We are all told “you must drink two litres of water every day”.
Many of our patients feel quite guilty, admitting they often have less water than this.
Inevitably, the question then arises, “well, I have quite a bit of tea – does that count?”
Or juice… Or soup… Or coffee…
It’s a good question! And the answer isn’t as simple as you might think.
So, let’s use some Chinese medicine logic…
The first thing to consider is: how much energy is that drink bringing into your body?
And by energy, we mean instant energy – before it’s been assimilated by your body.
Chinese people tend to prefer to drink only hot water, even on hot days.
The reasoning goes like this – your body is around 37 degrees C. At this temperature, your life is most harmonious. Your vitality is circulating throughout your body at all times, at this temperature.
Now, imagine taking in a big glass of ice-cold water. What happens next?
Does the ice-cold water go into your veins and arteries, gradually making your physical body colder and colder?
No it doesn’t – which is great news!
However, the not-so-great news? Your body is using your precious life-energy, your own vitality, to simply warm up that water to 37 degrees C.
The other thing that cold does when our body touches it? Cold makes things slow down and contract. This is not something that you want inside your body.
Think of holding that ice-cold glass of water against your wrist. How long could you keep it there? It feels uncomfortable – your body signals you to get away from it.
Over time, excessive cold intake drains your vitality and leads to internal sluggishness. This is a big problem for certain conditions such as:
So… the temperature of your drink is a big deal.
The other part of the equation is the actions of the ingredients in your drink.
Tea and coffee contain caffeine. Caffeine is well-tolerated by some, and too stimulating for others.
While tea and coffee are often touted as being diuretic – which means, they make your body produce more urine and therefore lose more water – the evidence is not that clear.
How you drink your tea and coffee probably matters a lot.
Caffeinated drinks also produce negative effects such as:
You won’t get these side effects with plain old hot water!
For a sustainable way to enjoy energy in the morning, get moving first-thing if you can. See our March articles on Exercise for some great tips and Chinese medicine insights.
Stay tuned – we’ll address this question next week!
Here’s a caffeine fact sheet if you’d like to know more!