Applying Yin and Yang to Food and Health

In Chinese philosophy, there are two main categories of natural energy: Yin and Yang. The universe is an integration of these two interacting, mutually assisting and also some what opposing forces. All life appears to be made of opposite yet complementary aspects: dark and light, cold and hot, receptive and creative, female and male, and so forth. Yang is the primary mover, the productive, the expansive while Yin is recessive, the cooperative, the sustaining. When Yang moves, Yin becomes apparent, as these two energies cannot exist separately. This principle of energy applies to the external world as well as inside our bodies. In Chinese medicine, Yin and Yang are often referred to as the body’s water and fire. Applying these principles to the body, we can determine whether a person is a Yin, or cold type or a Yang, or hot type.

We can also determine the energetic properties of foods, whether they are cooling or warming. To maintain balance, a cold type person needs relatively more Yang, or warming foods, and a hot type person needs relatively more Yin, or cooling foods. Yin and Yang also apply to the organs of the body based on whether they are solid (Yin) or hollow (Yang). Given the opportunity to heal, the body rebalances itself. Traditional Chinese Medicine assists the body in healing but does not interfere with the healing process.

To learn more about the principles and practice of Chinese nutrition, read The Tao of Nutrition by Dr. Mao Shing Ni and Cathy McNease, where you’ll find nutritional remedies for common ailments.