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Are There Dangers of Drinking Cold Water After Meals?

author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
Are There Dangers of Drinking Cold Water After Meals?
A cup of cold water after a meal may aid digestion. Photo Credit: Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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.

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