In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), 'heaty' and 'cooling' are common concepts related to the balancing of ‘yin’ and ‘yang’. Most people, especially the Chinese in Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singaporeans are familiar with this notion of heaty or yang, as opposed to cooling or yin, as it is a Chinese form of expressing certain set of symptoms or sensations often associated with emotional or physical reactions.
These are symptoms of heatiness:
• Short temperedness
• Flushed face or cheeks
• Dark yellow urine
• Sore throat
• Nose bleed
• Outbreak of pimples and acne
• Mouth ulcers
Excessive 'cold' energy in the body, on the contrary, makes us feel:
The constitution of each person is influenced by congenital factors as well as the acquired lifestlye (e.g diet, stress level, amount of exercise and sleep, living environment), and this varies from person to person. In other words, different foods act upon the human body in different ways and affect our state of health. The body's metabolism, functioning of organs and organ structure all combine to determine our susceptibility to these heaty and cooling effects of foods.
Cool (yin) Foods:
Bamboo shoot, banana, bitter gourd, clam, crab, grapefruit, lettuce, persimmon, salt, seaweed, star fruit, sugar cane, water chestnut, watermelon, lotus root, cucumber, barley, bean curd, chicken egg white, marjoram, oyster, pear, peppermint, radish, strawberry, tangerine, and yogurt, broccoli, cauliflower, zuccini, corn, tomatoes, pineapple, turmeric.
Neutral (balanced yin and yang) Foods:
Corn, abalone, apricot, beef, beetroot, black fungus, carp, carrot, celery, chicken egg yolk, cuttlefish, duck, fig, honey, kidney bean, lotus fruit and seed, milk, olive, oyster, papaya, pork, potato, pumpkin, radish leaf, red bean, plum, sunflower seed, sweet rice, sweet potato, white fungus, yellow soybean, brussels sprouts, snow peas, sweet potato, taro, dates, figs, raspberries, raisins, sage, rosemary, thyme, brown rice, apple.
Heaty (yang) Foods:
Pepper, cinnamon bark, ginger, soybean oil, red and green pepper, chicken, apricot seed, brown sugar, cherry, chestnut, chive, cinnamon twig, clove, coconut, coffee, coriander (Chinese parsley), date, dillseed, eel, garlic, grapefruit peel, green onion, guava, ham, leaf mustard, leek, longan, mutton, nutmeg, peach, raspberry, rosemary, shrimp, spearmint, sweet basil, tobacco, vinegar, walnut, jackfruit, durian, leek, shallots, spring onion, , apricots, blackberries, black currant, mangoes, peaches, cherry, mandarin orange, grape.
How a food is prepared also matters. For example, Prok is considered as neutral, but if you have it deep fried or grilled, it would be considered as heaty. In addition, there are some interesting broad guidelines to determine whether a certain food is heaty or cooling.
• grow under the hot sun
• are sweet
• have lots of fats
• rich in sodium
• are hard, dry or spicy
• grow in little sunshine
• are salty
• are lean
• rich in potassium
• soft and wet
The heatiness and cooling effect of foods refer to their capacity to generate sensations - either hot or cold in our body. They do not refer to the state of the food but its effect on our bodies. For example, tea is a cooling food. This means that it generates cold energy in our body.
To seek a balance in diet, we can classify food as predominantly yin or yang. Hence, if you eat predominantly yin foods, your body is capable of producing only cold energy, in contrast, eating predominantly yang foods produces hotter energy. If a person suffers from cold rheumatism, eating foods with a warm or hot energy would be helpful. If a person suffers from acne eruptions due to consumption of fried foods, it is beneficial to eat cooling foods to counter heatiness and relieve symptoms.
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