Sorry, but I may upset a few people here. It’s summer time, it’s hot outside, and you crave a nice ice-cold drink or smoothie to refresh you and stop you sweating! Well, one of the worst things you can do for your health, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, is to try and cool down with a refrigerated or frozen drink. Now, the body is very clever. If you give it something really cold to drink or eat, it thinks it must be winter time and that it’s freezing outside! So it immediately tries to insulate itself, get the body temperature up by contracting blood vessels to reduce heat loss – and actually slow down the cooling process thus creating the opposite effect of what you really want! The excess heat is now trapped inside you! In TCM the coldness of the drink weakens digestive fire, which long term causes dampness in the spleen. So now you have a damp heat condition which can lead to some or all of the following symptoms:
inability to lose weight
stiffness of joints
heaviness, the ”couch potato” effect
puffiness of the skin, especially in lymphatic areas
stiffness of joints
greasy tongue coating and bad breath
bloating and gas
irregular bowel conditions and/or diarrhea…….
….and I haven’t even mentioned unhappy kidneys (and all possible related conditions) that, as you know, are particularly vulnerable to the cold!
So what’s the answer? If you exercise regularly, have a good, balanced diet, and go to bed early getting plenty of proper rest, then you are less likely to suffer from any of the above problems. Again, it all goes back to the Chinese principle of moderation. Too much of anything is bad. When it comes to iced drinks however, what most people in the US think of as being not much would definitely be considered as excess in Asia. In Europe, the middle East and other parts of the world it is common to be served drinks, both alcoholic and non alcoholic, without ice and at room temperature
So next time you feel like reaching for a really cold glass of water or iced tea, or even a cold can of beer…..think twice!
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