If you are addicted to ice cream, cocktails, or frozen fruit smoothies, you may want to find healthier alternatives — and not just because of their sugar content.

It turns out that eating cold food, especially ice cold food, is bad for your digestion as your body needs to warm it up in order to process and absorb it; moreover, too much cold food can lead to poor circulation and, in turn, tiredness and brain fog.

In today’s article we are going to have a look at the three main reasons you should avoid cold food — even during the summer — as well as some simple tips to feel refreshed and cool down your body without disrupting the digestive process.

Let’s begin.

Eating cold food is bad for digestion

Our stomach has a temperature of 36.7 degree Celsius — about 100 degree Fahrenheit. When you ingest food or drinks that are much colder, your body experiences a shock, and has to spend more energy to process and absorb what you just ate.

You may have noticed that when you eat ice cold food your digestion is slower, as the body has to heat up the food in order to digest it properly. In some cases, you may even have stomach pains and loose motions.

Even Ayurveda, one of the oldest healing systems in the world, recommends you avoid cold food, and drink warm liquids to facilitate the digestive process and improve your overall health. Now, I get it: some foods are supposed to be eaten cold, such as dessert; but you can still let them warm up a bit before you consume them, rather than eating them straight from the fridge.

Eating cold food may lead to poisoning

In general, food is best prepared right before you want to eat it. If, for whatever reason, you need to prepare a meal then eat it hours later, then you must keep it hot (for instance, in an oven) or cold (at 8 degree Celsius or colder).

If you let your meals cool down for too long, you may be at risk of food poisoning. For example, if you let rice or pasta become cold, then eat it, you risk food poisoning because of the harmful bacteria that will have grown on them. Similarly, if you are reheating food, check it’s steaming hot to make sure bacteria have been killed.

Another thing you want to keep in mind is that some foods taste a lot better when they are warm; and while I am sure you wouldn’t eat warm ice cream — some dishes such as rice or meat can lose freshness, quality, and flavor when they cool down.

Eating cold food leads to poor circulation

According to traditional Chinese medicine, eating too many cold foods can lead to poor blood circulation which, in turn, can cause many health issues. If your blood flow isn’t optimal, you may experience cold extremities, lack of energy, dry skin, and even brain fog. You may also notice a decrease in pain tolerance and increased symptoms if you have chronic pain conditions.

We are all different, and some people may find that even when they eat a lot of cold food, their circulation does not change much. But in general, it is recommended that you give your body hot food as often as possible so it stays warm (even during the summer) and it digests food properly.

Useful tips

It’s important to realize that eating cold food once in a while won’t affect your health in any way, however do make sure it doesn’t become a habit, and stay away from ice cold food. Remember, our body is warm, and is supposed to consume food that has a similar temperature.

If you really like cold drinks, then it would be best to drink them on their own; if consumed with meals, they can affect the digestive process. When you eat food, stick to warm liquids, and ideally drink those before you eat.

During the summer, or whenever it’s hot outside, you may be tempted to consume cold food to cool your body down, but as explained earlier, it’s probably not a good idea. Instead, try adding mint to your water, or eat your meals with refreshing spices such as:

  • Cilantro
  • Cardamom
  • Turmeric
  • Coriander

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