There's nothing quite like a glass of ice water to cool down with on a summer's day, but after reading the following information, you might want to think twice before reaching for the ice tray. When I first came across this information, it shocked me, but I thought that it was a highly relevant thing to share with you - these hidden dangers of drinking ice water aren't very well-known. Here they are:
1. Upsets Digestion
Drinking ice water can lead to stomach upsets, abdominal pain, gurgling and nausea. This is because cold temperatures are anti-inflammatory, therefore blood vessels retract. Another side effect of ingesting ice water is that the stomach contracts and becomes too tight to be able to process food efficiently.
2. Saps Energy
While drinking ice water can make you feel refreshed and stimulate you in the short term, it actually serves to drain your energy in the long run. This is because your body has to use extra energy to warm up the water and bring it up to its average temperature.
3. Irritates Throat
Just as a cold winter's day can give you a runny nose and block up your sinuses, ice water creates the same bodily response. In other words, your body creates mucus as a natural humidifier to warm any ingested cold air or liquid. The difference is that in the case of ice water, this bodily response is unneeded, and it results in extra mucus accumulating in your pipes, thus making your throat sore.
4. Slows Heart Rate
Drinking ice water can cause your heart rate to drop. This is because the vagus nerve, which runs down the back of your neck, is affected by a sudden ingestion of cold water. As an emergency measure, your heart slows down until your body temperature reaches equilibrium once again.
5. Hinders Hydration
As aforementioned in previous points on this list, drinking ice water actually slows down your body's rehydration process, rather than speeding it up. This is because the body needs to bring it up to temperature first before it can use it. The only exception to this rule is long distance runners, who appear to benefit from the delayed response mechanism for maintaining water levels when they're on a long run.
Although drinking water that's at room temperature helps the digestive process, drinking ice water has the potential to cause constipation. Food solidifies and hardens as it passes through the body, while at the same time making intestines contract, which can lead to difficulty when you need to "go".
If you're familiar with "brain-freeze", which you get as a result of eating an ice cream or lolly, then you should know that ice water can do the same thing. It chills many sensitive nerves in the spine, and they immediately relay messages to your brain, which in turn causes headaches.
8. It can lead to extra fat
The weight loss tip for drinking lots of cold water to force the body into doing more work and thus burn more calories isn't completely true. This is because cold temperatures in the body cause fats to harden and congeal, making them harder for the body to digest.