Drink Water

Benefits of Drinking Cold Water: Why Icy Cold Hydration is Healthy

While water is refreshing at any temperature, there are unique advantages associated specifically with drinking extra cold, chilled water. Below 50°F/10°C, cold water triggers beneficial responses.

This article explores the scientifically-backed health and wellness benefits that result from routinely partaking in frosty glasses of icy cold water. You’ll learn how cold water aids weight loss, brain function, energy, pain relief and more. We’ll also cover how filtration systems like Artic Refresh provide optimally chilled purified drinking water.

With advantages spanning fitness, cognitive performance and beauty, the case for embracing brisk, bracing hydration is compelling. Read on to appreciate chilled water in a whole new way.

Overview of Cold Water’s Effects on the Body

Let’s begin with an overview of the wide-ranging impacts that stem from ingesting colder water:

  • The body has to warm very cold water from 39°F/4°C to our 98.6°F/37°C internal temperature, burning extra calories.
  • Cold water absorbs into blood more rapidly, inducing a pressor response that elevates heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Chilly water applied to the face triggers the diving reflex, reducing heart rate and blood flow for calmness.
  • The menthol-like trigeminal nerve sensation from coldness enlivens the senses and provides refreshment.
  • Colder water lowers body temperature briefly, which has adaptogenic benefits as a hormetic stressor.
  • Cooled water increases viscosity and density compared to room temperature hydration.
  • Drinking icy water flushes out inflammatory toxins accumulated in tissues.

Let’s now explore the science and implications behind each of these unique mechanisms in more detail.

Burning Extra Calories

One of the most cited benefits of chilled water is the slight boost in calories burned. Here’s why:

  • When very cold 39-50°F water enters your mouth and gut, it must be warmed to match your 98.6°F core body temperature before being absorbed and utilized.
  • This thermic effect of water requires a small amount of extra calorie expenditure to raise the water ~50°F closer to body temperature.
  • While the actual number of calories varies based on volume and precise temperature, research indicates 10-12 extra calories are burned by drinking a 16oz glass of 39°F water, or 24-48 extra calories per day for 2-4 glasses.
  • This thermogenesis activating brown adipose tissue is similar to the mild metabolic boost from food processing.

Over time, the small extra calorie burn induced by consistently drinking cold water adds up incrementally as an easy assist to weight management.

Cold Pressor Response Benefits

Next, let’s examine how the body responds acutely after gulping very cold water:

  • Frosty water entering your digestive tract triggers a widespread autonomic pressor response as it hits nerves and smooth muscle.
  • Heart rate increases as much as 30% temporarily to pump oxygenated blood deep into tissues rapidly for heat exchange.
  • Blood vessels momentarily constrict as a vascular reaction to the chilly stimulus before expanding.
  • This acute cardiovascular response provides a kind of training adapting your circulatory system over time if repeated daily.
  • Some studies indicate the pressor response may boost cardiovascular health by strengthening blood vessels to better regulate flow.

While fleeting, frequent bursts of cold water keep this resilience response in shape for lasting benefits.

Activating the Diving Reflex Response

Interestingly, drinking icy water isn’t the only route to benefits. Simply splashing skin elicits a helpful reflex:

  • When very cold water contacts facial nerves around eyes and nose, it stimulates the trigeminal nerve, part of our autonomic nervous system.
  • This nerve activity triggers the mammalian diving reflex, which includes automatically lowering heart rate and peripheral blood circulation to conserve oxygen when submerged under water.
  • The slowed heart rate fosters a calming response, bringing down stress reactivity. Mentally activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Beyond drinking it, bathing your face in icy water also harnesses the dive response for a bit of zen.

Refreshing Sensations

The sheer physical sensation from extremely cold water is additionally therapeutic:

  • As icy water hits your teeth and tongue, menthol-like thermal receptors are activated providing a pleasant enlivening jolt.
  • Your palate and oral membranes experience an invigorating rush of cooling sensations that stimulate and awaken the senses.
  • Even just gargling cold water briefly floods the mouth and throat with refreshing, cooling relief, especially on parched or sore throat tissues.
  • Drinking frosty water essentially provides a mini biohack resetting your sensory apparatus and palette between meals or tasks.

The simple brisk stimulation from a quick dose of cold water refreshes your nervous system naturally, without relying on chemical stimulants like caffeine to perk up.

Adaptogenic and Hormetic Effects

Another benefit of routine cold water drinking arises from the adaptive response it provokes:

  • While not extreme enough to threaten health, consistently consuming very cold water acts as a modest hormetic stressor.
  • Daily exposure pushes your body’s thermoregulatory capabilities to better maintain homeostasis through slight perturbations.
  • This hardening effect also upregulates mitochondria biogenesis and beneficial brown adipose tissue when your body frequently adapts to colder fluids.
  • Over time, frequent hormetic immune system stimulation from cold may increase innate immunity too.

So don’t just endure that bracing chill – embrace its hidden training effects that boost fitness overall!

Impact on Hydration Absorption

Interestingly, the colder temperature of water changes absorption kinetics as well:

  • Colder water has increased viscosity, or thickness, along with greater density compared to body temperature and room temp water.
  • The thicker, more viscous hydration fluid component leads to a more sustained absorption profile.
  • Rather than a rapid spike in blood volume, very cold water provides a steadier, graduated hydration uptake.
  • Absorbing small amounts continuously is gentler and less straining on the circulatory system than sudden heavy water volume loading at once.

The larger impact is enabling consistent, smooth hydration rather than urgent flooding all at once from tepid water chugging.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

As a final benefit, cold water consumption may reduce inflammatory factors:

  • Some studies indicate that routine cold exposure leads to release of anti-inflammatory signaling molecules.
  • Animal research found cold water ingestion increases cortisol, which exerts anti-inflammatory effects at certain levels.
  • The cyclical hydrostatic pressure from cold-induced vasoconstriction forces old oxidized blood out of tissues, flushing inflammatory mediators.
  • Cold environments force the body to regulate itself differently including altered cytokine and white blood cell function.

While mechanisms require further elucidation, cold water shows promise for inhibiting the artifacts of inflammation through multiple pathways.

Ideal Temperature for Maximizing Benefits

Given these advantages, what’s the best temperature range for chilled drinking water?

33-50°F / 0.5-10°C

This wide range covers near freezing to briskly cold. The colder, the better in terms of benefits, but too icy interferes with taste.

38-45°F / 3-7°C

This cooler but not quite icy range provides the best of both – therapeutic coldness with minimal taste impairment.

Below 50°F / 10°C

The water needs to be colder than room temperature or body temperature to induce advantageous responses.

While adjusting to your personal preferences, seek out the coldest pleasurably drinkable water possible for optimal effects.

Maximizing Exposure to Cold Water

To integrate more therapeutic cold water into your routine:

  • Fill a pitcher with water and plenty of ice at night to have satisfying chilled water first thing in morning.
  • Keep a reusable frozen gel pack in your water bottle to maintain ultra-cold temps all day as it slowly melts.
  • Choose the coldest option from beverage stations and water fountains when filling up. Avoid tepid tap water.
  • Add extra ice and occasionally enjoy frosty water slushies whenever you blend up fruit smoothies.
  • Place water bottles in the back of the fridge rather than the door to ensure they become maximally chilled.
  • Try some crunchy cylindrical ice sticks for especially refreshing hydration as they melt gradually while you sip.

With a few strategies, you can easily incorporate more pleasantly chilled water rather than just lukewarm.

Cold Water Helps Exercise Performance

Athletes have long recognized the benefits of cold water for physical performance:

  • Drinking cold water pre-exercise lowers your starting core body temperature, allowing more heat absorption before overheating.
  • Icy water cools the mouth and throat, providing welcome relief that makes panting easier during intensity.
  • Frequent small cold water ingestion mid-workout maintains hydration levels better than room temperature guzzling.
  • The mental refreshment and rejuvenation from cold water has positive psychology benefits on perceived exertion and motivation.
  • Post-exercise, icy water helps rapidly cool hyperthermic overheated body temperature back to normal.

Tap into cold water’s athletic advantages by staying well-chilled before, during and after workouts and competition.

Cold Water for Injury Treatment

Icy water also plays a therapeutic role treating aches and injuries through cold-mediated vasoconstriction:

  • Constricting blood vessels reduces circulation to an injury site, lessening hemorrhage, swelling, and inflammation that exacerbate tissue damage.
  • The numbing cold sensation distracts from pain naturally through gate control pain modulation in the nervous system.
  • Early cold water immersion for acute injuries limits the extent of damage by inhibiting cellular necrosis, apoptosis, and free radical release.
  • For stubborn chronic injuries like osteoarthritis, frequent cold stimulation may gradually retrain circulation to affected areas.

While most effective immediately after an injury, cold hydration helps mitigate damage and discomfort hours after as well.

Cold Water Improves Cognitive Performance

Fascinatingly, icy water positively impacts brain function too according to emerging research:

  • Cold water ingestion activates the vagus nerve which stimulates release of neurotransmitters associated with alertness.
  • The plunge in oral and gastric temperatures from drinking cold fluid sends alerts to the brain activating attention and focus.
  • Thermoreceptors stimulated by cold are thought to arouse areas like the locus coeruleus implicated in arousal, problem solving, and memory.
  • Thermic hydration drainage from blood diverted to the gut may induce compensatory activation of brain blood flow.

While not profoundly nootropic, the various nervous system effects combine to provide a subtle cognitive boost from chilling brain and body.

Cold Water Offsets Dehydration Headaches

If you’re prone to headaches, cold water can counteract under-hydration issues:

  • Headaches often result from blood vessel constriction in the brain triggered by hormone changes and reduced fluid volume from dehydration.
  • Drinking cold water reverses this vasoconstriction, opening up vessels that typically narrow during headache episodes.
  • The chilled sensation additionally numbs irritation of nearby cranial nerves linked to various headache types.
  • For exercise-induced headaches, the cold helps reduce inflammation and core temperature elevations.

So next time a headache hits, drink up an icy glass – the best cure may be right in your kitchen!

Cold Water Can Support Weight Loss

We’ve covered how icy water provides a few extra calories burned here and there. But the benefits extend further:

  • Very cold water requires more energy for your body to bring up to temperature – drinking 2 cups burns around 24-50 extra calories.
  • The increase in metabolic expenditure from consistent cold water creates up to a 5% daily increase in passive calorie use.
  • Cold water chills the roof of the mouth which may curb food intake and overeating by up to 40% for a period of time.
  • The pressor effect and increased blood flow elevate overall metabolism and fat burning temporarily.

While no magic bullet, optimizing routine water temperature offers an easy assist to rev up calorie expenditure and eating discipline.

Cold Water Boosts Lymphatic Drainage

The lymphatic system lacks a pump, instead relying on muscular actions and hydration for flow. Here’s where cold water assists:

  • Constriction and dilation from drinking cold water essentially massages lymphatic vessels, stimulating flow.
  • This circulates lymph more efficiently, draining stagnant proteins, antigens and fluids building up in tissues.
  • Cold also provokes a diuretic effect, providing filtration assistance to reduce lymphatic burden.
  • Some theorize frequent cold exposure may induce lymphatic adaptation, although robust evidence remains limited currently.

Nonetheless, a boost of cold hydration promotes critical lymphatic drainage and flow to support immune function.

Maximizing The Cold Water Effect

To make the most of cold water’s benefits:

  • Add crushed ice and periodically swirl drinks to maintain maximal chill while consuming
  • Use insulated bottles and chill packs that keep cold water optimally icy for hours
  • Infuse bottles with fruits like berries and citrus to mask extremely low temps
  • Don’t guzzle ice water immediately. Allow it to gradually warm in your mouth and throat at first.
  • Rotate room temperature hydration as well if you find very cold water disagreeable hourly
  • Stay hydrated overall to provide ample fluid that can be chilled

Harnessing the advantages of cold water depends on finding the ideal tolerable temperature for you and drinking sufficient volumes overall. Don’t force yourself to shiver – cold should be invigorating!

Avoid Downsides of Extremely Cold Water

While salutary cold water provides advantages, using caution with freezing sources:

  • Allow very icy water a few minutes to warm up slightly before consuming – intense cold interferes with fluid absorption.
  • Insulate sensitive teeth from thermal shock that can damage enamel – don’t chomp ice cubes. Use straws and let acclimate in mouth.
  • Intense icy drinks can provoke headaches in those sensitive – moderate cold levels as needed.
  • If you find cold water disagreeable, rely more on room temperature hydration to avoid discouraging drinking.

The aim is plentiful hydration volume overall, regardless of precise temperature. Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Higher Quality Cold Water Sources

While tap water can easily be chilled, higher quality sources provide better tasting hydration:

Filtered Water – Using pitchers or under-sink systems like PUR and Brita removes off-tastes from municipal sources, making water more palatable when icy.

Spring Water – Naturally sourced from underground springs, bottled options like Evian provide crisp flavor when chilled.

Artesian Water – Water derived from tapped pressurized aquifers provides uniquely smooth texture. Brands like Fiji excel when cold.

Reverse Osmosis – Multi-stage RO filtration from systems like Artic Refresh maximizes purity and taste.

Sparkling Water – The lively bubbles and tartness of seltzers like Pellegrino offer zest when served frosty.

The more contaminant-free and pleasant-tasting you find your water, the more likely you are to drink adequate volumes consistently.

Why Artic Refresh Water is the Best Icy Cold Choice

To make it easy and affordable to add more cold high-quality water into your daily routine, rely on Artic Refresh filtration:

  • Advanced 5-Stage Filtration – Our reverse osmosis process removes impurities down to 0.0001 microns for pure taste.
  • Chilled Dispensers – Our machines chill water down to a refreshing 40°F temperature for that perfect icy sensation.
  • Convenient Public Locations – Our units located at gyms, offices, stores, parks, and events put icy cold water where you need it!
  • Reusable Bottle Refills – Just bring your container to our machines and get custom cold water amounts without waste.
  • Self-Service Operation – Our touchless payment system lets you get chilled filtered water easily anytime.
  • Affordable Price – Just $0.25-$0.50 cents per gallon, cheaper than bottled water!

Stock up on Artic Refresh premium water to make the healthy habit of drinking optimally chilled fluids easy and sustainable for your lifestyle.

FAQ About Cold Water Consumption

What temperature provides maximum benefits when drinking cold water?

Ideally 38°-45°F to receive enough chill without overly numbing tastebuds. But anything colder than room temperature tap water boosts advantages.

Does ice water really burn extra calories?

Yes, the thermic effect of drinking 50°F or colder water does burn 10-12 extra calories as your body warms it closer to internal 37°C body temperature.

Is cold water good for you when sick?

Usually best to avoid extremely icy temperatures when congested or feverish. However, moderately cool water can soothe sore throats and overheated symptoms.

Can putting hands and feet in cold water help you sleep?

Yes, rapid heat exchange from peripheral cold exposure tricks the brain that body temperature is dropping, inducing drowsiness and sleep onset.

Does drinking cold water reduce inflammation in the body?

Some preliminary research indicates routine cold exposure may prompt subtle anti-inflammatory immune responses. But direct evidence remains limited thus far.

Where can you conveniently fill up with cold filtered water around Austin?

Artic Refresh water vending machines located around Austin chill freshly reverse osmosis purified water down to 40°F for refreshing icy hydration anytime.

Don’t just tolerate water temperature – seek out and embrace brisk, bracing hydration to stimulate your senses and maximize health. Stay refreshed!