Ancient Indian wisdom tells us that drinking cold water isn’t a great idea at all. But is there any evidence behind this? Let’s look at the dangers of drinking cold water after eating.
Water is good. It helps maintain the right balance of the body fluids. It aids functions like digestion, absorption, circulation, making saliva, transporting nutrients and keeping our body temperature at the right level.
However, it’s not always good!
Why is it bad to drink cold water after eating?
Let’s deal with these two ideas separately. Firstly, drinking water after eating can water down digestive fluids.
What does that mean for the body? It means we are more likely to experience the symptoms of poor digestion. This can include a wide range of symptoms, some of which are:
- more wind
- trapped wind
- acid reflux
- tummy ache
- less nutrients being absorbed into the body.
Drinking lots of water after or during meals may be tempting, especially if we eat a lot of salty foods or the weather is hot.
When it comes to drinking cold water after meals, let’s look at the Ayurvedic point of view. Ayurveda has been around for centuries. In the Ayurvedic way of thinking, digestion involves heat, the “digestive fire”.
Drinking cold water is thought to extinguish this “digestive fire”. There may be some truth in this, and we can look at biological science to help us. The liver, for example, maintains a certain temperature so it can function optimally. This is the case of all of our internal organs.
So when we consume cold water, our bodies have to work harder to get that water up to body temperature before it can be assimilated. If there is food in the stomach, this may inevitably interfere with digestion.
What do you think? Try drinking warm water for a week and let us know if you see or feel any difference in your digestion.
What’s the best way to drink water?
The best way to drink water is on an empty stomach. To guarantee that our stomach is empty, we should wait for up to two hours for our food to move down into the small intestine area.
One of the best ways to make sure you do this is to drink a good amount of water 20-30 minutes before meals. You can do this as soon as you wake up, before lunch and before dinner.
By all means, drink water or herbal teas at other times, but avoid drinking large quantities of water when there is food digesting in your stomach.
Trying to drink more? Try these tips:
- Take a bottle of water with you when you leave the house. Put one in your desk at work, or in your car. Carrying water will ensure you drink enough and will save the day when you’re dying of thirst (which should be very rarely, ideally).
- Choose beverages that you enjoy. If you don’t like plain water, add some lemon and a little honey. Fruit and vegetable juices contain good quality water, so add them in too.
- Get into the habit of drinking water as soon as you get up. When you get used to being well hydrated first thing, your body will ask for more water during the day, and you’ll get hydrated more often.
Benefits of water
Water helps energise your muscles. Cells that don’t receive the water they need shrivel, which can lead to muscle fatigue.
Experts recommend that you drink water around two hours before exercise, making sure you are well hydrated before you train or play sports. Fluids lost by sweating should be replaced, so sip water post-workout, too.
Water is great for your skin. Dehydration can make your skin look drier and wrinkles can appear worse. Prevent this from happening by drinking water before you feel thirsty.
Water is great for your kidneys. Your kidneys get rid of waste, detoxifying and cleansing the blood. This is great news for your whole body, but without enough water, your kidneys will begin to struggle. Keep ’em happy by hydrating yourself adequately.
Water helps maintain normal bowel function, preventing and easing constipation. If you are dehydrated, your colon will pull water out of the wastes you should ideally be eliminating asap! Get enough fibre and water into your system, on the other hand, and you’ll be fine.