Water, No Ice

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Whenever we go out for lunch, my friend Ellen is great at remembering to ask for her water without ice. Traditional Chinese dietary therapy teaches that room-temperature beverages are much better for the digestive system. And there’s a good reason for this– cold food and beverages actually lower the temperature in the stomach, making it less efficient at digesting food (see my article on avoiding colds  for another example of how the body struggles with temperature regulation).

Here are some other healthy eating tips based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. These suggestions are excerpted from a handout that I give patients who are dealing with weight loss or digestive issues.

Enjoy Eating Have regular mealtimes and do not skip meals. Take your time eating. Don’t eat standing up, in the car, or on the go. Avoid eating when you are overly emotional; try to clear your mind of worry or anger.

How to Eat As you eat, take small bites. Chew each bite well so that it digests properly. Try not to drink with your meal. Listen to your body, and stop eating when you are 80% full.

What to Eat Balanced diets should include a variety of different foods, especially vegetables and whole grains. Try to eat food that is fresh and whole, and minimize usage of processed food. Cooked food is easiest to digest; soups, stews, casseroles, and sautés are best for anyone with digestive difficulties.

Food to Avoid Limit junk food, sweets, and simple carbohydrates. Avoid food preparations that are fried or excessively rich or fatty. Room temperature and warm foods and beverages are best; reduce cold and raw food (e.g. ice cream, salads) and iced drinks. Since moderation is key to a healthy diet, do not rely on any one type of food.

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