By Linda Prout
Yin foods cool us off and yang foods heat us up, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This is good to know when temperatures reach triple digits or you are uncomfortably hot. It’s also helpful in winter when you can’t seem to warm up.
Yin foods, according to TCM, are moistening and cooling. This has little to do with the moisture content of the or how cool a food is to the touch. In fact, ice cream and icy martini are both heating. In other words they can heat you up.
Yin foods are able to cool your body core, irrespective of temperature. Examples are found in summer favorites: watermelon, cucumbers, salads, tomatoes, eggplant and summer squash Many leafy greens are cooling, especially spinach. Crab, clams and mung beans are quite cooling.
I was fascinated to see a prominent hospital in Beijing keep patients cool in summer not by turning on the AC, but by feeding them mung beans and green vegetables.
Red meat, especially lamb, is warming. Add warming spices such as garlic, ginger, cardamom and you have a recipe for generating big time heat. Save these foods for winter.
Moist seafood tends to be neutral or cooling and duck is neutral but moistening so good choices for summer. Bean dishes such as white bean salads or hummus are good protein choices and thus taste particularly good on hot days.
Anything raw, including salads or sushi, is more cooling than cooked fish or vegetables. Most raw fruits are cooling and moistening, although a few, including cherries are warming.
Alcohol is hot, plain and simple. A frosty margarita may taste good going down, but that tequila will heat your very core. Same goes for beer and wine, although white wine is less heating than red. The headaches many suffer after drinking red wine are linked to its heating nature. Heat rises and headaches can be the result.
Strangely hot spicy foods, while initially feel heating and likely to cause a sweat, are ultimately cooling. Perspiration and dilated capillaries cool the body, eventually.
Cold drinks and frozen desserts may feel cooling at first, but they cause the body to generate heat. People living in hot climates know warm soups and teas are more cooling than icy drinks and cold foods.
Linda Prout is the author of Live in the Balance, the Ground-Breaking East-West Nutrition Program. Linda is a recovered overweight binge eater turned passionate healing-gourmet. She developed the nutrition program at the Claremont (CA.) Resort and Spa in Berkeley as well as the detox program for the Six Senses Spa in Turkey, and much more. Learn more about nutrition, yin-yang balance, and much more at: lindaprout.com.