Warming and cooling characteristics of common foods

Each food has its own characteristics. In very ancient times Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners used specific foods to balance the body’s yin and yang and to treat disease.

The ancient Chinese medicine practitioners discovered that most foods have either cooling or warming characteristics. When you eat cooling foods, they are adding cooling effects to your body and eating warm foods will add warming effects to your body. Therefore, warming and cooling foods can be used to balance the body which may be deficient in yin or yang. Chinese medicine has divided food into three characteristics;

1) Cooling foods
2) Warming foods
3) Balanced, neutral foods (neither cool nor warm)

1) Effects of cooling foods

Cooling food has effects of clearing heat and toxins, cooling and calming the blood and nourishing yin. These types of food are suitable for people who have heat constitution of the body. Usually these people have the following symptoms: The body feeling hot, perspiration, thirst, constipation, pungent odourous wind and stools, burning of the anus area after bowl movement, anxiety, red eyes, red face, emotional, head aches, vivid dreams, ulcers in the mouth or tongue, cold sores around the mouth, red tongue with a thick yellow coating on the tongue, rapid pulse, heart burn and dark or yellow urine.

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, the following cooling foods are suitable to be eaten:

Cooling foods

Fruits Vegetables Grains, Legumes & Seeds Meat, Seafood & Dairy Condiments & Beverages
Apple
Banana
Grapefruit
Kiwifruit
Lemon
Orange
Pear
Persimmon
Star Fruit
Strawberry
Watermelon
Alfalfa sprouts
Asparagus
Bamboo Shoot
Bitter Melon
Celery
Chinese Radish (Daikon)
Cucumber
Eggplant
Green leafy vegetables
Kelp
Lettuce
Lotus Root
Mushroom
Spinach
Swiss Chard
Tomato
Water Chestnut
Watercress
Winter Melon
Barley
Buckwheat
Millet
Mung Bean
Soy Bean
Tofu
Wheat bran
Whole wheat
Clam
Chicken Egg
Crab
Duck Egg
Rabbit
Seaweed
Chrysanthemum Tea
Green Tea
Peppermint Tea
Salt
Sesame oil

2) Effects of warming foods

Warming foods have the effects of raising the yang, energy (qi) of organs and warming and improving the circulation and dispelling the cold. These types of food are suitable for people who are yang deficient. Usually with the following symptoms; cold hand, cold feet, cold body, diarrhea, stomach pains or discomfort after eating or drinking cold things, bloating after eating, lack of energy, sore joints, oedema and fluid retention.

If you have any of the following symptoms listed above, it is suitable to eat more of the following warming foods:

Warming foods

Fruits Vegetables Grains, Legumes & Seeds Meat, Seafood & Dairy Condiments & Beverages
Cherry
Chinese Red Dates
Coconut meat
Coconut milk
Guava
Hawthorn Fruit
Longan
Lychee
Mandarin peel (dried)
Mango
Nectarine
Peach
Raspberry
Chives
Leek
Mustard greens
Onion
Pumpkin
Squash
Caraway seed
Chestnut
Glutinous Rice
Malt
Pine nut
Pistachio nut
Walnut
Butter
Chicken
Deer (Venison)
Eel
Goat Milk
Ham
Lamb
Mussel
Prawns (shrimp)
Basil
Brown Sugar
Chilli
Cinnamon
Clove
Coffee
Coriander
Fennel seed
Garlic
Ginger
Ginseng
Nutmeg
Pepper
Rosemary
Spearmint
Vinegar
Wine

3) Foods which are neither warm nor cold, and are suitable for any type of body;

Neutral foods

Fruits Vegetables Grains, Legumes & Seeds Meat, Seafood & Dairy Condiments & Beverages
Apricot
Figs
Goji Berries
Grape
Olive
Papaya
Pineapple
Plum
Black fungus mushrooms
Carrot
Chinese cabbage
Corn
Potato
Pumpkin
Shiitake mushroom
Sweet potato
Taro
Turnip
White fungus
Adzuki Bean
Almond
Black sesame seed
Black soybean
Broad bean
Kidney bean
Lotus seed
Peanut
Peas
Rice bran
Rye
String bean
Sunflower seed
White rice
Yellow soybean
Abalone
Beef
Cow’s milk
Duck
Fish
Oyster
Pork
Scallop
Peanut oil
Honey
Saffron
Licorice

The food we eat every day affects our body’s balance. In the clinic we find that many diseases are caused, or made worse by eating the wrong foods. Therefore it is important to know your own body’s constitution so you can find out what foods are best for you. If you do not know your constitution you can make a visit to an experienced TCM practitioner to find out.

Traditional Chinese medicine also believes that during different seasons we should eat more certain cooling or warming foods which can help to combat the changing weather. As Chinese medicine also considers that the human body and health are associated with the environment, so changes in the weather can affect our body and therefore our health.

For example, in summer, it is very hot and dry, which can cause the body to acquire heat and can dry out our body leading to dry skin, constipation and lack of fluid in the body. Thus if we eat more cooling food, it can balance the body which has been attacked by the hot summer.

Usually we suggest you to eat local seasonal fruit and vegetables as they are most suitable for the body during a particular season.

81 Responses to Warming and cooling characteristics of common foods

  1. mikey 27 June, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    hmm ? What about sugar? Cooling , warming or neutral ?

    • Ping Ming Health 21 August, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

      According to Chinese medicine, white sugar is sweet and neutral in nature. It especially enters the lung and spleen channels. Brown sugar is sweet and warm in nature. It enters the liver, spleen and stomach channels.

  2. mossles 11 February, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Just learnt about cooling and warm foods from our Chinese Doctor last night. What would bread be (since it is processed I am not sure where it would be categorised)….

    • Ping Ming Health 19 February, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      White bread is sweet and eating too much can result in a pattern of dampness in the body. It is best to choose wholemeal/sourdough breads over commercially available white bread.

  3. Rick 16 February, 2012 at 3:23 am #

    What happens when you combine warming and cooling foods? If, for example, you add warming spices to cooling foods?

    • Ping Ming Health 19 February, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      You can combine foods from warm and cool groups to balance each other out.

  4. Jasmine 16 March, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Old people says eat cabbage will create wind and also people who has thyroid can not eat cabbage, is it true?

    • Ping Ming Health 16 March, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

      Dear Jasmine, thanks for your question. Cabbage is a very nutritious vegetable which contains sulphur compounds that break down and produce gas when digested. These compounds are also very good for you and can help to strengthen your immune system. Healthy people can eat cabbage as part of a balanced diet and not worry about so called ‘goitrogens’ contained in cabbage. If you have thyroid problems it is best to seek advice and treatment from your doctor or Chinese medicine practitioner to see if cabbage is suitable for your individual condition or not. You can also read this article: “An Up-to-Date Look at Goitrogenic Substances in Food” http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=250

  5. wei ling 14 May, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    The chinese doctor says I have problem of heatiness, coldness, as well as dampness in my body right now. what food should i eat?

    • Ping Ming Health 15 May, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      You can start by eating more of the neutral foods mentioned in our article above, and avoid strongly hot and cold natured foods. You also need to ask your Chinese doctor which organs may be affected so that you can choose the most appropriate foods to help restore your organ function.

  6. erika 2 June, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    my blood is overheating and causes painful,itchy rash, i have cravings for sweet foods like chocolate and liqorice and also coffee . Im sure these are not good for my condition . What foods would yo recommend . I thought i wold need cooling foods but dont have any of the symptons for such…thank you

    • Ping Ming Health 15 August, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      Dear Erika, it sounds like you may have an underlying organ imbalance which is causing your food cravings. It would be best if you could see a qualified and experienced Chinese medicine practitioner to diagnose your symptoms first, then you could ask for more specific dietary advice that matches your condition.

  7. Zoe 17 June, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Would acne also be realated to too much heat on the body?
    If so, could you eat cooling foods to combat it?
    Or is it to do with toxins?

  8. Tatiana 12 July, 2012 at 6:16 am #

    I have migrain, nausea and dizzyness for over three weeks now, my Chinese doctor told me that i could have problems with my kidneys or some heart desease that doesnt allow a good circulation of my blood through my body causing the symptoms, also i suffer from cold hand and heavy menstrual pain. he said that i should look more about warm foods but im not really sure where to start? :/

    • Ping Ming Health 15 August, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      Dear Tatiana, you could try adding a little ginger, cinnamon or fennel to your cooking. These are all warming spices that can help your circulation. Try to eat less cold-natured foods such as raw foods, cold fruits and salads, ice-cream and ice-cold drinks. Try to avoid these cold foods especially around the time of your period as they can make your menstrual pain worse. Soups are also great warming foods you could eat more of.

  9. Amy 24 September, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    I am currently dealing with Gu syndrome (candida, anxiety, muscle aches, hormonal migraines, painful cramps) per my D.O.M. I see that green tea is cooling. I am currently drinking white tea made from organic loose leaf. Is it, too, cooling? If so, is there anything I could add to balance it? And / or is white tea beneficial to drink for my condition? Thank you!

    • Ping Ming Health 24 September, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      Dear Amy, green and white tea is cooling in nature and drinking too much of it can weaken your Spleen (digestive function) according to Chinese medicine theory. For your condition, we can suggest boiling some Chinese pearl barley (also known as Job’s tears, which you can buy from Asian grocers) in a small saucepan of water until they are soft, and drinking the soup as a tea. Chinese barley can strengthen your digestive function while helping to clear dampness and heat from your body. If you don’t suffer from digestive problems, you can continue to enjoy your white tea in moderation. We hope you get well soon!

  10. Brooke 8 October, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    Hello. My daughter has been suffering from migraine/epilepsy symptoms for some time. She also frequently feels problem breathing and heart palpitations and feels her throat is blocked during these times. I read your description of hot and cold constitutions and I think she has strong symptoms of both. Our friend did acupressure on her yesterday on the heart and lung points and she improved very quickly. The problems get worse because she panics once the symptoms start. He said she needs all warming foods. He says she has blockages everywhere and all her points are painful. So I am confused about only giving her the warming foods. He said the lung and heart are affected by her kidneys and adrenals. And because her menstrual hasn’t started yet and feels heaviness in the lower abdomen,,,her body is too weak to start that happening. She is 12 years old. I’m confused about what foods are best now.

    • Ping Ming Health 11 October, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

      Dear Brooke, we first recommend that you take your daughter to see a GP (medical doctor) if you have not already done so for a medical diagnosis and general health check. We would then suggest visiting a Chinese medicine practitioner experienced in children’s health conditions. Unfortunately we cannot give you any more specific advice regarding foods without a consultation and Chinese medicine diagnosis of her condition.

  11. Michelle 8 October, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    I have been advised to cool my body to aid my heart. Can you recommend any recipes or books which would be beneficial? Besides ingesting cooling foods and drinks are there other things I could do to aid the cooling? Also I have a small white bump on my tongue which won’t go away and had cancer four years ago – do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

    • Ping Ming Health 11 October, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

      Dear Michelle, unfortunately we cannot give you any more specific advice without a consultation. If you are interested in learning more about Chinese medicine diet therapy, we can recommend reading The Tao of Healthy Eating, by Bob Flaws. It has many recipes and food ideas which you may find useful. Activities such as meditation and light exercises that relieve emotional stress should also help to prevent stagnation and heat from building up in your body.

  12. Yasir 17 October, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Hi, i want to know what is the best way to consume cooling food, should it be boiled or fried, does both ways consist their cooling effects or does frying vegetables decrease its cooling affects.
    Also i m old patient of Psoriasis n Acne, pimples n white/black heads, what is the best diet for me. please guide me in this regard.

    Thanks

    Yasir

    • Ping Ming Health 28 October, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      Dear Yasir, most vegetables are cooling in nature but they can be made warmer (or more neutral) by cooking. In general we suggest lightly cooking or steaming most vegetables, as over-cooking and boiling them will result in the loss of nutrients and taste. In general, avoid sweet, spicy/chili and greasy/fried foods. Please also read our articles on skin health. Also try to reduce stress and sleep earlier at night. Unfortunately, there can be many internal causes of psoriasis and acne and without a Chinese medicine diagnosis we cannot give you more specific diet advice. We suggest you visit an experienced Chinese medicine practitioner for more help and advice regarding your diet.

  13. carmen 10 March, 2013 at 3:03 am #

    I’m currently 11 weeks pregnant and my parents have been telling me not to eat watermelon, bananas, cantelope, and honeydew because it is not good for the baby. Is there any truth to this as they also mentioned something about the fruit being ‘cool’.

    • Ping Ming Health 18 March, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      Generally, you can eat the fruits you have mentioned in moderation, except if you have an allergy to those fruits. During pregnancy, we suggest not eating too much hot and spicy foods, shellfish because they can give your body too much heat and toxins, which is not good for the baby’s skin.

  14. ELTer 12 March, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    I have had hypothalamic amenorrhea for one year. The acupuncture doctors I’ve seen tell me I need to eat more meat, more warming foods, not exercise (beyond gentle yoga), and not stress nor worry.

    Where do raw walnuts, wheat bread, cookies, Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, and dark chocolate fall – cooling, neutral, or warming?

    • Ping Ming Health 18 March, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      Walnuts are considered a warming food in Chinese medicine. The other foods you have mentioned are cooked foods consisting of mixed ingredients, so it is very hard to say whether they are cooling or warming foods according to Chinese medicine theory.

  15. Cheryl 13 March, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    What a wonderful site! Thank you for your most helpful information!
    I don’t have an ailment, I don’t think, but struggle with staying up VERY LATE… often until 3-4 a.m. I do get a full 8 to 9 hours of sleep but wonder what is “off” in my body prompting me to want to stay up so late. Is this thyroid or adrenal related or something else. Suggestions?
    Thank you!

    • Ping Ming Health 18 March, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

      Dear Cheryl, thank you for your enquiry. Generally, your type of insomnia is associated with Liver imbalance in Chinese medicine, I suggest you have some lemon, orange juice, banana or peppermint tea to assist your sleep. The best way is to see your local experienced Chinese medicine practitioner for a tongue and pulse diagnosis to find out the exact cause of your insomnia. Best regards, Ping Ming Health.

  16. ELTer 27 April, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    Is this tea overall warming, neutral, or cooling?
    “Rooibos Safari Spice” from Celestial Seasonings, with these ingredients:
    rooibos, hibiscs, cinnamon, natural sweet piquante pepper flavor, soy lecithin, blackberry leaves, allspice, cardamon, ginger, roasted chicory, cloves, and banana.

    • Ping Ming Health 20 May, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Thank you for your question, the tea you mentioned has many ingredients so it may be hard to determine the overall nature. However, it is most likely to be warming as it contains the following warming herbs: cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, ginger and cloves.

  17. Myann 24 May, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    Thank you so much for this GREAT information! Is there an in-depth resource that you would recommend that lists a broader list of foods that Westerners eat? For instance, I don’t see oatmeal listed above in your chart–and I don’t want to bug you with question after question as I build my new TCM-inspired menus! Thanks so much, Myann

    • Ping Ming Health 27 May, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

      Dear Myann, we can suggest two books on Chinese dietary therapy which you may be interested in:
      The Tao of Healthy Eating by Bob Flaws and Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford. Between the two, The Tao of Health Eating is a great introduction for those new to the idea of Chinese diet therapy, while Healing With Whole Foods is a much more comprehensive resource and bigger book. We hope you can benefit from reading these books.

      • Myann 27 May, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

        Thanks so much–I will buy them both today! =)

  18. amy 27 July, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Could you tell me please what kind Of food is better to treat rosacea? Thanks

    • Ping Ming Health 10 December, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      Dear Amy, without knowing more about the condition of your body, the general diet advice we can give you is to consume foods that are neutral to cool in nature. Avoid spicy, fried, greasy foods, also coffee and alcohol that can heat up the body and aggravate the flushing. Examples of foods you can eat include barley, celery, cucumber, fish, mung beans, green tea, tofu. A Chinese medicine consultation can also help you to identify any internal organ imbalances that may be generating heat in your body.

  19. Olga shmidov 8 August, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Are kobucha and water grain kefir cooling body and liver?Which food are the best for warm up the liver , muscles and joins?Thank you so much Olga

    • Ping Ming Health 10 December, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Dear Olga, sorry we don’t have any information about kombucha or kefir at this time. Perhaps another reader can share more knowledge regarding these foods. You can read our articles on Cherries, Chestnuts, Walnuts and Chives for more ideas about warming foods that are beneficial for circulation.

  20. Jenna 16 August, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    Happened to stumble upon your site by accident while looking for some remedies in TCM. What a great site !

    I read that one must eat warming food if one is said to suffer from deficient yang energy of the lung with cold syndrome if the following symptoms appear : itchy nose with sometimes itchiness around the eyes, copious discharge of clear, watery liquid from the nose with back drip from the throat, some dizziness on occasions, itchy ears. The foods recommended are royal jelly, red dates, string beans, mutton, job’s tears, longan, yam, grapes, squash, carrots, apple cucumber, cheese etc. But isn’t cheese also a diary and as such, diary is supposed to encourage the production of phlegm ? And rock sugar is mentioned too…..isn’t this a refined food ? Hope my comment and questions are not too burdensome to you. Thank you.

    • Ping Ming Health 10 December, 2013 at 9:00 am #

      Dear Jenna, thanks for your questions! Chinese medicine diet therapy not only categorises foods according to their nature (warming, cooling, neutral) but also by taste (such as sour, bitter, sweet) and organ systems (such as Lung, Spleen, Liver). All of these aspects are taken into consideration when matching the most appropriate foods to your body type. In your case, you are correct not to consume too much cheese or sugar, as the “damp” nature of these foods can contribute to the formation of phlegm, especially if your Spleen function is weak.

  21. jenna 17 August, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    I have what is generally known as chronic rhinitis sinusitis ( copious discharge of clear, watery liquid and back drip from the throat, itchy nose, eyes and ears, lethargic fatigue with ‘heavy’ arms and legs, watery eyes) and was told to avoid diary products which will promote phlegm. Is free range eggs banned from the list of foods to be consumed ? I have avoided stuff like ice cream, butter, cream, etc. Can eggs still be part of the menu for sufferers of RS since I find eggs to be a convenient complete food and easy to consume. Is the above symptoms reflect deficient yang energy of the lung with cold syndrome as described by TCM? Is it due only to the problems of the lungs ? what about the stomach and the spleen ?

    I also avoid most tea which has caffeine as it affects sleeping. But Reebios Tea is fine but is this alright for those with Rhinitis Sinusitis ? Also, some articles in TCM mentioned to avoid oranges as this is also phlegm forming. Would appreciate some answers to some of the above questions. Thank you.

    • Ping Ming Health 10 December, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      Dear Jenna, Chinese medicine diet therapy considers eggs to be a sweet and neutral food that is nourishing for the body. It especially nourishes Blood and Yin of the body for symptoms such as dryness, fatigue, insomnia, blurred vision. Some people with weak digestion (Spleen Qi) may find eggs hard to digest in which case this may contribute to the formation of dampness and phlegm. Otherwise, eggs are suitable to eat for almost everyone.

      We suggest you should also tonify your Spleen Qi (and if you have a tendency to feel cold or have frequent clear urination, there may also be deficiency of Kidney Yang). In general, neutral to warm (but not hot) foods are best to support your body during treatment.

      Rooibos tea is caffeine free and should be okay for you. Some texts do regard sweet and sour foods as dampening, this includes citrus fruits and tomatoes. If you tend to produce lots of phlegm and feel cold generally, we can suggest boiling dried orange peel (“Chen Pi” from a Chinese grocer) with cinnamon to drink as a tea. This is a great recipe for clearing phlegm and warming the Spleen and Kidney.

  22. Nove 6 September, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Hello ,
    I have problem with raising Phlegm into my troath , the feeling is like having a “hair” into my throat, and everytime i drink nothing happen im still dry in the throat and the body produces a lot of Phlegm.

    in the last five days i have been eating 90% of fruit ( 6 banana and different tropical fruit + cooked meal for dinner), and especially the last day when the problem came out i ate a nearly rotten papaya from the fridge (so very cold) and i think that is the big mistake…
    plus i live in a very humid place.
    my Phlegm is not yellow or green is no color.

    So i would like to know how can i restore the balance , wich food i should eat and why, to remove this problem?

    thanks a lot :)

    Nove

    • Ping Ming Health 10 December, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

      Dear Nove, Chinese medicine views that a damp environment can impair the function of the Spleen, which leads to the accumulation of dampness and phlegm in the body. To clear the phlegm from your body, you’ll need to look after your Spleen and digestion well. You should avoid very sweet, sour and damp natured foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, dairy, oily and fried foods which can generate more phlegm. Try to eat more neutral and dry natured foods as the basis of your diet. In very humid environments, people tend to eat more spicy foods such as chilli, pepper and ginger as these can help the body to expel and clear the dampness (but be careful not to over-eat very spicy foods). You can also read our articles on Chilli, Chinese White Radish and Red Azuki Beans. As you experienced, you must also avoid eating chilled (cold temperature) foods which are bad for digestion.

  23. Leslee 1 November, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    Can diet help my recurring corneal erosion heal? I am getting accupuncture & taking chinese herbs.
    Apparently the problem is related to my liver.

    • Ping Ming Health 10 December, 2013 at 7:19 am #

      Dear Leslee, we believe that diet is one of the most important aspects of healing the body and improving health. No form or amount of medicine can replace a healthy diet that is suitable for your body. Black sesame seeds, carrots and goji berries are excellent foods that benefit the eyes you could introduce into your diet. You can also ask your Chinese medicine practitioner for more specific diet therapy advice.

  24. Jennifer 2 November, 2013 at 3:26 am #

    Hi, I know from my study of TCM that the cooking method also affects the TCM “temperature” of a food, deep oil-frying adding the most “heat,” steaming the least, etc. I’m writing to find out where drying/dehydrating at low temperatures falls on that scale. I have a chronic deficiency condition of the spleen and have been instructed to avoid raw, cold foods. I like to prepare some foods by dehydrating them at 120 degrees F for 12-24 hours. Does this add heat and remove the harmful cold from foods?

    • Ping Ming Health 10 December, 2013 at 7:12 am #

      Dear Jennifer, thanks for your question. Dehydrating foods in your oven does make them warmer in nature. One thing to be aware of is that dehydrated foods are considered “drying” according to Chinese medicine. If your body lacks Yin (moisture) for example: dry skin, feeling thirsty or you have heat in your stomach (easily hungry, bad breath), then consuming foods that are drying in nature is not suitable. If you body has Dampness (feeling heavy, sluggish, tired or bloated with sticky stools), then consuming some dry and warm natured foods can help to dry the Dampness and improve your Spleen function.

  25. atarah 18 November, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    I wondered if Pistachio nuts are heating or cooling or neutral…

    thank you…..

    • Ping Ming Health 10 December, 2013 at 6:52 am #

      Pistachio nuts are warm in nature according to Chinese medicine.

  26. Neha 19 November, 2013 at 1:55 am #

    Hi!

    I went to see a Chinese Herbalist, and he mentioned that I have spleen and liver issues. In addition , I should avoid raw foods. That was it, and I was seen out. I think he mentioned to avoid cold foods? Does this mean I can still eat the food on your warn/neutral list?

    thanks!

    • Ping Wang 9 December, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      Dear Neha, if you have been advised to avoid raw foods, then this also includes the cold natured foods according to Chinese medicine diet therapy. Neutral foods are suitable for everyone, and how much warm foods you should eat depends on the balance of how much heat or cold you have in your body.

  27. Lily 22 December, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Hi, I recently had a miscarriage of twins. Their heartbeat stopped one after another without any symptoms. What should I eat to make my body ready and stronger for the next pregnancy? My TCM doctor said I can only eat warm foods but I feel there are very limited choices of warm foods. Do I really have to avoid ice cream (my favourite) totally in this case, for instance? Also, when would be the earliest time to try again?

    • Ping Ming Health 20 February, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

      Dear Lily, thank you for your question. Please see my article What diet is suitable after labour for more information, the same advice applies for strengthening your body after a miscarriage. Generally, we suggest you should have at least 3 regular, normal menstrual cycles before trying again. However, we would recommend that you visit an experienced Chinese medicine practitioner who can give you more specific advice for your body.

  28. Laura 29 December, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    Hi I am 41 years old and have been having night sweats that make me feel very cold at night. In the past acupuncture and TCM have stopped the sweats. I have been experiencing these sweats on and off since I am 31. During the day I am often feeling cold and have chills and cold hands. I was wondering if I could eat cooling foods to stop the night sweats? Or would I try warming foods since during the day I often feel chilly? Currently my diet contains more warming foods than cooling foods. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you

    • Ping Ming Health 11 February, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

      Dear Laura, thank you for your question. From the description of your symptoms it appears your body has a weakness of both Yin and Yang. During the day (and at night) you feel cold easily because your body lacks Yang energy (warmth), and during the night your sweating is due to a relative deficiency of Yin compared to Yang which causes night sweating. This is a complicated pattern to correct using diet alone so we would advise you to seek treatment from an experienced Chinese medicine practitioner. You may also need to take Chinese herbal medicine to help strengthen and rebalance your underlying Kidney Yin and Yang function. We would suggest you eat neutral to warm foods, not too hot or spicy foods and avoid cold foods. You could also eat more Kidney and essence tonifying foods such as prawns, scallops, goji berries, walnuts, lamb or beef bone soup. We hope this information may be of help to you.

  29. Geoff Davies 1 January, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    Hi, where is steamed rice on the hot/cold continuum?

    • Ping Ming Health 11 February, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

      Dear Geoff, thanks for your question. Steamed white rice is considered a neutral food that’s easy to digest. It has certainly stood the test of time as a staple food of many traditional Asian diets!

  30. Katie 7 January, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    I have just been to see a Chinese Herbalist today and he said that I have a very low liver and kidney pulse and had started early menopause symptoms. I am to eat cold foods. Which foods in this category would you strongly recommend? Thanks Katie

  31. Mirian 28 January, 2014 at 6:09 am #

    Will eating cooling foods and avoiding warming foods help with my menopausal night sweats and daytime flashes? Or is this an entirely different condition for such foods to help?

  32. Nia 1 February, 2014 at 4:04 am #

    What a wonderful article! Everything was presented in a truly informative, clear and precise manner! Thank you!

  33. jeevan 5 February, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    hello i have problem of bleeding from nose when i feel hot and so dry my nose so what types of food can i eat??

    • Ping Ming Health 11 February, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

      Dear jeevan, thanks for your question. We suggest eating more cooling and moistening foods such as cucumber, banana, celery, lettuce, spinach and mung beans. Also pay attention to your bowel movements, if you are easily constipated this can cause further dryness in your nose (this is because the Lung and Large Intestine channels are paired in Chinese medicine theory).

  34. HM 7 February, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    I just started seeing a TCM doctor for my fertility issue. I’m drinking herbal tea prepared by the doctor but boiled by me at home. I am instructed not to consume any cold foods while drinking the tea. I’m assuming that’s the “cooling foods” referred to above? I also have IBS, am lactose intolerant and can’t digest i.e. whole wheat, oatmeal. I have 2 questions: 1) With all my food restrictions and this new one re: cold foods what do you suggest I eat that is nutritious and satisfying? 2) is there something you can recommend for a fertility diet that conforms to all these restrictions? Many thanks.

    • Ping Ming Health 12 February, 2014 at 7:30 am #

      Thanks for your question, soups and rice congees would be two great choices for you. You could add some red dates, lotus seeds, goji berries, chicken, spring onion, ginger and other warming foods as well to these recipes.

  35. Lynsey 15 February, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    Hi, I have a problem of getting very hot at night,
    I sleep with window open even in winter and have feet out of bed.
    From your list I am eating mainly cool and neutral foods already
    But is there something else I can try?
    Love your site
    Regards Lynsey

    • Ping Ming Health 20 February, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      Dear Lynsey, if changing your diet has not helped to relieve your symptoms there may be an underlying imbalance with your Yin and Yang. We suggest visiting an experienced Chinese medicine practitioner for acupuncture and herbal medicine treatment to assist with this. Best regards, Ping Wang.

  36. Ava 10 April, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    hi there,
    what happens if you cook some of the foods considered warming but eat them cold. I have hypothyroidism and have been told to eat warming foods. I make soup out of the warm food list but generally eat them cold. Does that defeat the purpose? thanks

    • Ping Ming Health 17 April, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

      Dear Ava, hypothyroidism is regarded as Yang deficiency according to Chinese medicine, which is why you have been recommended warm-natured foods. You should also eat these foods at a warm temperature (best) or room temperature. Cold or frozen foods and drinks are not suitable for your body at this time because they will reduce the Yang Qi (energy) of your body.

      • Ava 17 April, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

        thanks so much for replying. I will keep on trying to increase my warm foods. I appreciate it. And any other words of wisdom for Hashimoto’s would be appreciated.

  37. ELTer 21 April, 2014 at 2:27 am #

    Dear Ping Ming,
    My boyfriend drinks a lot of water each day (around 120 ounces), yet he still feels thirsty and dehydrated. What foods might be contributing to his feeling dehydrated? Most recently he has been trying to add a little celtic sea salt to the water he drinks because he heard from others that that might help his body absorb the water. Because of this, he does *not* add salt to his foods when he cooks, and he eats mostly freshly home-cooked meals. He very rarely eats food out (at restaurants), and rarely eats foods with preservatives. He doesn’t do a lot of strenuous work either. At his job, he is on his feet for 10 hours at a time (with 1 hour break in the middle), for three days a week.
    He eats a lot of eggs; are they dehydrating?
    I LOVE your website and appreciate all your advice!
    Sincerely,
    ELTer

  38. Jennifer 23 April, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    ELTer, I saw your message and just had to reply. I had this same problem really bad. Dying of thirst all night long, would wake up to guzzle water (almost a half gallon by morning), only to wake up so dehydrated that my eyelids were sticking to my eyes!

    I was on a healthy (or so I thought) low salt diet. I didn’t think that was an issue, because I did get more than the minimum RDA for salt (240mg). But by chance I discovered that salt helped and dramatically increasing my salt intake solved my problem after almost three years of dehydration hell!

    I tried the salt after reading a scientific article about vasopressin, a hormone that regulates thirst and fluid absorption in the body. Salt deficiency was mentioned as a contributor to vassopressin dysfunction, as was overconsumption of diuretics. Green tea is a diuretic, and I was drinking a lot of it at the time, again thinking I was being healthy!

    You know what they say– everything in moderation. I hope this helps your boyfriend!

  39. ELTer 23 April, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    Dear Jennifer,

    Thank you for your message! How did you consume salt to fight off the vassopresin dysfunction? Did it seem to matter whether you were getting salt by mixing it into water, or just adding it to foods, or…?

    I will be sure to tell my boyfriend so that he can look into this!

    Appreciatively,
    ELTer

    • Jennifer 24 April, 2014 at 2:11 am #

      It didn’t seem to matter how I had it. I just made sure I got a lot more–went from about 300mg daily to maybe 2g? Dramatic improvement within days, then steady improvement and fixed the problem completely in about 4 months. My MD was clueless about this, BTW. He told me I had “polydipsia” and that the only known cause was intentional over-drinking of water. He accused me of drinking the water on purpose to lose weight and tried to put me on an antidepressant! Doctors can be useless sometimes. I had to find that study myself!

  40. Harshit Dang 22 October, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    I am 16 years old and i have some white hair. I think its because of the warmness or coolness of my stomach! Please advise me on the food i should eat to stop and prevent these white hairs from coming!

    • Ping Ming Health 31 October, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

      Dear Harshit, 16 years old is quite young to be getting white hairs. If your parents also got white hairs when they were young then this may be genetic. At your age, we suggest reducing stress in your daily life, getting plenty of rest (especially not sleeping late at night), exercising or playing sports often and outdoors in the sun, eating a varied and balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables (don’t overeat sugary foods, junk foods and fast foods). Your body is still growing and needs plenty of nutrition, your white hairs are unlikely to be because of any particular food you are eating. It is most likely to be from too much stress, not enough sleep or eating a poor quality diet.

  41. sunny 24 October, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    I have been seeing an amazing TOM doctor. I have osteoarthritis and severe back and joint problems. Recently, I have been nauseous with moderate to severe, sometimes migraine, headaches. I had cupping and acupuncture treatment today. And was prescribed herbs. My doctor wants me to avoid all cold food and drinks for the next week. He suggests room temperature or cooked foods only. I am a bit confused as I have been eating mung beans and he said they were not good for me at this time. I eliminated gluten and alcohol from my diet about 5-6 months ago. Also he stated that my liver pulse was week today. My question is: should I focus on cooling foods this week? And, are there any books you can recommend to help me better understand TOM food and health relationships? I just found this site and I plan to visit it often. Thank you for your time

    • Ping Ming Health 31 October, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

      Dear Sunny, thanks for visiting our website. We suggest it’s best to follow the advice of your doctor and avoid cold foods and drinks. It’s true that mung beans are a cooling food so you could avoid eating them for the time being. One book we can suggest to start with is “The Tao of Healthy Eating” by Bob Flaws. He offers an easy to understand introduction to traditional Chinese medicine diet therapy. If you are after something more “meaty”, then we can recommend “Healing With Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford.

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