Ever heard of food energetics? It relates to the type of energy contained in various foods and the effect it has on the physiology. There are many influences to consider in the foods we choose but an important one is the temperature effect. Foods can either have heating or cooling effects on the physiology. For example, hot peppers can cool you down and a cold soda on a hot day can heat you up.
We normally eat whatever we fancy without giving much consideration to the temperature reaction of the various foods we consume. However, you may have noticed that after eating certain foods you tend to feel hot while others tend to cool you down. It does not depend on whether a food is hot or cold to the taste but it measures the effects of a particular food on the body after digestion. Do we feel hot, cool or cold after the food is digested?
The temperature of foods plays an important part in traditional eastern medicine. It is said that eating the proper foods based on the nature of your physiology is vital to health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the temperature of food is taken into consideration when treating a patient.
Foods that are cooling in nature tend to move the energy in the body inwards and downwards, cooling the upper and outer parts of the body first. When we eat warming foods the energy moves upwards and outwards from the core warming us up from the inside out. Very hot foods heat us up then cool us down through sweating. Warmer foods speed us up and cooler foods tend to slow us down. When we are feeling hot, a cup of hot tea will first heat us up and cause us to perspire allowing the body to cool itself down. To balance the summer heat, eat cooling foods like cucumbers, watermelon.
Following is a general guide to the temperature of certain foods.
• Plants which take longer to grow (e.g. root vegetables, ginger) tend to be warmer than fast-growing foods (e.g. lettuce,celery).
• Foods with a high water content tend to be more cooling (e.g. melon, cucumber, marrow).
• Dried foods tend to be more warming than their fresh counterparts.
• Chemically fertilized foods which are forced to grow quickly tend to be cooler than their naturally grown counterparts.
• Some chemicals added to foods may produce heat reactions as may artificially ripened foods.
Knowing the temperature influence of foods helps us to balance the overall effect of a meal to suit our body’s needs. Those with cold constitutions or conditions need to eat more warming diets and vice-versa.
To create more balance in your health the next time you prepare a meal it would be good to consider your constitution, the season, as well as the cooling and heating influence on the body temperature. For a list of foods and their energy content visit http://acupuncture.com/nutrition/foodlist.htm