Yesterday morning as I strolled along my 15 minute walk to work it became increasingly clear that the seasons are changing and walking outside in Hong Kong is going to fast become a distant winter memory. By the time I had reached the office I was warm (read: hot and humid) and the only thing I felt like doing was glugging down some cold water from our filtered water in the kitchen. Now you may or may not know that Chinese people mainly drink tea and if it is water then the water will be hot water. So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when I heard gasps and “Whhaaaa! You drink such COLD water?!”. Well, I say surprised but it would probably be more aptly described as embarrassment that quickly manifested into indignation. Yes! I’m hot! I’m thirsty! I went to the gym this morning and I need to hydrate! (Said my inside voice). On the outside I remained calm, mumbled something about nothing and quickly exited said kitchen.
So, what is all the fuss about? Traditional Chinese medicine (it’s been around for 1000’s of years, don’t knock it ‘till you try it) suggests that if we constantly drink cold (iced/refrigerated) drinks over a long period of time it will have a negative effect on our metabolism and digestion which can manifest into negative effects in the source of other organs creating the symptoms for unwanted symptoms, pain and chronic diseases to develop (source: Dr. Lee Lain Ling).
I get the theory – but honestly how long does it take our bodies to turn what we drink to the same temperature as our bodies anyway? And don’t we have stomach acids which would stop any cold water from doing nasty things in my tummy? I’m no expert – just merely putting the points of view out
On a side note: it always baffled me when I lived in the UK that when British people are hot they crave a cup of hot (English) tea! (So I guess East and West agree here that ‘hot’ can be thirst quenching?)
It may be a little simplistic but to me water, no matter what the temperature, is hydration for your body. When we are hydrated we are helping to flush out toxins and nasties that have made their way into our body (why H20 is your bestie after a few too many vinos). Personally when I am hydrated my skin is fresh and I always feel energetic.
So my bottom line is this: drink water. Lots of water. It will make you look good and it will make you feel good. If you’re in China (or somewhere where the water is not safe to drink) if you get water straight from the tap then boil it first and drink it when the temperature is right for you and your body. And be prepared for the fact that some people may look at you funny if you drink it cold.