In TCM it is recognized that the body is especially vulnerable to pathogenic cold conditions in the winter time. With this in mind, many fresh fruits are considered to be unsuitable at this time of year because of their yin/cold properties. However, some sweet and sour fruits should still be eaten as they are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. If you don’t know what to buy, consider dried fruit, such as apricots, red dates, lychii berries and prunes, which can be rehydrated before eating if necessary. Locally grown fresh fruit may be soaked in warm water for a while. Though cooking fruit can destroy some of its nutrients, warming it before eating will help lessen the yin/cold effect. Adding spices, such as cloves, cinnamon or ginger may also make it more yang in its action on body temperature and energy.
Kiwi fruits are popular in TCM for their many health benefits and are recommended for those with yang/hot constitutions. Avoid more than one a day in winter as they can cause diarrhea and bloating. If heated, kiwi fruits will still detoxify the liver and dispel pathogenic heat and damp. Add them to savoury as well as sweet dishes.
Bananas are considered yin in property and not suitable for eating in cold and damp conditions. However, while raw bananas can act as a laxative, heating them makes them more suitable in winter for people with yin/cold constitutions. Cooked or baked bananas nourish and benefit the stomach. Cooked banana peel can relieve high blood pressure and shrink hemorrhoids.
*Please note that all of these are general recommendations. It is always best to ask licensed practitioners for customized health advice.
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