Is eating cold food bad for you? This might totally blow your mind: you may not be eating as healthfully as your body requires. 

Consuming too many cold type foods can lead to some unwanted symptoms such as paleness, diarrhea, constipation, and an overall feeling of coldness or ache, or unwell systems so it is very important to maintain balance.

Please consult your TCM practitioner to confirm what you should avoid, and if your body belongs to the avoid cold food type.

Food is Medicine, Medicine is Food

The ancient clans of China, dating back to 2200 BC, started to discover the different medical values of herbs while they were still hunting and gathering. Some foods relieved illness, some caused death. Over time, and in concourse with the growth of Chinese philosophy, medical theories were developed.

However, there are also some foods that are considered more “medicine” than “food,” for example, ginseng. When it comes to this “medicine,” a person should consult a practitioner, since eating it could make your body worse. Why? Foods have different natures, and all of us have different bodies that interact differently with different foods.

“Food choices are affected by your body’s construction, the season and the place where you live”. The condition of the body could also be affected by age and sex. In other words, Chinese medical practitioners adapt their recommendations to different conditions.

Each type of food, depending on its nature, might better or worsen the situation. “There is no substance which is good for anybody. Many consider ginger to be healthy, but when you are already a very dry person and you have so much heat in your body, the more ginger tea you drink, the drier you get.

Basic Idea

Eat according to season – For each different season, eat different food. For example, in winter you should not eat watermelon, because watermelon only grows in the summer naturally.

Climate also matters – like our area (Alexandria, Ontario) is often damp and humid, so we should eat hot/spicy food. When you go to countries that are very dry, then the spicy food is not a good choice.

Finding the balance – what should be avoided? Every food is nutritious, and as long as a healthy person doesn’t eat too much of any one food, nothing is unhealthy. Never take extremes, and have food that is in a moderate temperature (eat what your body needs of cold food or warm food, so as to avoid straining the digestive organs).

The Role of the Spleen and Stomach

The process of digestion is related to both the spleen and stomach Qi (energy). The stomach’s role is to receive the food and ripen it prior to sending only the purest part to the spleen for metabolising. Any impure portions of food are routed to the small intestine. Once the spleen receives food, its job is to transform it and transport the nutrients. Once transformed, those nutrients are routed to the heart and lungs to be turned into blood and Qi.

Warm food can help the body have yang energy to help the spleen and stomach with the process of digestion. Eating too much cold food can lead to the body always working to create yang energy, but unable to proceed ripening nutrition to whole body.

If there is weakness in the spleen due to lack of spleen Qi or yang, this can lead to dampness. When that dampness is not properly cleared, the result is the accumulation of phlegm and blood/Qi (energy) stasis. This phlegm and blood/Qi (energy) stasis leads to additional unwanted symptoms such as obesity and heart disease.

Why is Coldness a Potential Problem?

When spleen deficiency is present, coldness and dampness are often associated symptoms. However, these are not the only negative side effects to the over-consumption of cold foods. A few examples include:

Impact on blood circulation: When yang is cooled, the body struggles to dispel coldness. When the appropriate channels are not properly warmed, blood circulation can worsen.

Results in blood stasis: Coldness may lead to blood stasis syndrome. For some, this may result in abdominal lumps or other conditions such as rheumatism.

Can worsen pain conditions: The dampness brought on by cold foods has been shown to exacerbate the muscle aches and pains associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Difficult to lose weight: When the body does not receive an appropriate combination of foods, the result can be difficulty in shedding unwanted pounds and even weight gain. This is due to the impact that cold foods have on the function of the spleen.

Indigestion: Since coldness can lead to dampness and the accumulation of phlegm, eating cold foods, like raw veggies and fruits, can lead to indigestion since such foods can be difficult to digest. A lot of energy is needed to digest cold foods since the digestive system must work extra hard to bring those cold foods up to the appropriate temperature.

Over-consumption of Cold Foods in Women

Eating too many cold foods can lead to reproductive issues in women. Without an appropriate number of warm foods, women may experience menstrual cramps. Excessive coldness can also result in irregular periods. Since coldness can cause blood stagnation, this can lead to endometriosis, cysts, and uterine fibroids. Poor circulation may also have the negative effect of impeding fertility.

Bottom Line

Is eating cold food bad for you? As you have now learned, there can be many negative side effects that come along with eating cold foods due to an increase in dampness and phlegm. When the spleen is unable to properly route nutrients, some people may suffer from aches, pains, weight gain, poor circulation, and fertility issues. Therefore, avoid drinking cold beverages and eating raw vegetables. Instead, warming foods in Chinese Medicine are what you should consume more, they include organic meats and soups.