If you’re looking for the ‘newest and greatest’ health discovery, you may want to skip this article.
Instead, I’d like to offer you what may be the simplest health tip ever.
This tip is based on centuries of practical knowledge and experience. And, as always, I encourage you to check it out for yourself to see how it applies in your unique situation.
This tip can best be summarized in a quote from Tai Chi Grandmaster, T. T. Liang. He said, “You might as well drink poison as drink cold water.”
That might be a shocking statement for some people. After all, we are served cold water (and many other beverages) every day in restaurants, at meetings and even in our own homes.
So what could be wrong with drinking cold water?
It depends on who you ask.
For example, there are any number of weight loss plans that say you should only drink cold water. The rationale is that your body has to use energy (calories) to warm the water up to body temperature. Theoretically that means you’d burn more calories drinking cold water.
And in fact this is true, but only to a limited extent. To burn enough calories to lose one pound this way you’d need to drink 400 glasses of cold water.
But calories aren’t the only measure of health.
Here are some of the reasons NOT to drink cold water:
- Drinking cold water is a shock to the system.
- Drinking cold water causes tissues to contract.
- Drinking cold water reduces digestive efficiency.
- Drinking cold water diminishes metabolic activities.
- Drinking cold water can lead to disease over time.
Have you ever had “brain freeze” from drinking a very cold beverage? That’s an extreme example of what happens at a more subtle level when you drink something colder than your body temperature.
In both cases your body responds with a stress response as it attempts to restore temperature balance.
With rare exceptions, coldness causes contraction. (The obvious exception is ice, which expands as it freezes due to the formation of crystals.)
Imagine the tissues of your stomach and the many blood vessels feeding it. Then imagine how they respond to the presence of shockingly cold water. Do you think that will make them more efficient or less efficient?
When the stomach contracts, it’s less able to secrete hydrochloric acid, and therefore is less efficient at digesting proteins.
Your body temperature is around 98.6 degrees for optimal functioning. When you exercise you warm up the body first so it will function better during the exercise. And even when you’re done exercising, during the ‘cool down’ period, what you’re really doing is letting the body return to its normal 98.6 degrees.
The same is true of general metabolic processes. Taking your body down below that temperature repeatedly creates less than optimal metabolic functioning.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), arthritis & joint pain are described in the category, “Wind-Damp-Cold Painful Obstruction.” In other words stiff and painful joints.
Cold water is the epitome of damp and cold. Although drinking one glass of cold water won’t necessarily cause joint pain, over time it can. I’ve seen many cases of this in my practice.
Overall, to function at its best your body must be at an optimal temperature. Extreme heat, or extreme cold are both equally dangerous to health.
If you think about drinking cold water as dropping your body temperature every time you do it, you can see that the cumulative effect won’t be to improve your health, but to damage it.
Practically speaking, that means you’re better off drinking your water (and any other beverage) at room temperature or warmer.
All the best to you for your health and happiness,