Calming Yin Foods

Yin foods should be eaten in summer and only in moderation in the winter; as they are all very cooling. Storing food in a freezer is believed by some to make food even cooler and heavier; and can affect the intrinsic nature of certain dishes.


Bananas are cold, yin, and sweet, and will tonify Qi and Blood. They are commonly used for constipation and help to lubricate the Intestines. They're the ideal food for hot summer days. Serve banana splits with home made sorbet or ice cream.

Broad Beans

Like many beans, broad beans tend toward coldness and damp with a yin character. They're sometimes used as a Spleen tonic and can help diarrhea. Broad beans are an ideal summer vegetable - tossed in butter on cooler days or warmed with a little mint if you find their cold, damp nature leads to flatulence!

Mung Beans

Sprouted mung beans are the bean sprouts of popular Westernized Chinese cookery, which are regularly added to stir-fries and mixed vegetable dishes. They are sweet and cold, tending toward yin. They can help to clear heat from the system, tonify Qi and Blood, and strengthen yin. They should be avoided in cases of yang deficiency; otherwise, eat plenty in summer salads.


Crab is cold, salty, and yin. It can clear heat and is an excellent yin tonic. Crabs are good summer eating, but may need the help of a pinch of purple perilla in fall, or if those eating them have any sort of yang deficiency or problems with Wind. In Chinese folk medicine, crab is believed to help reconnect fractured bones, and is also used to combat burns and irritant heat rashes.


Duck is sweet, neutral to cool and tending toward yin. It is often eaten when there is any sort of Hot syndrome, fevers, coughs, or swellings, for example, and is believed to nourish the Stomach.

Duck, being a type of yin foods, is a good summer food and provides a calming interlude in a long banquet. It is no surprise that "Peking duck" is traditionally served as the second or third course of a long meal in order to calm and nourish the stomach, ready for the labors ahead. The slivers of cucumber (cool) and scallion (warm) served with Peking duck allow diners to warm or cool the dish to meet their own needs.


Lettuce is cool, slightly bitter and tending toward yin. It helps to calm overexuberant yang and is also drying, making it ideal for Damp-Heat syndromes. It is a diuretic and is used in China for urinary problems especially oliguria (scanty urination). Lettuce is a traditional accompaniment to peas in French cooking and it is a good pairing yang and yin foods. Peas are yang and warming, so adding lettuce helps to cool the dish and maintain well-being. Lettuce also affects the Stomach and Large Intestine, so can be a good digestive remedy for the start of a meal.

Beancurd / Tofu

Beancurd, made from soya beans, is a kind of yin foods. It is like the beans themselves - cooling and tonifying for yin. It is a good Qi and Blood food, helping to clear Heat and encourage Body Fluids. Beancurd stews and casseroles are summer favorites in many parts of southern China. Cook with broad beans or pork for a more yin meal or add lamb and carrots for a yang dish.

Return from Yin Foods to Chinese Medicine

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