Self Care Series #7
Starting a Yin and Yang Diet

Your health and well-being are directly influenced by your diet. As the old adage goes, “You are what you eat.” After all, an unhealthy diet is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and various mental health issues. So if you choose to consume endless amounts of junk foods, you might soon find your body in a terrible and unhealthy state.

Thankfully, there are a ton of diet guides out there that can teach you how to naturally improve and maintain your health. Here, we put the spotlight on the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) concept of Yin and Yang diets.

What is a Yin and Yang diet?
In Western medicine and nutrition, diets tend to focus more on the chemical composition of foods. Simply put, a particular food’s level of healthiness is based on its chemical composition, effect on the body, and nutritional value.

Unlike Western perspectives on food, Yin and Yang diets put value on the energy that is carried by a particular food item. This is a staple concept in TCM, where every object carries a certain kind of chi, or the essential life force that flows through all of nature. The specific qi or energy that is innate in foods is divided into two forces: Yin or Yang. In order to achieve peak health and proper nutrition, you need to create balance between these two forces through the food you consume. 

How can you add Yin and Yang food into your daily diet?
Certain foods and drinks are classified as Yin or Yang because they have different energies. These polarizing qualities are essential so that they can restore the balance within your body. By balancing the energy within your body, you can maintain optimal health.

To illustrate, individuals with a Yang body type are known to be strong and energetic. They tend to sweat and feel hot, so they will benefit from consuming Yin food to balance their energy. Yin foods are dishes or drinks that can cool one’s body, so they can complement the hot and strong energy of the Yang body type.

If you think that you have a Yang body type, you can maintain balance within your body by consuming the following Yin food and drinks:

- Cold beverages
- Water
- Fruits like apples, bananas, and watermelons
- Vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbage
- Soy products like tofu and soybean sprouts.


On the other hand, those with a Yin body type tend to have small bodies and pale complexions. These individuals are sensitive to cooler temperatures, so they will benefit from the warm energy of Yang food.

If you identify more with the Yin body type, try to consume the following Yang dishes and drinks:

- Alcohol
- Ginger treats and other aromatic spices
- Fruits like apricots and peppers
- Meat such as chicken, beef, and lamb
- Vegetables like pumpkins and onions.

How will you know if a Yin and Yang diet is for you?

Before starting any kind of diet, it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to our nutrition problems. Whether you choose to start a diet for weight loss or to improve your mood, you should remember that our bodies differ greatly and what might work for other people might not work for you. So, before getting on a Yin and Yang diet, be sure to consult with nutrition experts who can give you the best advice.

Your first port of call will likely be a nurse with a practitioner qualification who is a specialist in nutrition. These nutrition specialists can provide you with the proper nutritional advice, as long as it is only related to preventing diseases and promoting good health. Thankfully, it won’t be hard to get advice from a nurse practitioner as there are more than 192,000 of these health professionals in the US. The career growth for nurse practitioners remains high, which encourages more nurses to pursue this specific nursing track.

However, if you have an underlying health condition, it is best that you consult a dietitian or doctor. These health professionals are best poised to give nutrition advice for therapeutic treatment or management of various diseases. Because of your condition, you cannot simply switch to a different diet as this may worsen your condition and affect the outcome of your treatment. So, do talk to your doctor or dietitian first before starting a Yin and Yang diet.

Written by Mary Jones for

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