The causes of hypothermia-Cold food and beverages

Food consumption linked with body heat

There are many misunderstandings about what kinds of foods are good and beneficial for us. As a result, a multitude of diets and dietary guidelines have been put forward. Some exclusively recommend vegetables; others advocate a mixture of foods ranging from vegetables to animal products. Still others propose a diet with as much raw food as possible and another group recommends cooked foods as these are more easily digestible.

My own experiences over the last 30 years with thousands of patients are described in detail in my book “Die Säure des Lebens”, publishing house TAS, 2013. I strongly recommend to add heat through the consumption of hearty soups and foods that support the body heat. Individual requirements depend on constitution, age, warming of the body through daily exercise and therefore also incorporate a person’s work situation. A fitness coach,construction worker or mail carrier, who already gets plenty of exercise at work, requires less heat-inducing foods than “professional thinkers” who perform sedentary activities for long periods of time.

Despite the ingredients and the dietary guidelines supported by many of the most prominent dietary specialists in the world, the consumption of food and fluids crucially depends on a specific factor that is rarely taken into account in any of the popular diets. It is often the critical factor that determines whether a certain dietary direction will be tolerated by the body or not, and it should never be neglected.You guessed it: the operating temperature of the digestive organs.

Everything we ingest should reach our ideal body temperature in order to be digested properly. The heating of food or beverages to body temperature requires energy and cools down the internal environment. A lot of energy is required to raise the temperature of half a liter of apple spritzer from 68°F at room temperature to 98.6°F. Apple spritzer from the fridge will be approx. 50° colder and require even more energy to warm it up. It is not an easy task to raise the temperature of half a liter of liquid by 48.6°F. Your body must perform the heating process by itself without a water boiler or stove. And to do this, you need sufficient body heat since the additional thermal energy must come from somewhere within the organs of your body.



Cold food and liquids stop the digestive process

In the US, a glass of ice water is given to every restaurant patron who sits down at a table. This means that, prior to eating, you first have to perform the incredible feat of warming up a glass of water from 33.8°F to 98.6°F – provided you participate in this absurd ritual. Just try warming up a glass of water from the fridge to 98.6°F with your hands. You will soon notice how slow this process is and how much heat it drains from your hands. The experiment will give you some idea of what is going on in your stomach. You will realize how much energy or heat this cold beverage drains from your stomach and, consequentially, from the surrounding organs: intestines, lungs, heart, pancreas and liver. Your cold hands, which you used to warm up half liter of liquid, correspond to the organs around your stomach. And these organs work most effectively if they have the proper operating temperature. Asthmatics are familiar with this phenomenon: Asthma quickly worsens right after one drinks an ice-cold beverage. Therefore, many asthmatics no longer drink cold beverages as they have experienced its painful effects first-hand.

But let us be honest: Do you really think that it is a good idea to cool down your heart? Do you really want to disrupt an optimally functioning pancreas and its wonderful digestive enzymes? Can you really do without a fully functioning colon? And for those who have asthma: Can you really afford to live without optimal oxygen supply from your lungs?

Unfortunately this deplorable custom – from a health practitioner’s point of view – has also established itself in Germany. Cornflakes or muesli in cold milk in the morning and a glass of orange juice from the fridge are most often the ingredients of a “healthy” breakfast. Especially the younger generation will then also consume soft drinks, water, fruit juice and fruit spritzers, ice tea and a cold beer throughout the day. When was the last time you walked into a restaurant and ordered a “warm beverage” like tea or hot lemonade (besides the espresso after the meal) and not something from the usual cold-beverage menu? Is a starter soup, beef broth, bouillon or a cup of vegetable soup more than just a ritualized tradition? Of course it is. Our ancestors and grandmothers knew this just as mothers in the Asiatic part of the world. A person with a warm stomach digests better since only a stomach at 98.6°F can function optimally.

Each year residents of Munich, like myself, can observe a dietary ritual at the Oktoberfest that is completely out of control. Prior to consuming a not easily digestible chicken, duck or pork hock, Oktoberfest visitors are invited to first fill their stomachs with a liter of beer, served cold naturally. Not surprisingly, the meal remains largely undigested and sits in the stomach with the weight of a brick. Fortunately, one then has the opportunity to quickly numb this unpleasant feeling by drinking one or two glasses of schnapps in order to further anesthetize the stomach, followed by another liter of beer! The digestive processes are neglected entirely. Thank God that such a diet at the Oktoberfest is too expensive to be “enjoyed” more often! The Oktoberfest is an exceptional occasion!


Regrettably, the following facts are not exceptional. We are talking about the total intake of approx. 2-3 liters of liquid – day by day. The consumption of cold or ice-cold beverages is unfortunately the norm for most people – a behavior that is carried on for many years or decades. Together with other causes of reduced body heat that have been listed here, cold beverages play a significant role. As mentioned above, enzyme reactions only occur once a certain temperature has been reached. A stomach, in addition to a sufficient amount of gastric acid and digestive aids like pepsins, requires a proper temperature in order to optimally break down a consumed meal.

Consuming cold liquids stops the digestive process in its tracks until the “operational temperature” has been restored. You can picture this process by adding cold water to a pot of boiling pasta, which naturally results in a longer cooking time. In the same way, our digestion does not benefit when we consume cold fluids that constantly disrupt the digestive processes. Apart from this, gastric acid is also diluted when we drink a glass of apple spritzer, water or a cold beer. Stopping the digestive enzymes and diluting the gastric juices naturally has unfavorable, even disastrous, consequences on our state of health.

What are the consequences? Food that sits in the stomach for too long starts to ferment or rot, depending on whether the consumed food consists of carbohydrates or proteins. Burping and acid reflux can occur, cauterizing the esophagus. Irritations can also occur further upwards. Vocal cords and the neck-throat area become inflamed when these gases rise. Hoarseness and a consistently scratchy throat result. Asthma or chronic bronchitis can be triggered if these fermentation and decomposition gases are breathed in. And this actually occurs quite frequently. Especially eating dinner with a beer or another cold beverage produces fermentation gases after a few hours, which are then breathed in during sleep and can inflame the respiratory organs. The functional limitation of the stomach due to a lack of gastric acid or body heat can also trigger asthma.

A further consequence is the over-acidification of tissue, the so-called acidosis. A lack of gastric acid leads to an over-acidification of the body. Please do not mistake the deficiency of gastric acid for a deficiency of acids in the tissue! Many people do not know that even the best alkaline diet is acidically metabolized in case of deficient gastric acid. This is why I often see raw-food enthusiasts with a severe tissue acidosis – an over-acidification of the tissue – caused by the consumption of raw and thus cold foods and the resulting inability to quickly digest the organic material. Who can best process raw food? A raw-food diet is most agreeable for people with a warm and energetic constitution who exercise a lot professionally and have sufficient “fire” in their system. Take a look at the authors of books on raw-food and vegan cuisine! Most often raw-food advocates are young and dynamic personalities with a hot “digestive fire”. If you do not fit into this group, I recommend a limited amount of raw ingredients, i.e. as part of your diet and not as the main part or even exclusively.

Another negative consequence of a cold stomach is the lack of essential nutrients, which does not occur immediately, but is a serious issue in the long term. The deficient supply of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and trace elements is not always an easily diagnosable cause of illness. Unfortunately it occurs when people actually consume good and nutritious foods. The problem is a deficient breakdown and absorption of these nutrients. The cause: coldness in the digestive organs and gastric juice deficiency. In Ayurvedic medicine as well as in traditional Chinese medicine this is referred to as a lack of digestive fire, a reference to the deficiency of heat in the stomach, intestines and pancreas. These medical traditions – both thousands of years old – are not proponents of a raw-food diet and for good reason; instead they advocate easier digestible and gently prepared foods and a reduced amount of fresh and raw ingredients.

The cold-beverage principle also applies to cold foods. Everything we eat directly from the fridge cools our bodies. Especially food that is swallowed without proper chewing can transport coldness into our digestive organs. This includes yogurt, kefir, curd and all puddings as well as other spooned ready-made foods, but also smoothies, fruit nectar and juices. What else do you keep in your fridge? Cucumbers, apples, oranges, tropical fruits, watermelons, cantaloupes and honeydew melons, all these foods can already be swallowed after chewing only 5 times. All foods must be chewed and salivated extensively. Prolonged and intense chewing warms up the food, breaks it down and crushes it, ensuring optimal salivation. The digestive process can already begin in the mouth.

A second influential factor comes into play besides the directly noticeable coldness of foods from the fridge. This factor relates to the internal thermal characteristics of food. Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine knows about these correlations and has applied these as a preventative health measure and for healing purposes. TCM has recognized the link between food and body temperature: Cooling foods are given to cool fevers; warming foods and spices are a remedy for coldness and reduced vitality.


The following is a list of cold or cooling foods:

FruitsVegetables/Salads Spices
 Apples+  Algae Black salsify++   Borage++
 Banana+++  Artichoke  Celery root++  Tarragon++
 Pear++  Aubergine++  Celery stalk++  Chervil++
 Pinapple+  Oyster mushroom++  Asparagus++  Cress++
 Blackberry++  Avocado+++  Sprouts++  Dandelion++++
 Strawberry++  Cauliflower+  Spinach++  Peppermint++
 Grapefruit+++  Broccoli++  Tomato+++  Rucola++
 Blueberry++  Mushrooms++    
 Raspberry++  Chinese cabbage++  Fish  Legumes
 Elder+  Iceberg lettuce++  Algae++++  Butter beans++
 Honeydew melon++  Endives++  Oyster++  Lima beans++
 Currant++  Cucumber++  Caviar++  Mungbeans+++
 Kaki++++  Cress++  Crab++++  Kidney beans++
 Kiwi++++  Pepper++  Octopus++  Soy++
 Mandarine++  Radishes++    
 Mango++  Radish++  Meat  
 Mirabelle++  Rucola++  Duck+  
 Orange++++  Green salad++  Goose+  
 Pieplant++++  Zucchini++  Hare++  
 Gooseberry++    Rabbit++  
 Lemon lime+++      

Eating energetically dead food depletes our bodies of energy and consumes energy reserves. Our food is – or to say it better – should be more than simply satisfying our appetite. Food does more than supply us with nutrients. Our food also carries energy – and light. That is why energy-rich and vital food provides us with an immediate infusion of strength – transmitted with light speed in a manner of speaking. This energy transfer occurs in fractions of a second and can be felt long before the nutrients are broken down, absorbed and distributed throughout the body. Sadly most people only eat low-energy food that is essentially dead. Such concepts are completely foreign to the food industry, which does not grasp or even acknowledge this point of view. A food engineer will most likely only respond with a pitiful smile if you explain the concept of food as a carrier of information and light to him. He will think such concepts are esoteric nonsense. Only the quantity and concentration of ingredients and calories matter in a materialistic world. And the food industry is mainly concerned with turnover, profits and advertisement strategies; it is, in a sense, synonymous with food processing. Even though advertisements frequently talk about freshness and “natural purity”, its actual implementation would not even be possible for industrial processing. The only goal of the industry is to maximize profits. The health factor is only an effective slogan to encourage people to buy more products.

The food industry homogenizes, pasteurizes, preserves, alters the composition, genetic structures and information of food and supplements it with thousands of substances that enhance the taste and appearance of their products. The industry accepts the fact that all these processes contaminate and ultimately destroy the food. Of course, the food industry cannot tell us this. Advertisement slogans talk about “curing” or “preserving nature”.


Digestion and operational body temperature

Many consumers additionally heat up foods at high temperatures or use a microwave. The final result is a dead, energy-depleted product that robs the body of strength and heat. Our foods can be divided into two simple categories: food that adds strength to our energy balance or robs us of our strength. Let us not deceive ourselves: Every digestive process consumes energy. Whether ultimately an energy gain or energy loss occurs essentially depends on the food and its inherent energy. If the energetic content dominates, our body will gain energy.

Foods lose vitality due to the processing performed by the food industry, but also through cooking, grilling, frying or freezing. Ultimately, the energy balance will be negative if the body expends more energy digesting and breaking down meals than it actually gains from the food.What other factors besides food quality influence the previously mentioned energy balance? Answer: the capacity of our digestive organs.

Let us start at the top: By chewing our food well and salivating it, the enzymatic breakdown can already begin in the mouth. The food then reaches the stomach. A sufficient supply of gastric acid continues the digestive process. A quiet and relaxed atmosphere while eating is an important factor for sufficient gastric acid production since the digestive organs are only “activated” in a relaxed and parasympathetic emotional state.

Only a sufficient body temperature at approx. 98.6°F allows the body to enter such a relaxed state while a low temperature triggers stress. The body also needs gastrin, a hormone that stimulates the production of gastric acid, in order to digest food. The digestion is essentially determined by the quality of the digestive enzymes (from the pancreas) and the gall (from the liver) in the next step further along in the digestive tract. There are many things that can impede the smooth functioning of these organs. My book “Die Säure des Lebens” provides more details on this issue.

One thing, however, is certain. None of these organs – stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver and pancreas – can attain their full capacity if they do not reach “operational temperature“.

Raw food or vegetarian or vegan cuisine is not a magic bullet. Heated food or animal products can also provide a high energetic value. The natural quality, the way in which food is prepared and the love invested in making it – as we will see later – are immensely significant.

Of course, the richness and soil composition as well as the maturity level are crucial for the quality of the food. The ripeness of fruit or vegetables directly depends on the amount of solar radiation the plants receive. This means, the more light and especially the more infrared rays are absorbed, the more vital energy the food will provide and the greater the benefit to our health. The light and heat received from the sun is the crucial factor.Interestingly, 50% of the heat that reaches human beings, plants and animals is infrared heat. I will address this in greater detail later, but allow me to make one point clear right now: Infrared radiation from the sun has a healing effect on our bodies. It warms us, penetrates deep into our body and heals us from the inside.

Livestock also profit from feed that has been charged with sun light and infrared heat. High-quality natural pasture feed dramatically changes the composition of the animal’s organism. Apart from this, an animal must also be exposed to sunshine and light in order to live a healthy life that is worth living.The quality of animal products is an expression of this naturalness. Animals that do not spend their lives outside, but are mostly confined to a barn without sunlight and sufficient room to move are robbed of their health, and the consumer is, in turn, robbed of qualitative animal products.



Excerpt from the book “Uwe Karstädt: 98.6° F – Ideal Body Temperature

Copyright 2014 |


About Uwe Karstaedt

The German naturopath lives and works in Munich since 1986 and has published many bestselling books on health and alternative medicine. He is an inspiring speaker with a fascinatingly broad range of in depth knowledge about the basic principles of healing on all levels.

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