Yin deficiency is a pattern of disharmony in the body. According to the fundamentals of Chinese Medicine, everything can be classified as either Yin or Yang. Balance between Yin and yang is important for good health, one keeps the other in check. The Yin in our body is essentially our moisture, our liquid. Our blood is Yin; we are comprised of mostly water. The Yang in our body is our fire, our energy.
When our Yin is deficient, we are no longer able to keep the fire (Yang) in check, so it blazes out of control. This is especially troublesome in the evening and at night when Yin rules (Yin is darkness, quiet, calm). As night falls, when Yin is deficient, the Yang fire blazes and causes night sweats, thirst, restlessness and insomnia. Yin deficiency is prevalent in our society as busy schedules and poor diet wear us down.
The good news is, it is absolutely possible to top-up your Yin by employing some basic lifestyle and diet changes. It takes time and commitment, but it will be worth it!
Causes of Yin Deficiency:
-Not eating enough
-Eating too much salty, processed, spicy and/or drying foods
-Too much screen time
-Overconsumption of diuretics – alcohol, caffeine, medications
-Feeling warm in the evening
-Peeled tongue coating
-Dry, itchy eyes
-Screen time (tv, computer, phone)
-Caffeine (energy drinks, coffee, tea, dark chocolate, cocoa)
-Processed, salty, spicy food
-Drying foods and spices (like garlic, onions, cloves, ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, mustard and mustard greens, nutmeg, thyme, turmeric, basil, parsley, shallots or scallions, horseradish, turnips, radish, cayenne)
Yes to these:
-Get 8-9 hours if sleep each night
-Eat plenty of cooked vegetables
-Drink plenty of water gradually throughout the day – best if warm or room temperature
-Take time to rest, don’t over schedule yourself, simplify your life
-Spend time in nature
Top-up your Yin with these foods:
Eggs, walnuts, avocado, tofu, bone broth, asparagus, kelp, peas, potato, seaweed, string bean, sweet potato, tomato, water chestnut, yam, zucchini, apples, apricot, banana, lemon, lime, mango, pear, pineapple, pomegranate, dairy products, meat, nettle tea, beans, coconut milk, coconut water, and fish.
As always, it is important to eat everything in moderation. Overconsumption of these foods will lead to accumulation of dampness in the body which will cause a whole host of other problems for you. Just add moderate amounts of these foods into every meal.
Andrea Wingrave BSc, RAc. Registered Acupuncturist www.acupuncture-edmonton.ca