Drinking Plain Hot Water – The Chinese Way to a Perfect Health
Getting a cold drink might seem like the perfect way to relax after a long, hot summer day, but for most Chinese the opposite is true. They routinely consume hot beverages with their meals and all through the day irrespective of the weather. So don’t be surprised if on a balmy day, you see a Chinese person sipping hot water from a thermos!
While the western world might find this bizarre, the Chinese actually think that the Western habit of chugging ice-cold water is very strange. The idea of consuming anything at room temperature or below is, according to them, bad for your health. “In the big family I was brought up in, no one would dare to pour even room temperature water,” journalist Nicole Liu writes for the LA Times. “Doing so would risk a chorus of criticism, with parents, aunts, cousins, and grandparents chastising you almost simultaneously: ‘Cold water gives you cramps!’”
Hot water might be beneficial to a certain extent, but it appears that China’s staunch belief in its healing properties might partially be the result of subliminal messaging. According to Liu, China’s hot water habit can be traced back to 1949, when the quality of tap water wasn’t very good. So the government promoted drinking boiled water as a way of eliminating water-borne bacteria. “There were boiler rooms in every [workplace] and community, and people delivered hot water to each household,” 68-year-old Li Zhenhui told Liu. “They would do it very early in the morning by filling the containers you left outside the door. They kept saying it was for our health and hygiene.”
But the tenets of ancient Chinese medicine cannot be ignored – they also appear to play an important role in the nation’s fondness for hot drinks. The consumption of warm water early in the morning has long since been thought to aid digestion, improve blood circulation, help in detoxification, and relieve soreness of muscles. Cold water, on the other hand was thought to cause muscle cramps and slow down
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