Is Drinking Cold Water Disrupting Your Digestive System?

The term "digestive fire" describes the atmosphere needed in your gut to properly transport food through your system. According to Ayurvedic principles, what we do during the day, coupled with what we eat, either fuels or dampens this fire. So, even when it comes to food, many followers of this tradition subscribe to the idea that warm always presents a better option than cold.

"Your internal temperature is 98 degrees; therefore, we should drink our water with a similar temperature for absorption," Ayurvedic expert Sahara Rose explained to Mindbodygreen. "When we drink cold water, our body has to expend a lot of energy to increase the temperature of the water to our internal organs, leaving us with less energy for healing and mental function."

In this tradition, cold water can negatively impact your digestive system, almost shocking it into a slowed-down state. At the moment, there are very few studies available to show the detriments of ingesting cooler liquids as opposed to anecdotal evidence. "The only thing that really is plausible scientifically is that by drinking cold water, you are constricting your blood vessels and may not have good absorption, whereas when you drink warm water, your blood vessels are more dilated," Amy Shah, M.D., explains. 

But, since gut health is so important to overall health, you may want to experiment with drinking warm and cool water to compare how you feel.

Cold water may be better for you during a workout

While Eastern traditions swear by room-temperature liquids as the best elixirs for health, Western medicine isn't fully on board. In fact, many doctors recommend cold beverages during workouts or for those living in warmer climates. Brooke Schantz, RD, tells WebMD, "Cold water can help prevent your core body temperature from rising significantly," noting that, "cold water is more refreshing, and it cools you off a bit better."

But, waiting to have the perfect temperature water isn't wise either. Staying hydrated should be your top priority — particularly during the warmer seasons and while you're exercising. The outlet explains that staying hydrated throughout your sweat sesh can lead to a better performance with a lower heart rate — no matter the degree of the water you're drinking.

However, the jury is still out on whether or not cold water works best in your system. "After all of my medical training, I've come to realize there's a lot that we don't know, especially when it comes to gut health and the immune system. These are areas that we don't understand well with our traditional medical model," Dr. Shah revealed to Mindbodygreen.

If you struggle with digestive issues, warmer beverages may be a better option for your overall health.