The average internal body temperature of a healthy child or adult is around 37 degrees Celsius. If this temperature is raised by two degrees, the body shows clear signs of distress that we call a “fever”.
TCM suggests we create the complete opposite effect in the body when we constantly drink iced, refrigerated, or even room temperature fluids.
However, signs of distress do not show up in the body as easily as a fever, but instead occur over many years, first affecting the metabolism and digestion before displaying negative effects with the health of other organs.
In TCM, drinking cold includes any fluids less than 37 degrees Celsius, and creates the basis for unwanted symptoms, pain and chronic diseases to develop.
With this in mind, consider the below reasons to regularly drink WARM (37 – 55 Celsius) to HOT (55 – 75 Celsius) water (but not so hot to cause sweating or burn your tongue/throat).
1. Helps preserve and protect the internal organs, and promotes the smooth flow of blood circulation.
Drinking refrigerated or cold fluids is like putting your organs into a freezer. Cold has the ability to contract, slow and shrink. When it comes to our bodies, cold blocks the meridian channels, slows and even congeals blood circulation, and reduces organ functioning to less than optimal ability.
A “brain freeze” from drinking cold or iced drinks is a clear example of this principle.
2. Remedies internal cold patterns of disharmony.
Drinking cold can lead to an imbalance in our internal body temperature.
Clinically, this may lead to internal cold syndrome, which may present as:
Cold hands and feet, Raynaud’s phenomenon, painful menses in women, varicose veins, weak appetite, poor digestion, abdominal pain, bloating, loose stools, weight gain, chronic fatigue, depression, arthritic pain or chronic pain.
While eating hot spicy foods (especially ginger, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg) may sometimes resolve internal cold, drinking sufficient hot water is the simplest remedy.
3. Relieves many different types of symptoms.
Did you know, drinking room temperature and iced water does not properly cool the body! It often only leads to cold interior that pushes internal heat to the body’s surface, or to a pattern of lower cold (in the abdomen) and upper heat (in the chest). Resulting symptoms can include hot chest, headaches, restless sleep, hotness or sweating at night, irritability, thirst, low energy, sluggish digestion, abdominal gas or cramps, and loose stools.
Simply drinking warm/hot water on a regular basis can help relieve many of these symptoms.
4. Saves the body from wasting energy.
Organs cannot immediately metabolize fluids that are below 37 degree Celsius core body temperature. This includes 22 degrees room temperature water. So the body is forced to work harder, wasting energy in order to make cold drinks warm enough for the body to use. This energy could have been better spent on healing illness, increasing immunity, etc.
5. Controls appetite while simultaneously protecting organ functions and increasing energy level.
Drinking cold or room temperature water suppresses appetite because it contracts the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract causing sluggish digestion. It also causes the body to burn more calories than drinking warm because the body has to work harder to maintain its core body temperature. These are often the reasons why many weight loss programs say drinking cold water helps with weight loss.
From a TCM view, the resulting sustained contraction and reduced circulation from drinking only cold damages the digestive organs, leading to weight gain and digestive disorders in the long term.
6. Helps keep your organs hydrated and functioning optimally.
Dehydration of organs can occur from long-term drinking cold/cool water. As the cold contracts and slows organ functioning, many people unconsciously become averse to drinking water because they drink cold.
Dehydration may not show up however until you start to drink warm or hot after years of drinking cold or room temperature water. Then you may feel even more thirsty after drinking warm as the internal organs are activated to “wake up” from their cold-induced sleep.
7. After physical exercise, helps to properly balance the body’s external and internal body temperature.
Drinking room temperature or iced water after exercise tends to shock the organs and does not aid in helping the body to properly and naturally cool down. This is because during exercise, internal body heat moves to the body’s surface causing sweating and hot exterior sensations, while in fact the interior has become cooler.
So drinking cold aggravates the already-cold interior. Alternatively, drinking warm is recommended (but be sure to drink water that isn’t so hot as to create more sweating), so the body’s surface cools down naturally, and the interior organs are protected by the warm fluids.
8. For children and adults with stomach-aches or constipation, drinking plenty of warm water is the #1 easiest and healthiest solution.
Boil filtered water and drink hot/warm. For flavour, add lemon juice and/or honey to hot water, or use caffeine-free herbal teas. And when you eat out, don’t be shy to ask for hot water! Coffee, green and black teas do not count. Caffeinated drinks have a diuretic, not a hydrating effect.
In hot, tropical climates, the body’s Qi already flows more superficially than in those living in colder, damper climates. So it is often enough to drink body core temperature or warm (37 – 55 Celsius) as opposed to “hot” (tea temperature closer to 75 degrees).
9. For young children, their organs are delicate.
After consuming lots of cold foods (cold milk, ice cream, sandwiches, salads) and cold water/juices, their stoves become colder and colder, leading to all kinds of digestion problems, sinus problem, allergies, hay fever, asthma, etc.
10. Excessively drinking cold water also affects the development and physiological functions of the reproductive system.
For young ladies, it can cause menstrual cramps, menstrual disorders & excessive discharge. Over accumulation of cold creates a “chilled palace” which is an extremely cold uterus, ovaries, ovarian tube & leads to overgrowth of dampness (CANDIDA, PARASITES), fibroids, ovarian cysts, tumours, dysmenorrhea, infertility.
Some extra handy tips:
First off, sit down to drink (just as you should sit down to eat).
Take sips, not full-glass chugs. Small sip, swallow, breathe. Repeat.
Sip water throughout the day. If you chug too much water at once your body doesn’t actually absorb all of it. Most of it will run right through you.
Drink at least room temperature water. Warm is even better. Cold and iced water literally douse the digestive fire.
Only sip a small amount of water with your meals. If you drink too much while you eat, your belly won’t have enough room for digestive action. Remember this rule: fill your stomach 50% with food, 25% with water, and leave 25% empty for the digestive juices and process. If you can not drink fluids at all while eating that's even better!
To avoid drinking too much during meals an to ensure you are hydrated when eating drink a glass of water 20 -30 mins before your meal.
For the same reason, don’t drink loads of water before or after your meals. Fill 50% with food, 25% with water, and leave 25% empty.
Drink when you’re thirsty. Thirst is a natural urge that should be heeded. It means your body needs water.
As far as how much, we’re all different sizes with varied diets and lifestyles. One set rule of eight glasses a day simply can not apply to everyone. Naturally, the miraculous human body has it’s own built-in measuring system: thirst. If you’re thirsty, drink water. When you listen to thirst cues and sip water throughout the day you’ll be drinking the right amount.
Your urine is another indication to know if you’re amply hydrated. It should be fairly clear and straw coloured. If it is dark yellow you may need to drink more.
To determine if this tip could improve your health, simply experiment with it for 5 to 15 days, paying close attention to, and listening to how your body responds.
If you are struggling with any health complaints that you just can’t get on top of it is best to seek at your local preferred health professional and get the assistance that is needed!
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