Chinese Diet and Food Therapy

A balanced Chinese diet includes plenty of Neutral foods such as rice and noodles. The Chinese approach to a balanced diet encourages individuals to eat foods that meet the needs of their constitution.

Because each individual has a different constitution, there are no universal recommendations for a balanced diet. However, Neutral foods have no overriding effect on the constitution and may therefore be included as a staple food.


chinese dietThe types of constitution that Chinese medical practitioners identify include the excess Yang constitution, the excess Yin constitution, the deficient Yang constitution and the deficient Yin constitution. A person’s health and feeling of wellbeing can be positively influenced by eating or avoiding foods that affect his particular type.

The Excess Yang Constitution

This type of person is corpulent, has a red face, frequently feels hot, perspires excessively, tends to be hyperactive and eats and drinks too much.

Foods to eat

White fish, duck, ‘ rabbit, wheat, couscous, barley, millet, green beans, peas, soya, tofu, all raw salads, lettuce, spinach, beetroot, courgettes, lemons, pears, apples, mandarins, watermelon and grapes.

Foods to avoid

Butter, cream, all animal products, hard-boiled eggs, dried meats, offal, fatty cheese, buckwheat, pasta, cakes, garlic, onions, chives, ginger, celery, black pepper, curry, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, seeds and dried fruit.

The Excess Yin Constitution

This type of person is often obese, short of breath, has cold extremities, moves slowly, tends to retain fluids and sleeps heavily.

Foods to eat

Chives, onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, cloves, carrot, celery, fennel, lamb, beef, chicken, buckwheat, millet, chestnuts, nuts, cherries, lychees and figs.

Foods to avoid

Raw salads, cucumber, tomato, watercress, aubergines, seaweed, rhubarb, butter, cow’s milk, cheese, pork, rabbit, duck, wheat, barley, oats, peanuts, sunflower seeds and oil, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, melon, pears and mango.

The Deficient Yang Constitution

This type of person is thin, often tired, pale and cold, with a low, soft voice and a tendency to mild, chronic illnesses, especially in winter.

Foods to eat

Garlic, chives, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, shallots, cooked aubergines, carrots, celery, cabbage, pumpkin, spinach, leek, potato, oats, peanuts, wheat, corn, rice, soya, millet, hot milk, goose, chicken, honey, shellfish, chestnuts, nuts, cherries, grapes, lychees and figs.

Foods to avoid

All raw salads, raw carrot, cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, cold cow’s milk, egg whites, beans, peas, oranges, pineapple, grapefruit and watermelon.

The Deficient Yin Constitution

This type of person is thin, with a dark complexion, dry skin, a warm body and a tendency to low-grade fever.

Foods to eat

Aubergine, beetroot, cucumber, spinach, all salads, mushroom, cow’s milk, egg, river fish, crabs, prawn, quail, duck, lemons, figs, mandarins, papaya, apples, pears, mango, melon and grapefruit.

Foods to avoid

Cloves, cinnamon, pepper, carrot, leek, buckwheat, sorghum, apricots, chestnuts, grapes, fried egg, turkey, pheasant, lamb, nuts, hazelnuts, coffee, wine, alcohol and vinegar.

Therapeutic Uses of Common Foods

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses many everyday foods as ‘medicines’ to relieve a wide range of complaints. Curative herbal medications are reserved for more serious problems that impair the functioning of vital organs.


Rice Neutral, Sweet Relieves diarrhoea; improves poor appetite.
Garlic Warm, Spicy Treatment of flu, colds, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
Carrot Warm Treatment of dry eyes, night blindness and indigestion.
Apple Cool, Sweet, Sour Relieves thirst and diarrhoea.
Banana Cold, Sweet Relieves constipation.
Orange Cool, Sweet, Sour Relieves bloating and indigestion.
Lamb Warm Relieves menstrual pain and brings warmth.
Chicken Warm, Sweet Restores strength after illness and childbirth.