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Why consuming cold foods can cause migraines and cramping – TCM perspective on cold foods

by / Friday, 16 June 2017 / Published in Article, TCM

By Robert Tan, R. TCMP, R. Ac, B. Sc


After the long winter we’ve just had, it’s nice to be able to finally experience some sunny outdoor patio weather! However, before you sink your teeth into that ice cold beer or ice cream cone, have you ever thought about the effects of cold foods on your body?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, temperature (cold vs hot) affects the functioning of your organs. The body prefers foods with temperatures close to body temperature, so foods should be consumed warm, or at least close to room temperature.  If you are in a habit of consuming cold foods (such as ice cream, ice water, cold beers, cold and raw vegetables), your body needs to spend extra energy warming up these foods during digestion, which is energy that the body normally needs to facilitate other vital functions.

The occasional cold dessert normally does not create a major issue, but continuously consuming cold foods over time will drain the body of its energy and cause too much coldness in the stomach, and your body will start to complain by exhibiting various symptoms, such as migraines, abdominal or menstrual cramps, diarrhea, constipation , etc, depending on where it is weak. If you are younger or if you have a naturally strong constitution, you body may be able to digest cold foods without any problems, but I’ve seen a lot of patients with various health issues caused just by eating too much cold food.



In fact, before I started studying TCM, I would get headaches whenever the weather changes or if it was a rainy day. After studying TCM and realizing that the ice cream and huge fountain slurpees which I had several times a week were probably causing the issue, I stopped the consumption of ice cream and fountain slurpees and my headaches gradually disappeared over several weeks.

If too much cold food in the diet sounds like it may be causing problems for you, there are a few things you can do:
1) Cut out cold desserts such as ice cream
2) When you eat out, ask for water or drinks without ice
3) Boil or steam vegetables instead of eating salad straight out of the fridge

If you would like to speed up the healing process, or have further questions, please contact Newmarket Acupuncture to set up a consultation and I’d be happy to discuss with you further.

Phone: 416-800-8541
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