For the past 2 weeks, I have been experiencing bloating and flatulence. This usually happens after lunch, all the way until bed time. Initially, I didn’t give it much thought and guessed that I must have eaten some gas-causing food. However, when the bouts of bloating and flatulence struck me painfully every single day, I knew something wasn’t right internally. I thought hard and tried to trace back what could have caused the bloating and flatulence. Was it a particular fruit or food that I ate? Was it the timing that I ate? Did I lack certain enzyme to digest the food that I ate? Was it the combination of food? For days, I tried to track the triggers and finally, I suspected that it was the icy cold water that I had been drinking every day ever since our country has been hit by a heatwave contributed by El Nino. I did a Google search to see if drinking cold water would cause bloating and flatulence and BINGO! I found the culprit!!
Today, I avoided drinking cold water, though the weather has been hot and humid during the day. Miraculously I did not get any bloating, belching and flatulence attack. I also found that each time I drank milk, I would have flatulence (I am slightly lactose-intolerent). YES, I finally found the cause of my misery!! Today has been pleasantly sweet with no more smelly and choking toxic, sulphur gas in the air 😀 And my tummy is now deflated with no more bloating 🙂
Why Drinking Cold Water / Eating Cold Food Cause Indigestion, Bloating And Flatulence
Both metabolism and digestion work best when they are working in a warm environment. Think about how you feel when you are sitting on the beach on a nice warm day versus if you are walking around in the middle of a snow storm. Being at the beach we can run around in flip flops and shorts whereas in the winter we have to bundle up to our eyes just to stay warm. The cold, like winter, makes everything contract. We want to move away from the cold, get out of the cold, retreat from the cold.
The internal workings of the body work is very much the same way. While the coldness of a drink can feel very refreshing on a hot day we have to remember that the body is very open and receptive and moving beautifully when it is warm. If we add ice cold water to the system everything will begin to contract, slow down, and retreat.
Ice cold water, cold food like raw vegetables and treats like ice-cream will cause the stomach to slow down and the vessels of the stomach to contract. This contraction while momentary can still cause the digestion to slow itself down. This slowing down could cause the stomach to have food stagnation or over time what we call cold in the stomach.
What happens when the stomach is cold and slows down? The stomach is responsible for ripening and rotting the food. It then takes this broken down food and distributes it around the body. If the stomach is moving slowly and feels contracted, this food may stay there, take too long to digest and then getting fermented causing gas, bloating, belching, and aching. Additionally, if the body is not absorbing the nutrients often enough and in a timely manner then there can be a backup in the system. This causes constipation and a feeling of being bloated.
In order to maintain a normal healthy metabolism, everything we eat or drink should be close to our body’s normal temperature. However, particularly in hot weather or as a matter of habit, almost everyone likes to drink cold beverages or eat cold foods (like ice cream) without noticing the potential problems that will be encountered or connecting it to the temperature of the food or drink you take into your body.
When we eat or drink, our stomachs produce enzymes needed for digestion that can only survive in a limited temperature range in the body. When cold food or drink is ingested, our bodies have to counteract the temperature difference in order to preserve a suitable environment for these enzymes in the stomach for our digestion to function well. However, when cold food and/or beverages enter the esophagus, it encounters the warm vaporized fluid in the lungs. The result is phlegm formed in the lungs which lowers lung function and capacity. Prolonged ingestion of cold food and drink can cause coughs, susceptibility to the flu or other illnesses, dry skin and numerous other symptoms. Moreover, the phlegm blocks the free flow of energy up and down the body which can impair the affected person’s ability to maintain a normal temperature.
Because everyone’s constitution is different (whether from inherited traits or an acquired condition), there will be different reactions to ingesting cold substances. “Cold Constitution” people have a lower body temperature and are unable to raise their stomach temperature sufficiently to counteract the cold food and drinks. For our digestion to function properly, it needs sufficient energy and heat to contract and push food through the digestive track. Cold food and drinks will lower the stomach’s temperature which in turn slows down the digestion process and can cause indigestion. If cold substances are too frequently ingested, the person will often have a poor appetite and experience weight loss. On another hand, the digestive tract will retain food for longer periods of time to allow bacteria additional time to complete the digestion process. In turn, this generates more gas that can cause bloating in the stomach or abdomen.
Here’s the kicker, though: It’s not the same for everyone. While your sister can jolly well live on ice-creams, ice drinks, beans and cabbages and have no funky issues, those same foods may make you run for cover to avoid the embarrassment. If you are prone to getting a bloated stomach with flatulence, it’s time you try cutting out cold drinks and foods from your diet.