At this point, it’s probably old news that staying adequately hydrated with pure water is critical to good health. You might even know that proper hydration’s benefits are as far-reaching as supporting proper joint and muscle function, achieving and maintaining supple skin, cleansing your body on the inside and out and so much more. Many people believe that drinking ice water is actually counterproductive to health, and that it can pose risks. While there are certain conditions that might be aggravated by drinking ice-cold water (more on this in a moment), newer research suggests that drinking ice-cold water can actually boost autophagy in more ways than one.
Improved Glucose Metabolism
A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism found that human exposure to extremely cold temperatures has a positive impact on activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT, otherwise known as brown fat). Brown fat’s primary purpose is to burn calories in order to generate heat in the body and is often referred to as “good fat” since it burns rather than stores fat. While further research is needed, this finding is promising in being able to incorporate simple daily practices like drinking ice cold water (and perhaps cold showers) in order to improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, both of which work to support the work of autophagy.
Boosted Weight Loss
Aside from the fact that drinking water of any temperature can support weight loss since we often mistake thirst for hunger, ice-cold water, in particular, can increase your calorie burn. This is because your body is required to work harder to maintain its core temperature. Enjoying an ice-cold glass of water and taking a cold shower have a similar metabolism-boosting effect. The extra calorie burn from drinking ice water isn’t any huge number, but every little bit adds up if weight loss is one of your goals.
Better Workouts and Recovery
While increasing the heat factor of your workouts by turning up the temperature and/or wearing extra layers of clothing can boost autophagy, drinking ice cold water can also keep your body from overheating, therefore making your exercise session more successful. Post-workout, studies show that soaking in an ice cold bath can reduce sore muscles by up to 20%, as it combats muscle stiffness, swelling and inflammation.
We all strive for glowing skin, and ice-cold water can help. Aside from just drinking your ice water, consider splashing a little on your face for an instant shine. Cold water causes blood to rush to the surface of your skin, giving you a healthy and natural glow.
If you’re fighting a cold or flu, drinking cold water could make you feel worse. Research shows that this is because cold water can cause your nasal mucous to become thicker and harder to pass through the respiratory tract. When you’re under the weather, stick with a hot nourishing bone or vegetable broth and save the ice-cold water for when your body is back up and running. While not conclusive, one study in people suffering from migraines suggested that drinking ice-cold water could trigger a migraine. Another (rarer) condition negatively affected by cold water is achalasia, which impacts your body’s ability to properly pass food through the esophagus.
Interestingly, in many cultures around the world and their respective practices of medicine (including Chinese medicine), the combining of hot and cold foods and beverages is thought to be damaging to your health. Even though this theory is more anecdotal than research-based, some people prefer to drink their cold water alone, or at least away from other hot foods and drinks.
To sum it up, incorporating ice water into your daily routine can boost your metabolism, burn a few extra calories, improve insulin sensitivity and your workouts, not to mention give a natural and fresh glow to your skin. Since improved insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism will naturally set us up for the work of autophagy, drinking ice cold water fits in perfectly with your Glow15 lifestyle.
I enjoy starting every day with a 16-ounce glass of ice cold water. Not only does this help immensely to keep you hydrated, but it jump-starts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories throughout the day. Give it a try, as it just might become one of your new favorite tools in your Glow15 toolbox.