A cold glass of water with a meal is more the norm than it is the exception… but if you like your post-meal drink ice-cold, maybe you should reconsider.
Both Ayurveda (Indian medicine) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) extol the virtue of drinking either hot or warm drinks with meals.
These traditions stem from thousands of years ago, long before the advent of our modern refrigeration techniques, but that’s not the reason behind this practice. In Sanskrit, the digestive fire is known as agni and its purpose is to ensure that consumed food is efficiently broken down by various enzymes. Another Sanskrit word that relates to digestion is ama and it refers to the toxins that develop as the by-products of poor digestion.
When we drink something cold with a meal, we’re extinguishing agni and promoting ama – exactly the opposite of what the body is trying to do. On the contrary, sipping hot water with a meal not only improves digestion, it also appears to help keep open numerous channels throughout the body where ama can collect.
It appears that this simple practice can work wonders when you’re battling ailments like gastritis (inflammation in the stomach) and indigestion. Some patients of mine have actually said that it has helped them to lose weight. So the next time you’re given cold water with a meal, see if you can get some that’s room temperature (or even hot.)
If you’re at home, you may want to go one step further by adding ginger to that water. Sipping hot ginger infusion at meals can enhance digestion
Q: Can I drink broth with a meal?
Broth is a mineral-rich infusion made by boiling bones with vegetables, herbs and spices. Broth is packed with flavour, cheap and nutrient dense. I recommend it to any patient of mine who is either feeling poorly or recovering from a serious illness.
The minerals found in broth boost the immune system and improve digestion. It’s high in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus which are great for bone and tooth health. Broth’s high collagen content also makes it beneficial for joints, hair, skin, nails and possibly even cellulite.
Make it by combining bones, water (just enough to cover the bones), a splash of vinegar and vegetable scraps in a pot and simmer. Skim off any scum that comes to the surface and cook for 6–48 hours (for chicken) or 12–72 hours for beef. Strain or sieve before using.