Yin And Yang Foods

Yin and yang are forces of energy based on Oriental traditions that shape everything in the universe, including a person’s health and body. Understanding this aspect of your own constitution helps you select activities and food that can make you become more easily balanced and lean. This liberates you of the tediousness of counting fat grams or calories or checking your nutrient levels or your blood sugar for cholesterol.

Many nutritionists find this much more practical in guiding a people to their ideal dietary plan than counting daily values or recommended allowances.

It has been the basis of Oriental philosophy to balance the yin and yang energies in the body on diet and health for millennia. On the other hand, it was not until 1910 that Western “vitamins” were identified. The search for new vitamins is still far from completed (In 2003, a new B vitamin was just discovered by the Japanese).

In the mid 1800’s, the term “calorie” was designated as a unit of heat. Not until the early 1900’s have people started counting calorie for weight loss. Researchers believe that identifying all the possible nutrients that are vital for human health is far from finished. On the other hand, yin and yang have been charted and have been directing human health for centuries.

Demystifying Yin and Yang

The Chinese use the shady side of the hill as the symbol for yin, while yang they symbolize as the sunny side of the hill. Therefore, the attributes of yin include darkness, dampness, and coolness while the attributes of yang include light, dryness, and warmth. Yin is winter, while yang is summer. Yin is night while yang is day.

Arthritis aggravated by damp cold is a yin condition. An inflamed reddish rash aggravated by heat is relatively a yang condition. An irritable woman with high blood pressure having ruddy-face is relatively speaking yang, while a melancholic woman who is a pale and anemic is relatively yin.

Yin foods are by nature moistening and/or cooling to the body. Yang foods are drying and/or warming. This has less to do with the moisture content or actual temperature and more to do with the energetics of food. For instance, watermelon and boiled spinach are both moistening and cooling. Alcohol is warming and this even includes chilled wine. Warming is ginger tea and lamb stew. While toast is moistening and dry to the touch and can result in dampness in the body when over-consumed; steamed broccoli, on the other hand, is a drying food.

When you comprehend the energetics of what you consume and by paying close attention to your body, you’ll be able to make meal choices for health, weight loss, and balance.


All people have signs of dryness, dampness, heat or cold. Conditions develop when a person’s constitution becomes extremely imbalanced. When a person makes necessary changes to his diet and notices extremes changes in his constitution, he may be able to prevent illness, thus staving off pain, disease, and costly medical care.

Weight Increase and Yin and Yang

Weight gain, according to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine in Bellingham), is a yin pattern typically marked by an overabundance of dampness. Dampness can’t be eliminated by counting calories. Lots of standard diet foods including pasta, smoothies, fruits, and salads are damp. Some practitioners observe their clients increase their weight on a diet of damp foods.

Essential to losing weight without reducing calories or dieting is to select foods that eliminate excess dampness in the body and boost digestion. This approach is also an ideal way to reduce fluid retention, growths, tumors, and cholesterol. In order to lose weight, a person doesn’t need to eat less; in fact, when he starts to eat more, that’s the only time he loses weight.

What Type of Pattern Do You Have?

While it’s a bit more complicated than this, the chart below will give you an inkling of the kind of constitution you have. Relatively speaking, you are more yin than yang if your body shows more signs in the damp and cold categories. If you manifest attributes of dry and heat, relatively speaking, you are yang. To confuse matters, a person may be a combination of all, probably dry hair and skin and bloating in your digestion. This is quite common. You can request for a customized nutrition plan if you’re still confused.

Are You Yin or Yang?

Signs of Yin Imbalance Signs of Yang Imbalance
Cold Heat
Depressed Anger
Withdrawn Irritability
Quiet Disturbing dreams
Anemic Restless sleep
Tired Thirsty
Not Thirsty Craves cold
Slow metabolism Constipation
Prefers warm food Bleeding gums
Pale complexion Red face
Loose stools Hypertension
Clear urine Dark urine
Dresses warm Talkative
Feels chilly Dresses cool
  Feels hot
Dampness Dryness
Heavy feeling Overheats easily
Shortness of breath Chilled easily
Puffy eyes/face Dry hair/skin
Cloudy urine Red cheeks
Fatty, soft Cravings for sweets
Overweight Dry stools
No thirst Constipation
Little hunger Drinks small sips
Edema/ Fluid retention Dry eyes/throat
Stomach bloating Night sweats
Mental fog Age/menopause
Postnasal drip Thin
Stuffy nose Anxiety
Dislikes humidity Irritability

Balancing Yin/Yang with Food

Warming Foods Cooling Foods
Good fats Tepid water
Cooked food Fermented dairy*
Warm drinks, food White fish
Ginger Lima beans
Garlic Mung beans
Cinnamon Cucumbers
Nuts, seeds Pears
Soups, stews Melons
Eel Sprouts
Dark poultry Spinach
Beef* Salads
Lamb* Vegetables
Avoid: Iced drinks, , Milk, Tofu, Spinach, Raw fruits,   Raw salads Avoid: Over Exercise, Excess Nuts, Ginger, Garlic, Eel, Lamb, Sugar, Alcohol
Drying Foods Moistening Foods
Pungent flavors Good fats
Bitter flavor Sea vegetables
Pumpkin seeds Napa cabbage
Lean grilled meats Green beans
Fish Stews, soups
Turnips Black sesame seeds
Radishes Black beans
Kale Avocado
Mustard greens Duck*
Romaine Pork*
Broccoli Dark poultry*
Bitter greens Whole milk dairy*
Avoid: Overeating, Eating Fast, Dairy, Highly Salted, Sweets, Wheat Egg yolks*
  Avoid: Stress, Over Exercise, Excess Bitter, Spicy Foods, Low Fat Diets

*all dairy, poultry, and meats should be organic or sustainable as well as antibiotic- and hormone-free.

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