Water. Fluid of life. Our bodies are primarily composed of it, we need to drink copious amounts of it on a daily basis to stay alive and maintain our internal bodily functions. In fact, the average adult needs to drink anywhere from 3 to 5 litres of water a day in order to meet that requirement. This is dependent on size, weight and even gender. And I should clarify that we also take in a certain amount of water through food, as well. So it ain’t all about chugging it down from a glass. Wait, whiskey has water, right? Moving on…
When I was younger, I was always discouraged from drinking icy cold water. There were a number of reasons behind this, including the contraction of tissues that could make it harder to digest food properly, shocking one’s kidney and causing bodily cramps. Most of the time, this was encouraged by Sensei, who explained it was preferable to sip water at room temperature; a practice I maintained for years afterwards, thinking that he had a point. Although how you choose to take in your H2O and like most things in life, there’s a good and a bad side to everything. And the temperature of your water is no exception.
I decided it might be time to examine exactly what is so bad about drinking cold water. Is it genuinely bad at all? Turns out a lot of people wonder that very thing. I’ve read a number of different articles and papers on the subject and they’re al pretty consistent in terms of current findings. My preferred one is posted by Healthline.com, which may be bias on my part since it’s one of my favourite websites. But the article addresses some of the pros and cons of drinking cold water.
One of the points the article mentions that appeals to be is how practitioners of Chinese Medicine have a belief that drinking cold water with a hot meal creates an imbalance. On the flip side, consuming hot water is said to improve breathing, which is likely one of the reasons why people are encouraged to eat chicken noodle soup or hot tea when trying to recover from a cold or flu. All that being said, the article suggests that drinking cold water can cause increased congestion and migraines in people who suffer from them.
Cold water can be beneficial during fitness routines. Not only will the cold water help keep your core temperature cooler as you exercise but it may also help you burn more calories since your body will fight harder to warm that same core temperature up. That’s assuming you can actually get your hands on cold water. My current gym doesn’t even have a water fountain available and if I bring cold water, it’s warmed up by the time I get to the gym, workout and finally take a drink, it’s pretty much reached room temperature.
I can easily agree that the consumption of cold water on a hot summer day may SOUND like a good idea in the moment, but it could potentially increase the mucus in your throat and the difference in temperature between your core and your water can cause cramps, pains and shock the body in uncomfortable ways. I’ve also gotten a mild version of brain freeze on days I’ve come back from cycling and chugged water from a refrigerated water bottle. So while the jury may be out, it’s up to the individual person to decide how good or bad the consumption of chilled water could be.
One way or another, any water you get into your system is good. There isn’t enough evidence either way to suggest total overall benefits or loss of drinking cold or hot water. My older brother, the Light rest his soul, used to enjoy a cup of hot water at supper. Without tea in it or anything. He used to say it helped him digest his food. Maybe there was something to that. As long as you’re getting enough water to stay hydrated and healthy, that’s what’s important. And for my Dia-buddies currently reading, proper hydration can help with proper blood sugar control. ☯️