Are Iced Beverages Healthy?
Always drink iced bevs on their own.
Your belly’s internal fire, called your Agni in Ayurveda or your stomach acid in today’s terms, is what preps anything you eat or drink for digestion. The stronger the fire, the more efficiently you’ll absorb and transform your bevs or food into nutrients, tissues & ultimately into energy.
When you drink with your meals, you dilute your stomach acid significantly simply because you’re adding large amounts of a liquid that counters your digestive juices. But when you drink iced beverages with your meal, you put the fire out completely.
What does this mean in terms of your health?
Digestion is arguably the most important process in the body because everything that makes up your physical self and even the very experience of your life comes from your transformation of nutrients. You intuitively know this because when you eat a heavy meal, you feel heavy. Your digestive system is designed to take something that comes from outside of you and to have the intelligence to convert it chemically into nutrients your body can use to build itself, make new cells and give you energy. The more efficient this process is, the better the integrity of the cells you are creating will be, and the more energy you will experience too.
Think of your digestive system as a barbeque and your meals the meat and veggies you throw on the grill for lunch. At what point do you throw a glass of cold water, crisp cold beer, an iced tea or you other favorite drink on top of the fire while you’re bbq’ing? You probably wouldn’t, because that would put out the fire and your meal wouldn’t cook properly, if at all. You do this same thing when you drink a lot of liquids with your meals, but when you drink iced beverages, your body has to work even harder to rev up your internal fire / stomach acid to counter act this not only dilution, but extreme change in temperature.
Weakened digestive strength, or unknowingly putting out your internal digestive fire, leads to improperly digested nutrients, which creates things like stagnation, inflammation, toxins, extra weight gain, sluggishness, and even possibly increased cortisol and insulin surges. Your nutrients can’t be absorbed if there’s nothing to transform them (your internal fire) so they sit. (And they rot, just like the uncooked meat sitting on your grill.)
Efficiency in digestion is everything for your health.
How can you enjoy your bevs and still maintain digestive health? By sipping. Sip while you eat your meals to help the bulk of your food go down, but space out your actual drinking for in between meals, about 30min before and after your actual bulk of food, to give your belly time to absorb and produce new stomach acid. (note: if you’re very thirsty while you’re eating, you’re dehydrated. Hydrate in between meals instead and you’ll notice a difference immediately.) This small delay in your drinking will do huge things for your digestive fire since you’re allowing it the time and space to work on its own, as it was designed to do.. And always always always ALWAYS drink cold bevs on their own. ALWAYS.
So why am I including this pic of my favorite iced tea I’ve ever had?
I found this awesome Indonesian place in Amsterdam on afternoon that brewed their iced tea with lemongrass, ginger, lemon, lime and mint- all digestion stimulating herbs that help you absorb nutrients better and help boost your immune system. Interestingly enough, these herbs actually offset the heating / cooling properties of each other, essentially making this iced tea neutral, yet still incredibly beneficial. Which I still sipped, but a little more comfortably knowing it was actually helping rev up my digestion instead of dampening it. Brillllllliant. And SO tasty.
If you know the rules, you know how to break them, while still enjoying your favorite treats. Being healthy includes happiness in my opinion so I’m not about limiting your favorite things, especially when it comes to food because it’s such a huge joy in life. Being truly healthy is about understanding the fundamental principles of how your body works and working around them to enjoy your life, but also knowing how to stay balanced so you enjoy superb health too.
Be well. xo