Water Temperature Affects Digestion – Here’s How

Lifestyle

| LAST UPDATE 05/09/2022

By Lia Thomson
water temperature digestion tips
Ian Waldie / Staff via Getty Images

Ayurveda is an ancient medical practice that originated in India, focusing on holistic treatments. According to the belief, the temperature of our water (and food) can influence the systems in our body - especially digestion. And, of course, no one wants bad digestion, so let's take a deeper look into how hot or cold fluids can impact your body...

Ayurvedic practitioners believe that cold liquids are a big no-no. This is because the internal temperature inside us is warm, so by sending in a contrasting degree, things can get complicated. Ayurveda expert Mira Manek explained, "If you drink water that's about the same temperature as your body, you're not disrupting the body's optimal state or interfering with food absorption." Warm water keeps a balance in our internal systems. "Warm water is easier to digest because it's closer to the temperature of your internal organs," added Ayurvedic expert Sahara Rose.

warm water temperature digestion
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So what exactly happens if we do put a few ice cubes in our water? "Cold liquid actually slows down the entire digestive system by constricting blood flow to the stomach and intestines and slowing enzyme secretion, which in turn can cause lymphatic stagnation and a slower metabolism," revealed Surya Spa founder Martha Soffer. "Room temperature and warm water, however, have the opposite effect, helping increase circulation to your digestive system, and stimulating your 'agni', or digestive fire." In Ayurvedic practice, the "agni" should be strong, because that means you are healthy. But a weak "agni" leads to a weakened digestive system because the food in the gut doesn't get broken down properly. This, unfortunately, can lead to an abundance of a toxin called "ama" growing. According to internist and integrative medicine doctor Charles Elder, this can leads to illnesses.

There have also been some scientific studies conducted on the effects of warm temperature liquids. In one research posted by Pub-Med, they tracked 60 individuals' bowel movements who had recently undergone abdominal surgery and they found that hotter drinks can improve the process of the gut. So, while this isn't conclusive enough evidence, we would suggest opting for room temperature water over an ice-cold cup of H20...

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