Home Blog Home and Wellness Is Cold Water Bad for You?

Is Cold Water Bad for You?

por Dr. Jonathan Doyle - Updated January 10, 2024
We pay close attention to how much water we consume daily. The National Academics outlines the recommended nutrient intake in their Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) report . The report suggests that a healthy adult male should consume approximately 3.7 liters of water from beverages daily, while an adult female should consume around 2.7 liters, including water from food.
People also consider the water’s temperature because of their individual preferences and perspectives on health-related matters. In the United States, cold plunges are becoming more and more popular as a health practice; however, some “health conscious” individuals prefer warm water because they think it’s better for internal functions like digestion. Other cultural customs, like traditional Chinese medicine, which advises against using cold water, might also have an impact on them. So, are all those adverse effects of cold water true, or are they just stereotypes? Can warm water prevent these problems?

The Cold Plunge Practice

Recently, cold plunges have gained popularity as a form of therapy or exercise in the US, drawing attention to the use of cold water and its possible health advantages. In this practice, people submerge themselves for brief periods of time in a tub or pool of freezing water, typically at or below 10°C.
It is believed that this will cause a variety of physiological reactions that could aid in circulation, mood enhancement, and healing. Advocates assert that it can result in decreased inflammation, a stronger immune system, and improved sleep. The Nordic traditional ice bathing is one of the global origins of many hydrotherapy practices that contribute to the common association of cold plunges with health routines.
a man jumping in a lake

Different Choices of Cold Plunge

Cold submersion treatments come in a variety of forms, from at-home cold plunge, sleek traditional plunge pools with excellent water filtration and cold plunge temperature control to deeply embedded in-ground systems that seamlessly integrate with outdoor spaces and offer longevity, customized choices, as well as enhanced water filtration and temperature control.
These days, portable ice baths are also popular because they are portable and simple to move. They provide ice treatment while you’re on the go, even though they don’t have as much insulation as permanent basins, they still work well to keep things cold and save money.
External refrigeration units descend into the arena when the temperature of the aquatic environment demands it. These devices retrofit larger pool systems or spas to quickly transition from warm to cold conditions while enhancing the quality of the water through filtration systems combined with UV germ elimination.
Aside from man-made reservoirs, there are other ways to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of an ice bath, such as quick hydro showers, the wild embrace of frozen lakes and streams, or even more basic, homemade ice baths. These different approaches provide therapeutic benefits by cooling the body naturally or with assistance, appropriate for anyone wishing to add the reviving powers of cold exposure to their daily wellness routines.
traditional cold plunge pools

Benefits of Cold Plunge

The human body can benefit greatly from cold plunges, which include hormone regulation, swelling reduction, and dopamine stimulation. We will concentrate on the main characteristics that draw people into experiencing it in this post. It is important to remember that cold baths are not recommended for all body types and shouldn’t be used carelessly or frequently. We must approach it methodically, beginning with a thorough assessment of our suitability for this kind of treatment.

Reduce Inflammation

The tightening of blood vessels known as vasoconstriction can result from a cold plunge. This constriction can lessen blood flow to inflammatory regions, which will lessen swelling and inflammation. To reduce post-exercise inflammation and expedite recovery, athletes frequently submerge themselves in a cold plunge before or after workout.

Decreased Stress and Enhanced Mood

The body releases endorphins , which are naturally occurring painkillers, in large quantities when submerged in cold water. This may produce euphoria, which lifts the spirits. Over time, the practice can also increase resilience, which lowers daily stress levels and decreases reaction to stressors.
a stressed man in the office

Increased Metabolism

Due to the body’s increased effort to maintain core temperature, a cold plunge can raise metabolic rate. In order to generate body heat and burn more calories, thermogenesis starts. This may eventually result in metabolic changes that could help with weight control and general metabolic health.

Pain relief and Healing

Cold water exposure can have a soothing effect without having the negative effects of some medications. Joint pain and muscular aches are lessened by the numbing effect. When combined with decreased inflammation after exercise, this can speed up injury recovery, minimize recovery time, and enhance general physical readiness.
a relaxing woman without pain

Drinking Warm Water vs Cold Water

Which type of water do you prefer to stay hydrated when you are thirsty - cold or warm? Despite the widespread belief that ice and cold water are unhealthy, Some people still dislike hot or warm water. This is especially true on hot days or after intense exercise when a glass of ice water instantly revives and uplifts your spirits.
In order to understand how water temperature impacts our health, we will discuss the pros and cons of drinking cold water, regardless of whether you belong to a warm-water school or a cold-water school. You can select a different water temperature in different situations based on the properties of the water as well as your personal preferences.

Drinking Cold Water Benefits and Risks

Drinking chilly water before, during, and after exercise may not only help the body cool down but may also help the participant do better. Cool water aids in heat loss and reduces body temperature.
In cases of severe perspiration or dehydration, reducing thirst does not indicate that the body has received enough water back; in this regard, the study finds that 16°C is the ideal temperature for cold water replenishment.
cold water
There is a theory that suggests drinking cold water can help with weight loss, but the effect of water temperature is actually very small. Instead, the emphasis should be on controlling one’s diet and increasing water intake to boost metabolism and lower calorie intake.
It is best for people to drink warm or hot water to help relieve the symptoms of colds, because drinking cold water may cause the snot to thicken and worsen nasal congestion.
Additionally, consuming cold or iced water can cause constriction of blood vessels near the ends and abnormal nerve reflexes, both of which can worsen migraine symptoms.

Drinking Warm Water Benefits and Risks

Warmth is well-known to have therapeutic benefits that support the health of the brain and spinal cord and can help reduce stress. Raising body temperature has the potential to activate sweat glands, resulting in increased sweat production. This helps the body eliminate toxins through its pores, facilitating detoxification .
Warm water consumption can also help the digestive system by promoting the gastrointestinal tract’s contraction, which eases constipation. Warm water is especially helpful for those who have sensitive teeth because it is less likely to cause discomfort than colder options, making it a more pleasant and comfortable option to drink.
warm water
Sometimes, warm water isn’t always a clever idea. Some people can find it uncomfortable to drink if they have certain throat or stomach issues. Additionally, if the water is too hot, there is a chance of scorching the oral cavity or esophagus.


As each person has a unique body constitution, temperature sensitivity, and degree of tolerance for warm and cold water, it is okay to use either warm or cold water if it does not cause discomfort.
To stay healthy, it is critical to develop the habit of consuming more water and using its temperature to improve health. However, making someone used to cold water quickly adjust to warm water could make them less likely to reach for water on a regular basis. It is best to base your decision about the water’s temperature depending on the practical situations and your own activity level.


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