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Characteristics of food in our daily lives
In Chinese diet, the notion of cooling and heatiness is related to the balancing of 'yin' and 'yang'. To most people, especially the Chinese, such concepts are very much part of the indigenous culture and are commonly used as a form of expressing certain set of symptoms or sensations often associated with emotional or physical reactions.

The energies of foods refer to their capacity to generate sensations - either hot or cold - in the human body. The five kinds of energy are cold, hot, warm, cool and neutral, and this refers not to the state of the food but its effect on our bodies. For example, tea has a cold energy. This means that when we drink hot tea, it generates cold energy and it is therefore considered a cold beverage. Shortly after you have drunk hot tea, the heat begins to fade quickly and it begins to generate cold energy internally, allowing your body to cool off.

Here are some examples of common foods with different energies.


Dairy / Beans / Nuts Vegetables Fruits Meat Seasoning Seafood
  Heaty Food
Glutinous rice
Sorghum
Ginger
Garlic
Onion
Parsley
Chives
Coriander
Pumpkin
Papaya
Mango
Bergamot
Longan
Apricot
Cherry
Pomegranate
Lychee
Walnut
Chestnut
Citron
Cherry
Ebony
 
Deer meat
Chicken
Mutton
Pig (stomach)
Mustard
Pepper
Chili
Eel
Mussels
Salmon
Shrimp
Clams
Sea cucumbers
Multi-spring fish
Trout
Sea urchins
  Neutral Food
Oats
Milk
White rice
Brown rice
Corn
Red beans
Green beans
Black beans
Soya beans
Broad beans
Black-eye beans
Adzuki beans
Cashew nuts
Peanuts
Lentils
Peas
Snow peas
Pistachios
Black sesame
Eggs
Quail eggs
Lentils
 
Sweet potato
Lily
Spinach
Mushrooms
Cabbage
Carrot
Broccoli
Black fungus
White fungus
Crown daisy
Eggplant
Olive
Ginkgo
Lotus root
 
Grapes
Strawberry
Blueberry
Avocado
Guava
Fig
Pumpkin seeds
White melon
Pig (meat, lung,
meat, kidney, hoof)
Beef
Duck
Quail meat
Pigeon meat
  Fish
Cod fish
Tuna
Octopus
Turtle meat
Pomfret fish
Yellow croakers
Dace
Carp
  Cooling Food
Barley
Wheat
Tofu
Millet
Mung Beans
Cucumber
Lettuce
Sugar cane
Seaweed
Water chestnuts
Bamboo shoots
White radish
Asparagus
Spinach
Celery
Watercress
Bamboo fungus
Arrowhead
Kudzu
Trickle Vegetables
Bracken
Nostoc
Banana
Watermelon
Honeydew
Lemon
Oranges
Mangosteen
Pineapple
Melon
Kiwi
Star fruit
Grapefruit
Dragon fruit
Bitter melon
Persimmon
Mulberry

Pork
Duck Egg
Rabbit meat
Frog meat
  Raw fish
Crab
Escargot
Kelp

It is important to know about the energies of food because different energies act upon the human body in different ways and affect our state of health. If a person suffers from cold rheumatism and the pain is particularly severe on cold days, eating foods with a warm or hot energy shall relieve the pain considerably. Or if a person suffers from skin eruptions that worsen when exposed to heat, it is beneficial to eat food with a cold or cool energy to relieve symptoms.

To seek a balance in diet, we can define food as predominantly yin (cold) or yang (hot). If you eat predominantly yin foods, your body will be capable of producing only yin energy - darker, slower-moving and colder. In contrast, eating predominantly yang foods produces yang energy - faster, hotter and much more energetic.