that limits your body’s ability to pass food through your esophagus, can get worse when you drink cold water with a meal.
In ancient Chinese medicine, drinking cold water with hot food is seen as creating an imbalance. Typically, meals in the Chinese culture are served with warm water or hot tea, instead. This belief is mirrored in several other cultures around the world.
Some people hold a similar belief that drinking cold water on a hot day won’t help cool you down. There isn’t enough research to conclude that either belief is true or false.
Benefits of Drinking Water
Some studies suggest that drinking colder water during exercise may improve a person’s performance and endurance.
For example, a 2012 study involving 45 physically fit males found that drinking cold water during exercise significantly reduced the rise in core body temperature compared with drinking room temperature water.
A study from 2014 investigated the effects of different drinks on the cycling performance of 12 trained male athletes in a tropical climate.
The researchers reported that drinking an ice-slush beverage was better for performance than drinking water at a neutral temperature. However, they also concluded that the athletes achieved the best performance when consuming an ice-slush beverage that also had a menthol aroma.
Some people claim that drinking cold water can help promote weight loss. Although some studies suggest that drinking more water can help the body burn slightly more calories, there appears to be little difference between drinking cold and room temperature water.