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The benefits of different fruits, according to traditional Chinese medicine

By Gigi Wong 25 October 2019

Talking about fruits, what many may not know is that they are classified into different attributes. In traditional Chinese medicine, fruits are divided into three categories: hot, gentle, and cold, according to their yin (cold) and yang (hot) energy. Before choosing which fruit to chow down in quenching your thirst, one ought to first understand their physique and whether it’s hot or cold. Here’s everything you need to know about the different attributes of fruits and what you shouldn’t eat or eat. But before you take our word as law, do keep in mind that this article is merely an introduction to the attributes of various fruits and in no way should these replace the official advice from a medical professional if such medical attention is needed. Now, go forth and enjoy the bounties of nature!

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Hot fruits

Hot foods are apt for people with a cold body constitution. They help to disperse the chill and reinforce energy in the flesh. How do you know where on the spectrum your physique gravitates towards? People with a cold physique have cold extremities (such as constant sneezing), a paler face and tongue, and often suffer from diarrhoea. Even if it’s summer, after entering an air-conditioned room, they usually need to put on a jacket in order to feel more comfortable.

For example, taking in fruits like mango—a low-calorie fruit that is high in fibre and a great source of vitamins A and C—can improve the “cold” symptoms and, within reason, restore the qi in your bodies. Conversely, those with a heat physique should stay away from these fruits as much as possible as they’ll aggravate the heat symptoms of one’s body, which encompass signs like acne and sweating.

What you should eat: Peaches, longans, litchi, mangos, durians, and cherries

Gentle fruits

Suitable for nearly everyone (excluding those who’re allergic to them), gentle fruits are mild in nature and help to restore vital energy in your bodies. Perhaps one of the best benefits is that they also boost spleen and stomach function, so incorporating these fruits into your diet is always advised. For example, the key nutrients in grapes offer a good source of fibre, potassium, a range of vitamins, and other minerals for the human bodies.

What you should eat: Pineapple, grapes, hawthorn, and plums

Cold fruits

Cold fruits recommended for those amongst us that traditional Chinese medicine considers “hot”: people who usually have a red tongue, get hot and thirsty easily, and are prone to constipation. Especially in summer when the weather is steaming, cold (yin) energy fruits are usually better than “warm” (yang) energy fruits as they help reap a balance of heat and coldness in one’s body. Watermelon, for instance, is one of the most recommended fruits in summer. It can help dispel pathogenic heat, promote the creation of fluid, and act as a diuretic. Nevertheless, those who have poor digestion and tend to have diarrhoea should avoid cool or cold fruits since they’re very sour and will just worsen the symptoms.

What you should eat: Apples, pears, oranges, bananas, persimmons, watermelons, blueberries, and kiwi fruits.

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Gigi Wong

Junior editor

From Hollywood blockbusters to indie flicks, Gigi loves just everything about films. Aside from rock & roll, she is also partial to jazz and vintage music. You can find her indulging in all sorts of books, eating out, discovering vinyl albums, and playing Blu-ray movies on her TV.