What's wrong with ice cream in summer time?
With the end of the plum rains, Shanghai is entering the hot dog days and it's time to enhance your yin or internal cold energy. That doesn't mean a lot of cold food and frosty drinks - too much can upset the digestive system.
Though summer calls for ice cream and iced drinks, be careful of eating too much that's too chilly.
Summer in Shanghai is hot and damp and our bodies also heat up. When there's too much internal heat and damp, they become pathogenic energies that can cause illness.
The stomach and spleen (the digestive system) become especially vulnerable.
Too much icy foods, ice cream and cold drinks can cause diarrhea and indigestion. People with ulcers, gastritis and stomach conditions should be careful.
Respiratory patients also should avoid too much cold food and drink that can aggravate their condition - cold causes blood vessels in the throat to constrict. A weak throat is vulnerable to invasion by pathogenic energies.
Some people lose their appetite in hot weather. Iced drinks won't bring it back - they contain too much sugar and cream.
Icy foods and drink after a meal are not healthful. After we eat, blood flows to the digestive system, but cold food and drink will make the blood vessels contract. That lessens the amount of blood for digestion.
Ice cream and cold drinks also speed up the gastrointestinal tract, so organs cannot properly absorb nutrition.
Think of other desserts, cakes, custards, fruits.
TCM recommends hot or warm drinks, even in summer, for people with digestive problems as they can help balance energy in the stomach. The ideal is tea around 30-32 degrees Celsius, close to body temperature. Even healthy people should not overindulge in icy food and drink, especially on an empty stomach.
"Cold" (yin) foods can help you get through the long, hot, damp summer. Too much hot yang energy within makes people feel irritable as well as hot.
Green beans, watermelon, cucumbers, and asparagus (among many foods) can help dispel excessive internal heat while pearl barley, white gourd, celery, and shepherd's purse are effective in dispelling dampness.
Damp-dispelling foods can also help in weight loss, so can "cold" drinks like green tea, chrysanthemum tea, barley tea and jue ming zi (semen cassiae) tea.
Pearl barley, regular barley, white turnips, white gourd, wolfberry leaves, ju hua cai (leaves of chrysanthemum nankingese, an edible herb), green beans, watermelon, dragon fruit, star fruit, kiwi fruit, shan zhu (mangosteen) and strawberries.
Chrysanthemum nankingese leaves and egg soup
Ingredients: Chrysanthemum nankingese (100g), one egg, sesame oil and salt.
1. Wash vegetables, beat the egg.
2. Make soup with the vegetable and add stirred egg in when it is almost ready.
3. Add salt and sesame oil to taste.
Function: Dispels internal heat and cools blood, may help relieve high blood pressure, constipation and headache, and stimulate appetite.
White gourd and dried shrimp soup
Ingredients: White gourd (100g), dried shrimp (15 pieces), green onions, salt and sesame oil
1. Wash ingredients, chop white gourd and green onion.
2. Make soup with white gourd and dried shrimp.
3. Add green onions, salt and sesame oil to season.
Function: Dispels internal dampness and heat, relieves thirst, acts as diuretic, aids in weight loss.