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Food As Medicine - Cold Foods

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

Our digestive system is responsible for turning what we eat into energy and nutrients for our body. To keep that process running smoothly, it's important to maintain good

digestive health.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) too much cold food such as, chilled food, drinks, and ice cream could be detrimental to the functioning of the stomach and spleen causing a weak digestive system, which can lead to indigestion, stomach ache, and diarrhoea. Try not to eat food as soon as it is taken out of the refrigerator; let it warm to room temperature and don't eat too much at one time.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the rule of thumb is to eat warming nourishing foods. These will have a positive effect on your digestion and health. If you’re experiencing watery or loose stools, nausea, and diarrhoea, that’s a sign of too much dampness in the stomach. To warm up your body and dispel the cold, try eating gently warming foods such as ginger, millet, oats, carrots, and turnips. Avoid cold foods, dairy, sugar, ice cream, iced drinks, and sushi, which can weaken the spleen.


Rice: Steamed white rice is gentle and easy to digest, and gently warms the body by draining dampness.

Cinnamon bark: An excellent spice for warming the stomach. Add a stick of cinnamon to a warming soup, or mix cinnamon powder with warm water and drink it. Adding a touch of honey or agave to the drink will also aid digestion by strengthening the spleen.

Orange or tangerine peel: not only a good source of vitamin C. It also drains dampness, making it ideal for anyone suffering from vomiting or loose stools. Add to coffee, soups, porridge, and meat dishes.

Avoid cold and raw foods. According to TCM, the body transforms food by heating it with “digestive fire.” That’s why cooked food is easy to digest, whereas cold and raw foods (like salads and sushi) take up extra energy, causing the digestive process to work less well. To avoid overworking the stomach, eat food that’s been properly cooked.

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