Doglas, Y. (2006). Does the 'heatiness' of food depend on its water content? (Traditional Chinese Medicine). PHILICA.COM Observation number 33.
Does the ‘heatiness’ of food depend on its water content? (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

Yeo Doglasunconfirmed user (Singapore, Independent Researcher)

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‘Heatiness’ is an important concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), that is closely related to yin and yang.

However, there is no apparent correlation of this concept in Western Medicine. Some have associated ‘heatiness’ with the Chemical concept of oxidation. []

I have noted that another common characteristic of ‘heaty’ food is that they typically have low water content.

“Food that is typically known as “heaty” will include fried food, food high in fat content and certain fruits such as Jack-fruit. Heatiness will cover a whole spectrum of symptoms from indigestion, mouth ulcers and feelling febrile. It may also cause halithosis. The opposite spectrum is “cooling” food which includes fruits such as water-melon and a variety of herbs to counter heatiness such as Chrysantemum tea, etc.”

As seen above, the heaty food such as fried food have low water content as the water has been evaporated through the process of deep frying,

To compare the two fruits, jackfruit has a considerable lower water content than watermelon.


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Published on Sunday 31st December, 2006 at 12:36:01.

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The full citation for this Observation is:
Doglas, Y. (2006). Does the ‘heatiness’ of food depend on its water content? (Traditional Chinese Medicine). PHILICA.COM Observation number 33.

Peer review added 26th November, 2008 at 06:14:19

‘Heat’ versus ‘cold’ concept is very much an inherent part of the Ayurvedha, Siddha and Unani medicinal substances concept (all three being Indian systems of medicine). All medicines and food stuff, drinks, in fact anything you take ‘in’ are supposed to inherently contain this concept. ‘Heat’ inducing food are those which are fatty (as noted by the researcher), but other specific foods that induce ‘heat’ are meat, especially beef, even soups like chicken soup, alcoholic (fermented) drinks, pepper added to any food and so on. The opposite condition of ‘cold’ inducing foods are: curds, butter milk (fat removed fermented milk), a number of fruits like oranges, lemons, Feronia elephantum, Aegle marmelos, etc., strawberries, etc. Jackfruit (Artocarpus integrifolia) and Mangoes (Mangifera indica) as also a few other fruits are ‘heat’ inducing.
While fatty food may be said to be possessing it, other ‘watery’ substances also can be and are ‘heat’ inducing: for eg. Brandy or any strong alcoholic drink like Rum, Vodka, Arrack, etc.
Of course the other end of the spectrum is ‘cold’ or ‘cold inducing’ food - many of which are high in water content incidentally. So it may be true that fatty food is ‘heat’ inducing. An exception to the rule is pork which is said to be ‘cold’ inducing as also among sheep/lamb organ meats: the unborn foetus along with the womb, when cooked and eaten.

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