Drinking cold water: risks and benefits

Drinking cold water: risks and benefits

Water represents about 60% of male body weight and 50% of female body weight , and for this very reason it is a fundamental element for general well-being and health.

According to the World Health Organization, an adult man should drink about 2.9 liters of water a day, a woman 2.2 , while for children the quantity varies from 0.8-1 liter in the range between six months and year of age, up to 2.1 for males and 1.9 for females between 9 and 13 years of age.

Alongside these indications, there are no official guidelines regarding the recommended temperature at which it should be ingested.

However, there is no doubt that many people prefer it cold and it is therefore essential to understand whether there are risks in carrying on this habit or not.

Drinking cold water: the potential risks

Quenching your thirst with an iced drink , especially in summer or when you are particularly hot, is a rather common practice which, however, could lead to some unpleasant consequences .

Cold water should be avoided when exercising in the summer .

Digestive problems

Drinking cold water with or after meals can cause stomach pain , bloating and digestive difficulties .

This can happen because our body, and especially the stomach , has a precise internal temperature , which should remain unaltered and constant as much as possible, but which becomes unbalanced with the intake of cold water . Furthermore, invaded by liquids at cold temperatures, some foods tend to increase in volume and load the stomach with excessive work to be digested.

In this sense, it is not surprising that this practice is also discouraged by Chinese medicine and by many passages of the Ayurvedic tradition , which, aiming at achieving a well-being that combines body and mind, recommend drinking only hot or room temperature water, in the belief that cold extinguishes, together with the digestive fire , the vital energy .

Pain in the teeth and head

Cold water is also not recommended if you suffer from sensitive teeth or gums and irritated throat because it could accentuate the symptoms. It also appears to trigger migraines in people who already suffer from them, worsen some symptoms of chronic illnesses , and strain the heart by putting in extra work to get the body back to its standard temperature.

Worsening of flu symptoms

Following a recent study involving 15 people, it was found that drinking cold water would make nasal mucus thicker and more difficult to clear through the airways. This practice, therefore, is particularly not recommended in case of flu or cold symptoms.

In these situations, on the contrary, the recommendation that emerged from the same research is to drink hot water or other high-temperature liquids such as meat or vegetable broth , which instead would help you breathe more easily , cure colds or flu, improve digestion , help circulation and in general the body to get rid of toxins faster .


When you are very thirsty, your instinct is to pounce on an iced glass of water, in the belief that it will quench your thirst more than one at room temperature.

However, this is a false myth. Not only that: drinking water at too low a temperature could paradoxically lead to a  mild form of dehydration , which in turn can generate migraines , tiredness, exhaustion and other typical symptoms of a lack of fluids in the body.


Even when you are very hot or after a great physical effort, you tend to drink large quantities of cold water quickly .

In this case, the lurking enemy is congestion , also caused by too sudden a change in temperature inside the stomach. For this reason, if you are hot, it is better to prefer water at room temperature or slightly cool, drinking it slowly but in small sips.

Drinking cold water: some benefits

Drinking cold water not only has contraindications , but can also lead to various benefits , especially if the temperatures do not drop excessively.

Improve sports practice

Water is rich in minerals so it is essential to drink it constantly throughout the day, both in summer and in winter , because it helps to stay hydrated and keep the level of these precious elements high for health.

This is especially true while playing a sport, in order not to risk that the body runs out of minerals and energy. Sipping it chilled , in addition to fulfilling this purpose, would help prevent the body from overheating and make the training session more effective .

Coconut water is useful for improving sports practice and rebalancing the elements lost during training .

Helps to lose weight

Ingesting water regularly improves the digestive process and helps maintain a balanced weight , regardless of the temperature.

However, it would seem that drinking it cold could help burn a few more calories during digestion because the body is put through more effort to keep its core temperature constant. In this case, however, it is always better not to overdo it, in order to avoid causing yourself all those ailments due to this physiological mechanism.



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