Discover how can eating hot and cold energy foods help your health?
Everyone feels that by eating many raw fruits and vegetables their bodies will miraculously be in perfect health. There is much more to it than eating your 5 a day! Many people don’t even focus on the fact that raw fruits actually contain a lot of sugar (even though this is naturally occurring, it still spikes blood sugar levels) . Each food you eat has a specific warming or cooling or neutral property which affects your body, your digestive and metabolic system. Eating lots of raw vegetables too can also cause a bodily imbalance, but why?
How do hot and cold energy foods impact our body?
Every person has a different bodily makeup, and each food has different energies and effects on the body. In traditional medicine, each food can be considered a hot/warming food, a neutral or a cooling food.
Each food has an impact on the heating and cooling of our body which effects our digestive and metabolic system. What is essentially good for one person may not be so beneficial for another person. In the social media and internet fad where everyone follows the next best health drink, or food, without considering their own body type and how it effects them.
My juicing experience
I remember at one point, I went onto the raw beetroot, celery and carrot and apple fad. Every morning, without fail, I would peel a raw beetroot and add the other vegetables and whizz it into my juicer.
However, after a while of this daily juice, I started to feel really cold inside, I would be wearing a sweater in the house, while everyone around me was feeling warm. I also started to feel depleted and tired, energy-wise. I also started to get a dry and hoarse throat, which made me lose my voice when I would wake up in the mornings. It was only after some time I realised it was because of the juicing. I realised that the whole, raw, uncooked beetroot was too powerful for my body and I was overconsuming it. The beetroot was making my throat dry and I probably developed a slight allergy to its overconsumption. The coldness I was feeling in my body, was the effect of the celery. The juice was actually cooling down my body, more than I needed and hence my depleted energy.
I am not saying this juice shouldn’t be drunk, but for me personally and my own body, it didn’t help me to consume this daily. Now and again I drink this juice, but I add ginger for warming and also cut down on the amount of beetroot and celery. Now I use a Nutribullet, instead of a juicer, to keep in the fibre and I vary the ingredients daily.
I first came across TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), when I started going to acupuncture for back pain relief after giving birth to my first child. As the acupuncturist looked at my tongue and took my kidney pulse and saw certain ailments just by these observations. However, that is a story for another time.
Not only are hot and cold foods significant in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but also in Traditional Islamic Medicine Hakeem’s use certain foods to help heal the body) and also in Ayurvedic Medicine.
Raw fruits and vegetables have a cooling energy
According to Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), eating raw foods and vegetables may promote a chill, feeling cold, abdominal pain, congestion and feeling tired and drained. We have all heard how we should eat an abundance of raw fruit and vegetables, but even this should be in moderation. By eating raw fruit and vegetables, your body needs more energy to break them down and absorb them. That’s why traditionally TCM doesn’t encourage drinking ice-cold water, as it depletes the energy in your body that can be used for other processes and for healing.
How much warm or cold foods should we eat according to TCM?
Every individual is different, so to know how much raw food you should be eating, as well as how much-cooked food you should be eating, depends on your own body.
Your geographical local also determines what type of foods are most beneficial and optimal for health, for example, if you live in a hot climate, or during a hot session.
During the colder and winter months, we should eat more warming foods and during the warmer weather, more cooling foods.
Some people also have an ability to handle more raw foods than others.
What does hot and cold food energy mean?
In TCM and Ayurveda, hot and cold foods are based on the internal nature of the food itself, cooking methods can also play a part.
The effect on the type of food we eat has effects on the three body types. Every individual falls into one of these types according to Ayurveda (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Each food has an impact on the body and either heats it or cools it, which in turn has an impact on our digestion and metabolism.
Sometimes we may think a food is cooling because it is cold such as ice-cream, but whether the food is hot or cold may denote it has a warming or cooling energy. For example, ice cream is cold to touch but is actually a warming food due to the fat content in ice-cream. Foods that contain more fat, protein and carbohydrates often heat the body a little while digesting them.
How to eat more warming foods:
Here are some suggestions to incorporate more warming foods into your diet.
Try preparing foods by steaming, stewing, and baking to keep in the nutrients.
Most cooling types of foods by cooking from coolest to warmest are: raw, fresh foods >>> dried foods>>> steamed food>>> sautéed foods>>> baked foods (most warm)
Drink warm, hot or room temperature drinks
Most people drink so much cold water, which can deplete the body’s energy. It is best to drink warm, hot or room temperature water.
Get enough protein
It is important to get a sufficient amount of protein in the body. Protein is a good source of heat and energy. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8h per kg of body weight daily. Protein also heats the body and is needed as a source of energy.
Most cooling to the most warming foods are: Fruit >> Vegetables>>’Root vegetables>>Grains>>Seeds>>>Nuts>>>Dairy, Meat and Seafood
Types of energy warming foods
There are many warming foods and spices that are energy warming foods.
- Garlic and ginger
- Spices such as nutmeg, cloves, Cayenne pepper, turmeric, cinnamon
- Black and white pepper
- Green onions
- Root vegetables such as squash, potatoes, turnip, radish, carrots
- Rice Milk
- Sunflower seeds, mustard seeds, caraway/black seeds
- Walnuts, pine nuts
- Rice wine or vinegar
- Green/red peppers
- Fruits such as oranges, mangoes and apples
- Herbs like basil, oregano, mint, chives, parsley and coriander
Root vegetables are warming and should be eaten during the winter season such as sweet potatoes, carrots, radish and turnips.
Types of Cold Energy Foods
- Fruits such as bananas, watermelons, kiwi, strawberries and apricots
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese, cream and yoghurt
- Soy products such as soy milk and tofu
- Some hot drinks such as green tea are actually cooling
- Vegetables such as tomato, mushrooms, asparagus, eggplants, lettuce are cold in nature
What happens when we eat too much warming or cooling foods?
Our body needs a balance, if we eat too many warming foods, it can lead to digestive issues, health issues and also skin issues such as spots and pimples.
Too many cold foods contribute to a delayed and sluggish digestive system, frequents coughs colds and flu.
I hope you have found this introduction to warming and cooling energy foods useful to implement in your diet. Please leave us a comment and subscribe to our email list, so you don’t miss a thing!
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