Chinese Nutritional Therapy

chinese-nutritional-therapyChinese nutritional therapy differs from Western nutrition. On this page we will outline foods which are going to be best for YOU to eat for YOUR body type. It is important that you know your diagnosis before deciding which food to eat and which to avoid. If you have any questions about your diagnosis, or if your practitioner did not tell you which food categories to eat from, or to avoid, be sure to ask first.

Western nutrition is generally based on chemistry— each food is understood as a proportion of fats, proteins and sugars. Although this type of diet can be very useful, it does not look at other qualities of the food. Chinese nutrition looks at the properties of the food we ingest.  For example, how was the food grown, were there pesticides or chemicals used? How will a specific food affect the body? Is it a warming food, cooling food, will it tonify qi or drain damp, is it drying in nature? If we can learn to modify our diet based on foods that are helpful to support our body’s constitution, we can come closer to balancing our metabolism, mind, body and emotions.

Cooling or Cold Foods

Berries, cantaloupe, watermelon, peach, mango, fig, pineapple, banana, lemon, lettuce, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumber, seaweed, beats, peas, cabbage, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, eggplant, spinach, celery, tomatoes, spelt, millet, barley, wheat, fish, soy, shrimp, chicken egg white, yogurt, sunflower seeds, nettle, mint, turmeric.

Warming or Hot Foods (nourish the YANG)

Mustard greens, onions, scallions, pumpkin, grapes, coconut, cherries, plums, grapes, raspberries, basmati rice, corn, walnuts, black beans, fava beans, kidney beans, lamb, venison, beef, pepper, garlic, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, dill, anise, oregano, parsley.

Foods that Drain Damp

Bitter foods, leafy green veggies, broccoli, green peas, cauliflower, kohlrabi, pumpkin, white mushrooms, snow peas, daikon radish, cooked apple sauce, grapefruit, cranberries, barley, basmati rice, lentil, corn, egg whites, white fish, garlic, nettle, green tea, jasmine tea, raspberry leaf.

Damp producing foods (foods to avoid when damp)

Dairy products, heavy fatty meats, eggs, tofu/soy, pineapple, salt, excess sugar, nuts in abundance, spirulina.

Foods that nourish YIN (for dryness)

Apple, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, avocados, peas, yam, potatoes, coconut milk, bananas, figs, mandarins, pineapple, cantaloupe, grapes, papaya, cherries, pear, pomegranate, watermelon, cheese/milk/ butter (use sparingly), egg (especially the yolk), marjoram, walnut, tofu, tempeh, flax seed, spelt, wheat.

Foods that nourish BLOOD

Red meat (in moderation), poultry, bone soup or stock, egg yolk, dark/ red legumes, whole grains, dark green leafy veggies, beets, carrots, dark/ red fruits, fermented soy products (miso, tempeh, tofu), molasses, seaweed, dates, alfalfa, sage.

Foods that Nourish QI

Corn, job’s tears, oats, rice, potato, mushrooms, squash, yam, cherry, coconut, dates, fig, grapes, tofu, walnuts, eel, herring, trout, goose, ham, mutton, rabbit, bay leaf, licorice (the spice), molasses, algae, pollen.

Foods that should be AVOIDED

Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, excessive alcohol, saturated fats, hydrogenated oils, stimulants.