REAL TALK: The truth about ice water according to Chinese Medicine.
Hear me out. I talk about this all the time with my patients especially those who deal with digestive issues, fatigue, chronic pain, and even menstrual disorders.
In Chinese Medicine, your digestive processes are governed by the Spleen & Stomach where Qi & nutrients are extracted from our food & drink to nourish the body.
If you think of this system as a cooking pot over a flame, ideally you would need heat/fire (aka digestive fire) to “cook” the food. The Spleen & Stomach thrives with warmth but can be weakened by cold.
Now, I don't want you to think that drinking one glass of ice water is going to break your digestion. It’s important to remember that everything is about balance and too much (overconsumption, frequency, etc.) of one thing is where problems can happen.
Getting back to topic of iced water, which is of course cold. On a hot day, it feels refreshing and is probably appropriate to consume. But consistently drinking cold drinks (water, tea, coffee, soda, etc.) over time and not eating warming food & drink to balance that out, can dampen your digestive fire.
Eventually, this can lead to the onset or aggravation of digestive issues such as bloating, distention, & loose stools. Not fun.
An example is eating a cold salad + sushi and washing it down with a cold drink. Both food and drink are cold, which can be a bad combination for your Spleen & Stomach. (Food temp combinations is a topic for another day).
If you're a cold-type constitution or already have symptoms indicative of cold stagnation (in Chinese Medicine), you may also begin to experience other symptoms such as cold hands & feet, poor circulation, low energy, increased pain or stiffness, or gynecological issues such as painful periods to name a few.
I also have to point out the importance of recognizing HOW your own body reacts when you drink iced water (or any food & drink for that matter). For example: Do I feel refreshed, or do you feel chilled? Does your stomach feel upset or gurgly? Do you find yourself having to immediately run to the restroom for #2 after a meal? I talk about this body awareness with my patients regularly.
In general, avoid iced or cold water and iced beverages, especially in the cooler months of the year. Instead, opt for room temperature, warm water, or hot water to drink. Hot tea is great, too!
So, here's my challenge to you:
The next time you’re at a restaurant (adhering to safety protocols of course), ask for water with no ice.
When you're at home or work, drink room temp H2O and avoid adding ice.
Try it for a few days, see how you feel, and let me know how it goes.
Share or save this post as an easy #feelwellathome health tip. 😘
- 𝐷𝑟. 𝐿𝑒𝑠𝑙𝑒𝑦
P.S. - Digestive health (and simply helping you feel well) is my jam.
To find out how I can help you, schedule a free 20 minute online health consultation to learn more.