The Macrobiotic lifestyle advocates a number of healthy habits, one of which is yin and yang balance. While the terms can be used in a number of applications and philosophies, when we talk about food they are generally defined as:


  • “Cooling” foods, believed to provide moisture to the body in hot weather and help heal conditions such as rashes, high blood pressure, and hot flashes
  • Soy products, such as tofu, and bean sprouts
  • Some meats, such as crab and duck
  • Fruit, such as watermelon and star fruit
  • Cold drinks and water
  • Vegetables, such as watercress, cucumbers, and carrots


  • “Warming” foods, considered energizing and appropriate in cold weather, or to alleviate fatigue, muscle ache, nasal congestion, fluid retention, and depression
  • Foods generally high in fat, protein, calories, and sodium
  • Meat, such as chicken, pork, and beef
  • Warm spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Eggs, dairy, glutinous rice, sesame oil, bamboo, and mushrooms

While not all of these foods are recommended in the Macrobiotic lifestyle – for example, poultry and red meat – they are classified as yin or yang to give us an understanding of how they affect the body.


Examples of YIN foods include:

Apples, bananas, pears, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, spinach, Swiss chard, celery, soybeans, buckwheat, papaya, grapefruit, tomatoes, asparagus, summer squash, romaine lettuce, seaweed, barley.


Examples of YANG foods include:

Cayenne pepper, soybean oil, black pepper, chili powder, horseradish, lamb, trout, whole green or red peppers, cherries, coconut, lemons, raspberries, cauliflower, mustard greens, onion, coffee, garlic, chestnuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, shrimp, mussels, lobster, turkey, yogurt, butter.

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