Opinion / Zhu Yuan

Let the ice cream addict be aware of the hidden hazard

By Zhu Yuan (China Daily) Updated: 2017-07-05 07:31

Have you ever had an irresistible urge to have an ice cream on a scorching summer day? Many adults may claim to know better and refuse to indulge a craving for the frozen dessert, but not perhaps the kids.

No matter how much they like the differently flavored, sweet, frozen dairy products, some adults would still say no to an ice cream even on a hot and sultry day because of the sugar in it. And sugar, we know, helps us put on weight, which in turn could increase our chances of developing a heart disease.

I, too, would refuse an ice cream on a hot, humid day, but not because of its sugar content. Instead, I would refuse because of the traditional Chinese medicine philosophy, which says the inner human body is cool in the summer like an underground cell - several degrees cooler than the temperature outside. In fact, too much cold food such as ice cream could be detrimental to the functioning of the stomach and spleen.

Moreover, I believe in the paradox, the more delicious a food is, the more caution one needs to exercise before having it. Actually, it's better to avoid greasy and sugary food. When a kind of food appeals too much to your palate, you need to be careful or at least know the amount your stomach can easily digest, so that your overall health is not affected. Never get carried away.

This paradox is also true for other things in life. Many prefer taking a hot shower in the winter. But taking a shower with water at room temperature is healthier, although not comfortable. A friend once told me that even in the winter he takes a shower with water at room temperature, which has helped him avoid cough and cold and many chronic diseases.

Ice cream is not poisonous but not necessarily healthy. In the same way, not everything that tastes, feels, looks or sounds good is necessarily good for you, especially if it can lead to addiction. And ice cream, like many other things - alcohol and cigarettes, for instance - can be addictive.

On the other hand, foods that don't taste so good are usually better for your health. For example, bitter melon helps drive the excessive heat out of your body, even though it doesn't taste good. The added advantage with such foods is that there is little chance of becoming addicted to them.

We should always bear in mind a quote from Confucius "seeking pleasure (but) never with indulgence", which means always you should know how much of which type of food, irrespective of how delicious it is, you should eat.

Not just ice cream, all seemingly good foods and drinks or other seemingly good things - money and power, for example - are only good to the extent to which you can eat or use them without causing harm to yourself or others (think of the people who will have to rush you to the hospital in an emergency or take care of you when you fall ill and thus suffer the ugly consequences of your overindulgence.

This is not say you should never have an ice cream. Have, by all means. But always remember there is a limit to everything.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily. zhuyuan@yowaldo.com

(China Daily 07/05/2017 page9)

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