About 60 percent of the body is made up of water. It forms a major part of the blood. The cells and the body cannot function right if the water levels go down. Drinking cold water often causes “cold stress” in the body.
About 60 percent of the body is made up of water. It forms a major part of the blood. The cells and the body cannot function right if the water levels go down. However, should a person have warm or cold water? You may have been told not to drink cold water as a child Well, it seems science backs the recommendations.
Numerous studies have been conducted to assess the effect of water temperature on health. Though the evidence is often conflicting, enough studies have established that drinking cold water more often is linked to colds and flu, especially in children and in the elderly.
- Causes vasoconstriction in the respiratory tract lining. This means the blood vessels in the throat narrow in response to cold.
- Can reduce the movement of cilia (hair-like projections in the throat lining), which sweep viruses and bacteria away when they try to attach to the throat.
- Can temporarily reduce the white blood cell numbers (which guards the body).
- Can reduce the release of cytokines (chemicals that improve immune response to infection).
So, where flu is a concern, it is better to be cautious and drink warm or room temperature water to stay away from colds, especially during winter months.
What are the benefits of drinking warm water?
The benefits of drinking warm water are attested by many branches of eastern medicine. Indian ayurvedic and Chinese medicine have always encouraged the use of warm or room temperature water for drinking and bathing.
- Regularly drinking very warm water, especially in the morning, is claimed to activate the system and boost metabolism.
- The warm water helps increase gut movement and empty the bowel.
- Drinking warm water often helps those who suffer from constipation.
- Warm water with a pinch of turmeric and honey may soothe an itchy throat. However, avoid honey in babies younger than 12 months old.
The only place where drinking cold water may help is during exercise. Many studies claim drinking cold water while exercising helps keep the core temperature lower. This makes it possible for people to exercise for longer.
How much water should you drink?
Six to eight glasses per day are enough if a person leads a sedentary life. If a person exercises regularly, they should increase their water intake. Many experts suggest drinking a large glass (16 ounces) of room temperature water a couple of hours before exercising and a cup (8 ounces) about 10 or 20 minutes before beginning to exercise. While exercising, especially in hot climates, sip cold water at least every 15 or 20 minutes.
Medically Reviewed on 5/21/2021
The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease