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Eating Warm Foods Makes a Difference

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nutrition, seasonal eating, TCM

You know that what you eat matters, but did you know that the temperature of the food matters just as much? This isn’t yet acknowledged in conventional Western nutrition, which focuses on protein, fat, calories, keto diets, sugars, carbs, and nutritional value. While these are all important, the temperature of food is not yet on the official radar.

In many other cultures, such as Asian, Ayurvedic, and Middle Eastern, it’s common sense that a warm meal, especially on a cold day, is not only more satisfying but also impacts overall health.

Let’s consider why this makes sense even to us in the West.

Food and drink temperature affects:

  1. Our metabolism: Metabolism is influenced by temperature. Cold temperatures can dampen metabolic activity, while warmth keeps it active. A strong metabolism is characterized by vitality, activity, muscle tone, and healthy digestion. On the other hand, a weak metabolism can lead to feelings of fatigue, sluggishness, cold, bloating, or overweight. Cold temperatures can slow down metabolic processes, putting the body into a type of hibernation mode.
  2. Our digestion: Cold temperatures can affect the digestive organs similarly to how muscles react to cold – they don’t function as efficiently as when they are warmed up.
  3. Our immune system: Optimal digestion is crucial for breaking down food and extracting nutrition, which in turn supports the immune system. The digestive system acts as a transmitter, transforming food into energy – be it for the brain, immune system, building blood cells, organs, tissues, or even making bone and hair.

Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine stress the importance of this aspect, but the basic idea is understandable once we consider our bodies’ needs. Notice how you feel after eating a warm cooked meal on a cold day versus a cold one – you’ll likely feel more satisfied, calm, and nourished.

I appreciate salads, raw foods, iced drinks, and smoothies, recognizing that they have their own health benefits. I prefer to enjoy them during warmer seasons or when my digestion and energy levels are strong. Additionally, I make sure to include warm cooked food at some point in the day.


Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Healing Arts and Energy Medicine teacher

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