Drinking cold water after a meal isn't harmful to your health. Drinking water at any time, no matter what the temperature, is good for you. If you're concerned about when to drink your water and the appropriate temperature, consult your physician.
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Cold Water Myths
A number of misconceptions exist about drinking cold water and how it may affect your health. According to Ayurvedic medicine, cold beverages such as ice water are too cold for digestion, and when you drink them, digestion comes to a halt. Others believe that drinking cold water may impair organs in your body -- not just your stomach, but your kidneys as well. Columbia Health reports no evidence to support any of these health concerns when it comes to drinking cold water, however.
Benefits of Cold Water
More than 66 percent of people in the U.S. don't drink enough water, according to a report from Boston College. The American College of Sports Medicine says people prefer to drink water that's cold. If drinking it cold helps up your intake, that's a good thing. Also, cold water may help cool you off on hot days. This is especially important if you're exercising, because it may help prevent you from overheating.
Benefits of Water After a Meal
Drinking water after a meal may help digestion, especially for those with frequent constipation. Water after a meal acts as a type of lubricant, which helps keep the food moving through your digestive tract. It also helps you meet your daily water needs. If you're having a hard time fitting in the recommended 8 cups to 12 cups of water a day, making it a habit to drink a cup or two of cold water after you eat can help you meet your daily needs.
When to Limit Water
Drinking cold water after a meal may not be healthy for everyone, but not because it impacts digestion. Some people need to limit the amount of fluid in their diet because of issues with fluid retention caused by chronic illnesses such as heart failure or kidney disease. People with these types of health issues need to limit the amount of fluid they drink throughout the entire day, not just after meals. If you have issues with fluid retention, talk to your doctor about whether or not you need to limit your fluid intake, including your intake of water at any temperature after meals.
- Columbia Health: Is Drinking Cold Water Harmful?
- VPK by Maharish Ayurveda: Eating Right the Ayurvedic Way: 5 Tips for Good Digestion
- Medicine Science in Sports and Exercise: Exercise and Fluid Replacement
- Boston College: Two-Thirds of Americans Don't Drink Enough
- Boston.com: Does Drinking Water With Meals Help With Digestion?
- Brigham and Women's Hospital: Fluid Restriction Guide