Traditional Chinese Medicine & Food Energetics

The nature of food and herbs describes the temperature changes that they cause within the body. The energetic properties can change based on how the foods are prepared and cooked. Raw foods are naturally cooler while steaming cools or causes food to remain neutral. Boiled food moistens while stewed, fried or baked foods warm and dry. Deep fried and roasted foods create hot energies. Hot, Cold, Warm, Cool…what does this all mean?

Hot (Yang foods)

    • Can be beneficial in moderation

    • Same functions as warm foods but stronger

Warm: help stimulate body function

    • Helps bring warmth and blood flow to the body

    • Help decrease pain impacted by cold weather, yang deficiency

    • Improves circulation

    • Dispels cold, raises yang qi and energy

    • Plants that take longer to grow (carrots, ginseng, cabbage, rutabaga) are warmer than foods that grow quickly (cucumbers, radishes, lettuce)

    • Best for people with cold constitutions: cold patterns may include: chilly sensations, dislike cold, want to drink warm foods and liquids, clear and copious urine, stiffness, watery or loose stools, fearfulness, pain that is fixed, white complexion, runny nose


    • Do not tend to have energetic temperature but can be beneficial for wide variety of individuals (neither hot or cold)

Cold (Yin Foods)

    • Beneficial for clearing heat or cooling the blood

    • Helps clear toxins and nourish yin

    • Best for people with heat constitutions: heat patterns may include: feeling hot, dislikes hot, bright red tongue with yellow coat, red face or eyes, nosebleeds, canker sores, bad taste in mouth, high blood pressure, fast pulse, inflammation, constipation, dark yellow or scanty urine, desire to drink cold liquids


    • Cooling, but not as strong as cold foods