Chinese Medicine categorizes food by their energetics. At its most basic food energies can be divided into heating or cooling, dampening or drying, and building or eliminating. A fairly clear example is dairy; it has damp energetics. That is why people who have a lot of sinus issues or allergies tend to have more mucous when they eat dairy. Every time you eat you take in your food’s energies that then influences these energies in your body. In a previous post on improving digestion I talked about how ice water puts out your digestive fire. This is because of the cold properties of ice water. You can read about that here.
You can apply the information about food energetics to address various conditions. I treat a lot of perimenopause and menopause in my Decatur acupuncture clinic. While Chinese Medicine patterns in menopause are much more nuanced and complex than yin and yang but this is a nice basic place to get started. You may have symptoms of both yin and yang deficiency but focus on what seems more dominate to you.
Foods for Yin Deficiency Follow this if you have symptoms of: dry eyes, mouth, skin, vagina; ringing in the ears; vertigo; night sweating/hot at night
Foods to include
- Grains: barley, millet
- Vegetables: alfalfa sprout, artichoke, asparagus, kelp, mung bean sprout, pea, potato, seaweed, string bean, sweet potato, water chestnut, yam, zucchini
- Fruit: apple, apricot, banana, lemon, lime, mango, mulberry, pear, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, watermelon
- Beans: adzuki, black, kidney, lima
- Bean products: tofu
- Nuts & seeds: coconut milk, sesame seek, black sesame seed, walnut
- Fish: fish in general but especially clam, crab, cuttlefish, oyster, octopus, sardine
- Meat: beef, suck, goose, park, pork kidney, rabbit
- Dairy: cheese, chick egg, cow milk, duck egg
- Herbs & spices: marjoram, nettle
Foods to avoid: Caffeine, alcohol, sugar and strongly heating, pungent spices will all deplete yin
Foods for Yang Deficiency Follow this if you have symptoms of: cold feet, feeling cold in general, decreased libido, fatigue, abundant pale urine, loose stools
Foods to include
- Grains: quinoa, sweet rice, wheat germ
- Vegetables: leek, mustard greens, onion, radish, scallion, squash, sweet potato, turnip, watercress
- Fruit: cherry, peach, raspberry, strawberry
- Nuts & seeds: chestnuts, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, walnuts
- Fish: anchovy, lobster, mussel, prawn, shrimp, trout
- Meat: chicken, lamb, venison, kidneys (beef & lamb)
- Herbs & spices: basil, black pepper, caper, cayenne, chive seed, cinnamon, clove, dill, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, horseradish, nutmeg, peppermint, rosemary, sage, savory, spearmint, star anise, turmeric, thyme, white pepper
Foods to avoid:Cold food and cold liquids. Cold food refers to food taken directly from the fridge but also raw foods. Using a warming method of cooking such as soups and stews will also enhance the body’s energy. Note: hot seasonings used to excess will induce sweating that ultimately depletes yang.
Want to know more about how you can move through perimenopause and menopause with more grace and ease? Call 404-695-0905 to schedule a free consultation today!
Information sources: Debra Betts (2006). The essential guide to acupuncture in pregnancy and childbirth. Maoshing Ni & Cathy McNease (2012). The Tao of Nutrition.