Foods to Generate Yang Energy in the Body

Yin and yang are two opposing yet mutually complementary energies in the body that interact to maintain a balance fundamental to good health. At times, the body needs to be active, and at others, it needs to be inactive. Yang energy is responsible for being active, while yin energy is responsible for being inactive. I recall a taxi driver complaining that he found himself falling asleep while driving his cab, which is very dangerous indeed. When people feel sleepy too frequently, it is because they have accumulated excessive amounts of yin energy, and it is necessary for them to introduce more yang foods into their diet to counteract the strength of their yin energy.

An intake of yin foods can make you inactive, while an intake of yang foods can make you active. In addition, when one consumes yin foods, they have a tendency to stay in the body to serve as yin fluids, whereas when one consumes yang foods, the foods have a tendency to leave the body. For example, when you eat sweet potatoes, their fiber and residue will be excreted from the body, but the yin fluids that they generate will stay in the body to lubricate the joints and cavities. On the other hand, when you eat ginger, which is a yang food, not only are fiber and residue excreted from the body, but ginger will cause perspiration, and its energy will be eliminated along with it.

Therefore, yin foods increase the input of energy, while yang foods increase the output of energy, and both are necessary in the process of metabolism. Metabolism involves two fundamental processes: an input process to assimilate and build up energy, which is called "anabolism," and an output process to promote excretion of energy, which is called "catabolism." Thus, it is inaccurate to say unequivocally that the more you eat, the more you will gain weight because putting on weight also depends to a large extent on whether you eat yin or yang foods.

Nowadays, we often hear that to stay slim, we need more exercise. There is a great deal of truth to this statement because exercise is active, which is yang. This means that exercise will shift your body towards the yang side, which is another way of saying that exercise increases yang energy in the body to speed up the output process of metabolism. In Western medicine, there is something called "basal metabolism," which refers to energy expenditure when the body is at complete rest. An intake of yang foods will increase the basal metabolic rate even more effectively than exercise because you are getting rid of that extra energy while you are at rest. This is why some people eat a lot but still remain slim or even underweight, that is, if they are not suffering from diabetes or hyperthyroidism and the like.

A retired man was complaining about his inability to calm down; he couldn't rest during the day, nor could he sleep at night. But worst of all, he couldn't even sit down for very long and had to keep moving around or even jogging, which was a serious problem. This man had become much too active as a result of accumulating great amounts of yang energy. Thus, it was necessary for him to reduce his intake of yang foods and increase his intake of yin foods to reverse the overactive tendency of his body.

Any foods that can increase the active state of the body are yang foods. Many of the foods we eat every day are yang foods, such as black and white pepper, chives, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, and soybean oil. Even tobacco and alcohol are considered yang foods. Consumption of alcohol often contributes to gaining weight, which may be attributed to the fact that alcohol increases a person's appetite so that more foods are consumed, whether yin or yang. Many smokers gain considerable weight very quickly after they quit smoking, which is another indication that yang foods can increase energy output in the metabolic process. Since tobacco and alcohol have many other harmful effects, they are not recommended for consumption even though there may be a deficiency of yang energy in the body.