We have all heard of the Chinese Theory of the 2 opposing forces, Yin and Yang. In Chinese Medicine, we use yin and yang to understand the body’s state of health and specifically, where imbalances exist so that Chinese Medicine practitioners can rectify this via using herbal medicine and acupuncture. The truth is yin and yang is in everything and everywhere; day is yang, night is yin, warm is yang, cool in yin, the sun is yang, the earth is yin and so on.

Food also has yin or yang energy based on its properties; yin is cool and expanding, while yang is warm and contracting. We must consume a nice balance of yin and yang food in order to keep the body in optimal health, which will ultimately enhance our complexion.

So which foods are Yin?

Foods that are yin are usually nutritious foods that are high in anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is also beneficial to eat foods that help manufacture blood, as blood is yin and the two work hand in hand.

YIN FOODS INCLUDE

Nutrient Rich Foods

i.e.: Fruits/ Vegetables, Protein (Tofu, Fish, Soy Milk, Soy Products)

Barley, Millet, String Beans, Asparagus, Dark – Coloured Beans

Blueberries, Mulberries

Seaweed, Fish Eggs, Dairy Products

Duck, Pork

Keep Well Hydrated

Minimum 2 Litres of Water a Day (Preferably Warm), May Need To Exceed Quantity If Involved In Physical Activity Which Promotes Sweating

Avoid:

Chronic Dieting

Stimulants – Coffee, Spicy – Rich Foods

BLOOD FORMING FOODS INCLUDE

Whole Foods

Meats/Poultry

Stock/Soups Made from Bones (Provide Bone Marrow And Calcium From The Bones)

Small Tip: Add A Small Amount of Vinegar to Assist With The Release Of Marrow And Calcium From The Bones

Marinated Meat

Stewed Casseroles (Slow Cooking)

Egg Yolk, Legumes, Grains, Green Leafy Vegetable, Beetroots, Red Wine (Best Consumed During Food – Assists in Promoting Circulatory Actions Of Wine)

Post Menstrual Soup – Boil Whole Chicken, Add Vegetables & Herbs – Slow Cooking Preferred

Ie: Carrots, Mushrooms, Shallots, Sweet Potatoes

Ie : Yam, Lyceum Berries, Longan Fruit, Fresh Ginger

Now, foods that are more yang are warmer. Here are some yang foods you can choose to incorporate into your cooking:

YANG FOODS

Slow Cooking Foods

Garlic, Onions, Chicken, Lamb, Trout, Salmon, Lobster, Prawns, Mussels

Black Beans

Walnuts, Chestnuts, Pistachio Nuts

Raspberries

Add Ginger, Shallots, Cinnamon to Food

Can Also Cook Fruit – makes fruit more yang

Avoid:

Eating Excess Spicy Foods – In Moderation

Cold Food, Ice Cold Drinks, Coffee – And Other Caffeine Type Beverages

As blood and yin are coupled together so is yang and qi. So here are foods that are great to be combined to improve digestive health:

 QI FOODS

Varied Fresh Food

Eat While Relaxed – Avoid Eating When in A Hurry (Affects Digestion)

In The Beginning of Your Day Have Warm Water with A Squeeze of Lemon

Lightly Cooked Meals

Try and Have A Mixture Of Sweet, Bitter, Pungent Flavours In Cooking

Sweet Flavours – Root Vegetables, Grains (Not In Excess)

Bitter Flavours – Rocket, Watercress (Assists In Digestion)

Pungent Flavours – Onions, Coriander, Chives (Assists In Digestion & Moves Qi)

Basically, a good combination of yin and yang foods will help your body work harmoniously. I always tell patients to only eat food they enjoy and to avoid anything you may have an intolerance or reaction to. Foods is medicine, but food most importantly should be enjoyed and eaten with a happy heart.

Bon Appetite,

Irene