We all agree that nothing beats the sensation you get when you down a bottle of cold water or soda when you are hot. That chilling and refreshing sensation could akin to seeing a river in a desert.
As rewarding as cold water can be, in hot weathers like ours, experts say that it comes with serious health consequences. They warn that one may need to hands off drinking cold water regularly due to its negative impact on the heart and the digestive system.
Consultant nutritionist, Dr. Tosin Akinsanya, says even though the body cannot have too much of water, it complains when it has too much of cold water. According to the food and healthy living expert, cold water is at a temperature that contradicts the overall temperature within the body system.
Akinsanya says that normal body temperature of the body is between 34 and 37 oC while that of cold water is usually between zero and two degrees Celsius and this sudden change in temperature levels, which usually happens when we drink cold water, shocks the body, leading to chronic diseases in those who drink it over time.
“The body is made up of 70 per cent of warm water. Water is the most important fluid in the body because it is the medium blood uses. It is the medium which circulates nutrients around the body. If the 30 per cent we drink is against the normal temperature of the body, we see how hard it is for the body to make use of it. Cold water causes distress in the tissues and blood vessels.
“The body has to warm up the cold water you drink every time to an acceptable temperature before it can take it up for digestion, nutrient and blood circulation. That is why we advise people not, take drugs with cold water. The drugs will not digest on time; it means you won’t get the best of the drugs because the water did not dissolve on time.”
Family health physician and author of Ten Habits To Drop Right Now, Dr. Vasant Lad, adds that drinking cold water after a meal has adverse effects on the digestive system. Lad also warns against drinking cold water immediately before a meal.
For Dr. Lucia John, a major reason why we should ditch cold water for tepid or warm one is its effect on the heart. According to the healthy living expert, the heart labours more to restore blood circulation when we drink cold water that is not compatible with the body’s temperature.
She says, “When we drink cold water, juice, or any cold fluids, we create the basis for chronic heart diseases. Cold water has a clotting effect on the blood and other fluids in the body making it difficult for it to circulate.
“A body that cannot circulate its blood is like an uninviting swimming pool in which moss and bacteria grow. The blood may be thick, unable to flow properly to the extremities of the body, the hands and feet begin to feel numb and hurt, the toes begin to hurt, and the toenails lose their shine and may begin to decay. The heart labours to pump the blood throughout the body, and the lungs fight to keep up. The legs may swell and become dark, when blood cannot efficiently pump back up to the heart.
“When the blood is free from toxins and flowing freely and properly, we can then liken the blood to an inviting swimming pool, clear and clean. It generates happiness and perfect health, energy and creativity. This individual contributes maximum to the health and wellbeing of others in an innocent, natural way.”
Scientists have also solved the mystery behind the instantaneous headache brought on by a sip of an ice-cold drink.
According to the neurologists who analysed the result of a study, which involved 5,000 participants over a period of five years, cold water is not friendly to some sections of the brain.
The researchers found that sipping it causes an abrupt increase in blood flow to a major artery in the brain that is then followed by the familiar headache-like. The experts warn that over time this effect may shrink some receptors in the brain.
Knowing all this, we have a responsibility to put into our bodies, only drinks and foods that will enhance its proper functioning.
Akinsanya gives a final advice on the need to take regularly water at a normal temperature.
“The brain is fairly sensitive to temperature change, that is why it freezes when you drink cold water at first. This continuous seizure is not good for it. The brain is one of the relatively important organs in the body, and it needs to be working all the time. We should avoid anything that will make it freeze,” he adds.
To know the right temperature of water to drink, Akinsanya says, “Put one finger in your mouth and close it. The temperature of what you feel is the temperature of water or food that you eat most times. That is what the body is used to and that is what you should give it.”