Do you ever get this “warm” feeling after you’ve eaten, say, Durians or any spicy food? It's described as a burning and congested feeling that makes swallowing your saliva feel like sandpaper.
Why do you think that is?
Especially for us Asians; we’ve had our parents and the elderly nagging us to “stop eating or you’ll feel heaty!”. If you’ve always found that tip annoying or confusing, you’re definitely not alone.
Here’s our explanation of what this “body heatiness” is and how you can relieve your body of it.
What is ‘heatiness’?
In the past few centuries, the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners believe that the body is balanced by two contradicting forces: Yin, a cold and dark but nourishing force, and Yang; a hot, bright and active force. Should you let your body absorb more ‘Yang’, it results in 'heatiness'.
From a westernized standpoint, the equivalent belief is that this is caused by microbial infections that commonly give you a sore throat. This is so-ever common whenever you over-consume the likes of chocolate and certain fruits such as Durians.
What are some types of ‘heaty’ and ‘cooling’ foods?
Heaty foods are often classified as foods that will raise the body temperature by promoting blood circulation and stimulation to the body. Some examples are:
- Meats, seafood, dairy products: beef, mutton, lamb, prawns, sea cucumber, butter, chocolate
- Legumes, grains, seeds: rice (glutinous), walnut, pistachio
- Beverages, condiments: wine, coffee, vinegar, garlic, cumin, ginger, black pepper, chilli, cinnamon, basil
- Fruits: durians, jackfruit, guava, cherry, raspberry, apricot
It does not mean that you shouldn’t take too much of the food groups stated. Instead, take care to avoid excessive consumption as it’ll lead the body to become imbalanced. Doing so can lead to ailments such as throat pain, acne, fever and mouth ulcers.
So how do you battle over-consumption of heaty food? Cooling foods, of course!
They help to eliminate the toxins from the body by literally ‘cooling' it down.
Cooling foods are:
- Meats, seafood, dairy products: eggs, crabs, clams, yogurt
- Legumes, grains, seeds: tofu, mung bean, soybean, barley, whole wheat, wheat barn
- Vegetables: lettuce, mushroom, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, bitter gourd, spinach, asparagus, green leafy vegetables
- Beverages, condiments: chrysanthemum tea, water chestnut, sugar cane, green tea, soya sauce, salt, sesame oil
- Fruits: mangosteen, watermelon, lemon, banana, kiwi, orange, strawberry, pear, grapefruit
Just like heaty food; take care not to over-consume cooling ones as when done so, you can experience the likes of chills, pale complexion, sore muscles and joints as well as fatigue.
Don’t like Chinese herbal tea? Home remedies you should try:
We get how uncomfortable the congested feeling is when you’ve eaten too much heaty food. Apart from hydrating yourself with water, here are several other effective remedies to help you beat the heat.
1. Cooling down with coconut water
Drinking coconut water is an amazing way to revitalize your body. The vitamins, minerals and electrolytes in the coconut are effective properties to rehydrate your body when you’re dealing with heat stress and thirst.
2. Have some Aloe Vera
This healing plant's plump leaves which are filled with a thick gel work like magic to lower your body temperature.
You can either apply it straight to your skin for cooling purposes or consume the gel internally (make sure to check if the Aloe vera species is safe to consume). Just mix 2 tablespoons of fresh aloe gel into a cup of water for a refreshing, cooling drink.
3. Drink buttermilk
Buttermilk is basically a fermented dairy drink. It’s leftovers from butter-making and it's full of probiotics, vitamins and minerals that can help you to restore your body’s energy when you’re feeling drained.
4. Draw a nice, cold foot bath
Simply add cold water and ice cubes to a bucket of water and place your feet in for a relaxing foot bath for up to 20 minutes. You can even add in a few drops of peppermint essential oil for an added cooling effect.
The bottom line
Basically, the key takeaway here is ‘moderation'.
Food is a gift that just keeps on giving to humans. But like everything else, less is more. Always control your urges from going overboard when it comes to your body’s health.
We hope that these tips and information can help you understand your body and the types of food you’re letting it take.