Skip to main content

Why TCM Experts Say to Avoid Cold Foods

Is Eating Cold Food Bad For You?


In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a proper diet is essential to maintaining a healthy balance of yin and yang. Practitioners of TCM believe that cold or cooling foods can have certain negative effects on overall health. So, is eating cold food bad for you? Why eating cold food is bad? The answer to that question is not quite so simple. As with most TCM advice, the answer is all about a proper balance. Read on to learn more about why TCM experts say to avoid cold foods.

The Role of Yin and Yang in Food 

The concept behind Yin and Yang is to bring balance to the energy that flows through the systems of the human body. Cold foods are associated with yin while warm foods are associated with yang. When cold foods are over consumed, this can result in too much yin along with yang deficiency.

In Chinese Medicine food is categorised based on its energetic characteristics and how they effect the body. The primary categories include: cooling foods, warming food, drying foods and damp foods. 

Those who over consume warm foods may include cold foods to ensure a proper yin and yang balance. However, consuming too many cold foods can lead to some unwanted symptoms such as paleness, diarrhoea, and an overall feeling of coldness so it is very important to maintain balance. 


Cooling foods include: Raw uncooked vegetables like kale, lettuce, fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, bananas and cold drinks. 

Warming foods include: Red meat, tomatoes, onion, garlic, chilli, turmeric, peppers, fruits such as oranges and mangoes also possess warming properties along with drinks such as coffee. 

The Role of the Spleen and Stomach

The process of digestion is related to both the spleen and stomach Qi. The stomach’s role is to receive the food and ripen it prior to sending only the purist part to the spleen for metabolising. Any impure portions of food are routed to the small intestine. Once the spleen receives food, its job is to transform it and transport the nutrients. Once transformed, those nutrients are routed to the heart and lungs to be turned into blood and Qi. 

If there is weakness in the spleen due to lack of spleen Qi or yang, this can lead to dampness. When that dampness is not properly cleared, the result is the accumulation of phlegm. This phlegm then leads to additional unwanted symptoms such as obesity and heart disease. 

Why is Coldness a Potential Problem?

When spleen deficiency is present, coldness and dampness are often associate symptoms. However, these are not the only negative side effects to the overconsumption of cold foods. A few examples include:


  • Impact on blood circulation: When yang is cooled, the body struggles to dispel coldness. When the appropriate channels are not properly warmed, blood circulation can worsen.


  • Results in blood stasis: Coldness may lead to blood stasis syndrome. For some, this may result in abdominal lumps or other conditions such as rheumatism.


  • Can worsen pain conditions: The dampness brought on by cold foods has been shown to exacerbate the muscle aches and pains associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia. 


  • Difficult to lose weight: When the body does not receive an appropriate combination of foods, the result can be difficulty in shedding unwanted pounds and even weight gain. This is due to the impact that cold foods have on the function of the spleen.


  • Indigestion: Since coldness can lead to dampness and the accumulation of phlegm, eating cold foods, like raw veggies and fruits, can lead to indigestion since such foods can be difficult to digest. A lot of energy is needed to digest cold foods since the digestive system must work extra hard to bring those cold foods up to the appropriate temperature.

Overconsumption of Cold Foods in Women

Eating too many cold foods can lead to reproductive issues in women. Without an appropriate number of warm foods, women may experience menstrual cramps. Excessive coldness can also result in irregular periods. Since coldness can cause blood stagnation, this can lead to endometriosis, cysts, and uterine fibroids. Poor circulation may also have the negative effect of impeding fertility.  

Bottom Line 

Is eating cold food bad for you? As you have now learned, there can be many negative side effects that come along with eating cold foods due to an increase in dampness and phlegm. When the spleen is unable to properly route nutrients, some people may suffer from aches, pains, weight gain, poor circulation, and fertility issues. Therefore, avoid drinking cold beverages and eating raw vegetables. Instead, warming foods in Chinese Medicine are what you should consume more, they include organic meats and soups.

 If you believe that you may be experiencing symptoms brought on by an overconsumption of cold foods, speak to a TCM practitioner to discuss dietary changes that are sure to get you back on the path to good health.

Get personalised advice from TCM specialists for free! 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

Get the latest from us

Sign up for our carefully crafted newsletter

Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected !!