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Secrets To Healthy Eating During The Winter

As the seasons change, so does what we eat and how we eat. The winter diet is very different compared to what we eat during the summer months. Nutritional Therapy in Chinese Medicine focuses on how to optimize your diet in order to stay healthy. In the blog, I will share with you tips on a winter diet and winter foods that will even boost your health according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine Tips To Eating Healthy In The Winter

Chinese Medicine Winter Eating For Water Element

To promote health and longevity, it is recommended to modify your diet according to the seasons in Chinese Medicine. The winter months are associated with the kidney and bladder organs, which we call the Water Element. This is the season where we want to make choices that are going to nourish and supplement our kidneys and bladder. So food choices should be focused on optimizing these organs during the winter season.

Winter is also the season of Yin and is the time of year to focus your health on nourishing and build Yin in your body. You maybe scratching you head wondering what Yin means.

Here are few examples what Yin represents...










Yin are the refined fluids in the body like blood, synovial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, and gastric fluids.

So the winter diet will focus on foods that will support the health of the kidneys and bladder while replenishing and building up the Yin aspects of the body.

Best Foods To Eat In Winter According To Chinese Medicine

In winter it is cold outside so the main idea is to eat foods that keep you warm while nourishing your kidneys and Yin aspects of the body. Think of how different you eat during the summer months when it is hot outside and you are sweating a lot.

  • Warm soups, stews, bone broth and congee are excellent meals to incorporate into you winter diet.

  • The flavor associated with the kidneys is salty. Foods like seaweed and kelp are a great addition to incorporate into your diet and go great in broth.

  • Meats-lamb, chicken, wild salmon (organic, grass-fed)

  • Grains/seeds-quinoa, black sesame seeds, brown rice

  • Veggies-winter squash, cabbage, kale, parsnips, leek, scallions, onion, garlic

  • Spices-cinnamon, clove, anise, cumin, black pepper, ginger, turmeric

  • Roasted nuts

  • Legumes-black beans

  • Hot Teas-black tea, pu-erh, ginger, cinnamon, licorice

Foods To Avoid Eating In Winter According To Chinese Medicine

Yin represents aspects of cold, contracts, and constricts. Think about what happens to your body when you go outside and it's freezing cold. You can literally feel your body tighten up and perhaps your body even feels cold to the touch.

When it comes to food it is important to optimize your diet for this cold weather. The key is reduce or eliminate raw and cold foods, which will weaken your digestion. Your body's resources are focused on keeping you insulated from the cold weather.

  • Raw veggies

  • Raw fruits

  • Excessive salt

  • Frozen Smoothies or ice cream

  • Ice cold drinks

I hope this blog gave you some positive direction on how to optimize your diet for the winter months so you can replenish the Yin aspects in your body while optimizing the health of your kidneys and bladder organs.

Winter is a beautiful season of slowing down and curling up with a blanket. I invite you to embrace this season with cup of hot tea and eating well.

Wishing You Vibrant Health!


Stacy Spence is an Integrative Medical Practitioner and acupuncturist in Chapel Hill, NC specializing in pain relief and women's health. She loves sharing her passion for natural approaches to professional women through her online articles and at her clinic, Vibrant Life Acupuncture, on Franklin Street. Call for an appointment at 919.726.6540.

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