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Balancing Yin and Yang With Food

Traditional Chinese medicine practioners have learned long ago that imbalances in diet contribute to many of our health problems. In other words, when the body is in balance it will be in a better position to fight diseases and maintan health. This can be achieved when you manage the smooth flow of qi, that vital energy responsible for excellent health.

In order to determine how foods can be used to maintain health and vitality, these practitioners have classified them as cold, cool, neutral, warm or hot. The grouping is based on their effects on the body and not on the physical nature or temperature of the foods itself.

Energy-providing foods or “yin” are warm and hot,higher in calories and often used to treat cold and improve blood circulation. Foods that are cold/cool or “yang” in nature, on the other hand, are lower in energy, and therefore serve to clear body heat by cooling the blood and eliminating toxins. Neutral foods serve to harmonize or neutralize, thereby bringing about a balanced state. To achieve excellent health, this is the state one should strive to work towards.

The type of foods that belongs to the 5 categories:

Cold/cool : banana, asparagus, watermelon, seaweed, crab, clam, salt, green bean, eggplant, apple, cucumber, barley, orange, wheat

Hot/warm : chilli, durian, chestnut, pumpkin, garlic, cherry, chicken, prawn, beef, wine, ginger, leek, coffee, peach

Neutral : cabbage, egg, fungus, coconut, soya bean, carrot, abalone, grapes, pineapple, squid, rice

According to these Chinese practitioners, there are three vital factors to consider when plotting your food consumption:

1. According to the season and climate – in areas where the season is hot, consuming more cold/cool foods will counter external and internal heat. Conversely, during cold season like winter, if the cold absorbs into the internal organs, it can cause abdominal pains, cold sweat and other complications. This can be countered by eating “yang” foods that can generate heat to warm the body.

2. According to your body’s constitution – if your body is too hot or too cold, eating foods that are in conflict with your body’s constitution can cause imbalances and affect your health, even though some of them may have high nutritional value. You are able to establish your body constitution through several ways :

* If you always have cold hands and feet, you are the “yin” type

* Hard stool implies heat and “yang” state

* Restless and energetic means you are the “yang” type

* A very red tongue indicates heaty body

* Slow pulse rate implies “yin” condition

3. According to age and changing body needs – as you grow older, your body constitution also evolves. When your body slows down and you become less active and energetic, you will have more “yin” than “yang” in you. It is a sign of the time when you have less tolerance for cool and cold foods. Over consumption of such foods will produce headaches, pain in the joints and bones.

The Chinese concept of a balanced diet is to consume in moderation and not in excess and therefore food fads or extreme diets are contrary with these principles. With greater awareness of yin and yang foods, you can achieve greater health and benefit by just following these guiding principles.

Formerly an advertising professional, Nora M now runs an online business. Also trained in baking, she owns a food site where she shares her passion for cooking and baking of east and west recipes. To know more of Yin and Yang foods, please drop by: mycookery.com/blog/155/healthy-balance-chinese-food/ mycookery.com/blog/155/healthy-balance-chinese-food/

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