Is Drinking Cold Water Bad For You?

Water: We can't live without it. In fact, over 60 percent of our body weight is water (via Everyday Health). Drinking water not only helps support all our bodily functions, but it has plenty of other benefits too. Does it matter, though, if our refreshing glass of water is warm or cold?

While most people hate cold showers, they still prefer to drink cold water. Think about it — if the weather is hot, would you rather reach for a glass of cold or hot water to refresh yourself? Most of us would reach for the cold one. However, according to research, that might not be the wisest decision. Why? Because drinking cold water can have various negative effects on your body, including increasing headaches and migraines (via Pub Med). 

But is cold water really that bad? Lucky for you, we've broken down the most researched effects to help you decide whether or not drinking cold water is really all that bad for you.

The effects of cold water on your body

Most people recommend cold water after a workout to help cool you down, but while cold water can have the benefit of lowering your temperature, it can also negatively impact your metabolism and can slow down your digestion (via Bustle).    

An expert in Ayurvedic medicine, Dr. Vasant Lad, told Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, "Ice-cold water is poison to the system and hot water is nectar." Ayurvedic medicine is the world's oldest holistic healing system, developed over 3,000 years ago in India, and advises against drinking cold water.

Other ancient traditions also advise against drinking cold water. Healthline reports that Chinese medicine promotes warm water drinking because cold water limits the ability of food to be digested properly. 

2012 study found that drinking cold water worsened symptoms in people with issues like achalasia, which is a serious condition that affects the esophagus (via Healthline). Yet, when participants in that study drank warmer water, it helped relax the esophagus and allowed for easier swallowing.

Alongside digestive issues, cold water reportedly can cause other health issues like a sore throat and a decrease in heart rate (via NDTV Food). 

Cold vs. warm water

So if cold water has so many negative side effects, what temperature water should you be drinking? Most experts agree that room temperature water is the way to go.

Although cold and iced water can help with temporary weight loss, room temperature water aids digestion, detox, and pain relief (via Spoon University).

While cold water is known to slow down your metabolism, room temperature water actually does the opposite, as it increases your overall body temperature. Similarly, warm water can help fight off a cold or flu, as studies have shown that drinking cold water can make the mucus in your sinuses thicker, which can result in a longer-lasting sick period (via Bustle). 

While there isn't enough research to justify that warm water is 100 percent better than cold, most long-term effects show that warm or temperature water better benefits the body (via Healthline).

Either way, it is your decision to make, and whether or not you drink your water cold or warm, the most important thing is that you should drink plenty of water each day. Basically, if you don't drink enough water, that's far worse for you than drinking a glass of ice water.