“No Ice, Please!” ….”No ice?!? But…it is so hot and humid, how else are you going to cool off?”
No ice? Really? It seems like it is our right to have ice in that cup of water, soda, cold coffee, or cocktail. However, if you have visited other corners of the world, you might have encountered places where you actually need to ask for ice. In many cases, you might not get it at all.
Why do Americans love their drinks with ice? And why, for example, do people in Europe and Asia go without? Just like any food and drink discussion, the factors of culture, history, and economy become entangled. Perhaps, since it takes lot of electricity to make ice, it was a luxury in earlier days. It might just be that we wanted the bigger and better cup and ice is just a filler. Could it be that in Asia, the tap water is preferably boiled first? Or in Europe, they just might not want to dilute their beverages? Maybe it has nothing to do with any of that, after all…
Eastern traditional healing systems have their own perspective; According to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine, iced cold drinks and foods:
- Lower stomach temperature and slow down digestion. This leads to indigestion and may lead to weight gain. Western science has found that digestive enzymes are thought to survive in limited temperature range;
- Affects the taste buds and ability to taste the flavors;
- Can lead to imbalance in body temperature resulting in cold hands and feet, weak appetite, poor digestion, abdominal pain, bloating, painful menses in women, varicose veins, loose stools, weight gain, chronic fatigue, depression, arthritic pain or chronic pain.
- Iced cold water is harder to absorb (due to your body having to warm it up before absorption), therefore room temperature or warm water is preferable for optimal hydration.
It is clear the body has to use more energy to metabolize foods and drinks that are below 37 degree Celsius, or 98.6 Fahrenheit. We have all heard that drinking iced cold water burns more calories and therefore supports weight loss. However, Eastern wisdom teaches that in long term this might lower digestion metabolism and actually end in weight gain.
Are any of the imbalances mentioned above familiar? A simple switch from ice cold to warm beverages for a week will give you a great insight on how your body feels about this.
Give it a try – skip the ice!