How to balance Yin and Yang Energies with a Whole Food Diet
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have discovered long ago that imbalances in diet contribute to many of our health problems. In other words, when the body is in balance it will be in a better position to fight diseases and maintain health.
This is essential when you are trying to conceive (to help improve sperm and egg health – which takes three months to form). It is also essential when you are pregnant so that your baby gets the best start in life.
In order to determine how foods can be used to maintain health and vitality, a number of practitioners have classified them into four categories: cold, cool, neutral, warm or hot. The grouping is based on their effects on the body and not on the physical nature or temperature of the foods itself.
What are “Yang” foods?
- are energy providing
- warm and hot
- higher in calories (than yin or neutral foods)
- often used to treat colds
- improves blood circulation
Yang foods are hot/warm and include:
chilli, chestnut, pumpkin, garlic, cherry, chicken, prawn, beef, wine, ginger, leek, coffee, peach, black pepper, butter, chicken liver, chocolate, green peppers, kidney beans
What are “Yin” foods?
- are lower in energy
- are cold or cool the body
- clear body heat by cooling the blood
- eliminate toxins
Yin foods are cold/cool and include:
banana, asparagus, watermelon, seaweed, crab, clam, salt, green bean, bean sprout, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, apple, cucumber, barley, orange, wheat, alcohol, sugar, tropical fruits
What are “Neutral” foods?
Neutral foods serve to harmonise or neutralise the body, bringing about a balanced state. To achieve good health, this is the state we strive to work towards but it does not mean the following foods need to make up the foundation of your diet.
Neutral foods include:
cabbage, egg, fungus, coconut, carrot, abalone, grapes, pineapple, squid, rice
|The Number 1 Rule is to Eat According to the Season
|When returning to a state of balance and wellbeing it is essential to eat with the seasons. This is easy to do if you get your organics delivered to you. Humans are designed to work in tune with Mother Nature and she provides us with the fruits of the earth to heal us so when we eat with the seasons we keep our immune system balanced. In Chinese medicine, all illnesses can be prevented if you constantly observe and maintain the balance of qi (vital energy) in your body. There is good qi and bad qi resulting from external influences (eg the weather), and from internal influences (eg our food).
A diet with too many spicy and deep-fried foods generates excessive heat and hot-qi. It dries up the internal body fluid, causes constipation and dries lips and skin. It is worse in summer when the weather is hot and the body loses water through perspiration. To bring the body back to the right balance, what is best to eat is cool-food such as watermelon, citrus fruits or white turnips to counter the internal and external heat. If the imbalance is not rectified promptly, the body can develop a deficiency in protecting-qi and you become ill.
Eating to counter the seasonal excesses is a very effective way to stay well.
Wind dominates. This is when the pores of your skin dilate due to the warmer temperatures after the cold winter, it is easier for ‘negative wind’ carrying pathogens to enter the body causing coughing, a stuffy or runny nose, headaches, dizziness and sneezing. It is important to eat food that can eliminate excessive wind in the body during spring. This can be done through mindful food combinations, eg eat melon separately to other foods, don’t combine animal protein with carbohydrate. For more information refer to the food combining table).
Heat / fire dominates with symptoms such as excess body heat, profuse sweating, parched mouth and throat, constipation and heart palpitations. When summer heat combines with dampness, it results in abdominal pains, vomiting and intestinal spasms. Cooling yin foods will help, while overly hot yang foods are best avoided. Iced drinks are cool in temperature, but not cool in nature. They can damage the spleen and stomach causing more health problems.
Dryness dominates and can easily injure the lungs, causing heavy coughing, blood in the sputum (mucus coughed up from the lower airways), dry nose and throat and pains in the chest. “Inner-dryness” can be a result of profuse sweating, vomiting, bleeding or diarrhea. The symptoms are dry and wrinkled skin, dry hair and scalp, dry mouth and cracked lips, and dry stomach with hard and dry stools. Insufficient body fluid is harmful. At this time it is advisable to eat nourishing yin food to promote body fluid and soothe the lungs.
Cold is a ‘negative yin’, which dominates and injures the body’s yang energy. If cold enters the body through the skin, it produces symptoms of fever, cold, headaches and body pain. If it reaches the meridians, it produces muscle cramps and pains in the bones and joints. If it enters as far as the internal organs, cold excess causes nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pains, coldness in limbs and many other complications. To prevent the attack of cold, plenty of warming yang foods and slightly fatty foods are best to be included in the diet.
One of the very popular topics in chemistry is about acid and bases. You can consider yourself healthy if you are eating foods rich in alkaline.
Most diseases are linked to the acidic environment inside the body.
Since acid and alkaline are chemically opposite, increase acid levels in the body may destroy your cells. People’s main objective in making their body alkaline is to have an adequate ph level. Having the right ph level will make your body capable of healing itself properly. When you balance your acid and alkaline level for 75% alkaline to 25% acid ratio, you’ll have a healthier nervous system and organs, it will keep you calm and clear headed.
The acid forming and alkaline forming foods can be classified Yin or Yang according to their sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium phosphorus and sulphur content. Yin acid forming foods are high in phosphorus and sulphur, and at the same time are low in sodium. Yang acid forming foods are high in phosphorus, sulphur and sodium. Yin alkaline forming foods are high in potassium, calcium and low in phosphorus and sulphur. Yang alkaline forming foods are high in sodium, magnesium and low in phosphorus and sulphur.
BALANCING YIN & YANG – The Four Wheel Balance
The following list is from the four wheel balance of foods and is divided into four groupings:
1) Yin alkaline forming foods
2) Yin acid forming foods
3) Yang alkaline forming foods
4) Yang acid forming foods.
This Four Wheel Balance of food was written by Herman Aihara. Its content was taken from Eastern Macrobiotics and is about 5000 years old.
For the best balance, it is stated we need to choose 25% from each of the groups – however, remember…
When trying to conceive
You need to avoid soy, plastic bottled water, tap water, corn, anything genetically modified, dairy products, hormone-laiden meat/fish/eggs, carrot soup or pure carrot juice, peas, etc. (For more information, we recommend our Fertility Recipe ebook)
When you are pregnant
It is advised to cut out canned foods, sea-food with mercury (as a general rule, the larger the sea-food the more mercury it contains), shell fish, etc.
Globally governments insist you only consume pasteurised dairy products but as these are not good for your health in general (it blocks your liver and heart due to the pasteurisation process dispersing the fat in such a way your body can not break it down), I recommend you do not consume any such dairy products at all. If you are wanting to ensure you are getting calcium, don’t worry, dairy products actually leach calcium from your body (they are liquid protein) and it is a myth that it gives you calcium. Calcium is found in green leafy vegetables as well as SuperFoods like Blue-green Algae and Marine Phytoplankton as well as sesame seeds, e.g. Tahini.
Yin Alkaline Forming Foods:
Beverages: natural wine, natural sake, cocoa, fruit juices, coffee, tea, mineral water, soda water and well water
Other foods: honey, mustard, ginger, pepper, curry, cinnamon
Fruits: tropical fruits, dates, figs, lemons, grapes, bananas, peaches, currants, pears, plums, oranges, watermelon, apples, cherries, strawberries
Vegetables: potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, shiitake, taro, potatoes, cucumber, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, celery, cabbage, pumpkin, onions, turnips, daikon, nori, hijiki, carrots
Seeds: squash seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
Yin Acid Forming Foods:
Other substances: most chemicals, medicinal drugs, psychedelic drugs, sugar, candy, soft drinks, vinegar, saccharin, vodka, some wine, whiskey, sake, beer,
Beans and legumes: soybeans, green peas, tofu, white beans, pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas, red beans (adzuki)
Refined grains: macaroni, spaghetti
Nuts: cashews, peanuts, almonds, chestnuts,
Oils: corn oil, olive oil, peanut butter, sesame butter
Milk: human milk
Yang Alkaline Forming Foods:
Beverage: kuzu tea, dandelion tea, mu tea, Ohsawa coffee, ginseng,
Other foods: sesame salt, soy sauce, miso, umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum), salt
Other foods including herbs and sea vegetables: wakame (Japanese sea-weed), kombu (Japanese sea-weed), lotus root, burdock, dandelion root, jinenjo
Yang Acid Forming Foods:
Grains: cornmeal, oats, barley, rye, wheat, rice, buckwheat
Protein: shellfish, eel, carp, white meat fish, cheese, fowl, meat, tuna, salmon, eggs and Milk: cow’s milk
When you are pregnant or trying to conceive it is essential you are eating for energy and getting the right amount of nutrients. See our Nutrition Self Evaluation Guide for more details. In addition, for more information on how you can balance yin and yang polarities, see the recommended links below.
Fiona Kacz-Boulton is a Fertility Specialist
(An expert in her field since 2007) and leader in fertility yoga – inspiring people to evolve on their conscious journey to parenthood.
Founder of Awakening Fertility – Harley Street and Clapham, London.
- Fertility Coach
- Fertility Support Group Co-ordinator for Harley Street Fertility Clinic and Infertility Network UK
- Nutrition Counsellor
- Public Speaker
- QiYoga® Founder
- Fertility Yoga Teacher Trainer (RYS 200)
- Fertile Lifestyle Motivator
- Fertility Support Group Facilitator
- Fertility Practitioner Training Co-ordinator
Through her coaching programmes, Fiona helps navigate major transitions to detox your mind (and body) to help you effectively ‘think yourself fertile.’
Book your 30 minute complimentary consultation
With founder of Awakening Fertility, Fiona Kacz-Boulton here
Other Topics Worth Reading:
- SuperFoods for Fertility – Read here
- Need More Yang Energy When You Are Pregnant – Need Motivation to Exercise? – Read here
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