HOW CAN EATING COLD FOOD HURT US?
With the summer season underway (although this year the weather is a bit manic!!), our eating habits are changing somewhat. In the summer, eating cold food to cool down always seems more appealing than the option of a hot soup so welcome in the fall.
I had the idea to write this little article because many of my patients ask me about this and are often surprised by the results of these small changes in their diet.
I am not talking about acupuncture, but diet is also an integral part of the five branches of Chinese medicine and has a great influence on some of the symptoms for which people generally consult.
So for some people, eating cold food on a regular basis can cause symptoms such as
diarrhea or constipation
belching, borborygms (noises made by the stomach and intestines between meals)
tiredness after meals
physical fatigue, heavy limbs
persistent and sticky mucus in the throat
Why do these symptoms occur? The mechanics of the problem are simple: Cold.
First, the temperature at which we eat food can affect our ability to digest it. Cold, by its nature, slows down, contracts.
From a mechanical point of view, the stomach is made to be acidic and warm. Its job is to deconstruct food into simpler molecules so that the intestines can absorb nutrients efficiently. These chemical transformations are more easily accomplished in the heat.
So when it is given cold content, it has to work twice as hard. It must first warm up the food and then start to digest it.
It goes without saying that this way of eating is not very good in the long run. In fact, the cold food stagnates in the stomach and stays there a little too long, sometimes even until the next meal. The food can then ferment and cause bloating, gas, burping, etc.
Fatigue after eating is usually a sign that the stomach is working too hard. It may be the amount of food in the stomach that is too much and the temperature of the food.
So basically, a few things to consider about the food point of view in Chinese dietetics:
If eating something cold, consider bringing in an external heat element before, during or after the meal. This will greatly help digestion and the stomach will not have to produce this heat. We are thinking here of a small soup, tea, herbal tea, etc.
Drinking a large amount of liquid while eating, such as a cold drink with ice, may impair digestion by cooling the food bowl and diluting the gastric juices. Limiting the amount of fluid taken in with meals can help digestion in some cases.
So if you suffer from any of the above symptoms, try this little trick. Drink a small herbal tea after your meal, eat a small soup with your salad.
Within a week or two you will undoubtedly see an improvement in your symptoms.
Acupuncture used in conjunction with healthy eating habits works very well for these types of problems. Sometimes a small change makes a big difference.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, it will be my pleasure to take the time to answer you.
Have a great summer!
Patrick Dugas, Acupuncturist Ac.
Plateau and NDG
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