Chinese Nutrition Therapy for Summer...What to Eat to Beat the Heat!

We are right in the middle of summer with some HOT days ahead, so it’s more important than ever to prioritize proper nourishment and hydration. Drinking lots of water is a great place to start, but there is more you can do! 

Did you know that the water found in fruits and vegetables is more bioavailable and more easily digested than the water you drink from your faucet/bottle/filter? This means that the foods you eat can make a BIG impact on your level of hydration.

TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) categorizes foods by their thermic nature. Some foods have a (yin) cooling effect on the body, while others have a (yang) warming effect. So in the heat of the summer when our external environment is very YANG, we need to consume lots of YIN foods to maintain internal balance and health. Ideally, each meal would contain at least one YIN food item to achieve therapeutic effect.

Yin foods tend to have a high water content and contain lots of potassium, like bananas, zucchini, and watermelon. Here’s a list of YIN foods (BOLD ones are extra great):

  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Potato
  • Sweet potato
  • String beans
  • Honey
  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Tomato
  • Lemon Lime
  • Mango
  • PEAR
  • Pineapple
  • Tofu
  • Chicken egg
  • All seafood (especially clam, crab & oyster)
  • Beef
  • Duck
  • Pork
  • Coconut milk
  • Seaweed

In addition to consuming YIN foods, it is important to avoid or minimize YANG foods and substances like stimulants (alcohol, caffeine, sugar). If you are a coffee lover or enjoy an adult beverage on occasion, know that you can use the YIN foods to BALANCE out consumption of the YANG items. 

Here are some easy meal ideas using YIN foods:

  • Fruit smoothie
    • Banana, mango, spinach
    • Banana, strawberry, honey
  • Fruit salad (or fruit kabobs for a fun kid-friendly twist)
  • Chicken egg omelette with zucchini, avocado, water chestnut, asparagus
  • Baked/Steamed potato with veggie toppings
  • Tofu scramble with asparagus, zucchini, and avocado
  • Miso soup with tofu and seaweed
  • Watermelon cake for kiddos (watermelon slice, coconut cream “frosting”, berries on top)
  • Lettuce wraps with beef, water chestnuts, and mushrooms
  • Zucchini noodle pasta with basil & spinach pesto
  • Zucchini lasagna with tomatoes ​


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