5 healing foods for the Winter

The wise man thus will nourish himself in spring and summer with yang influences, but in the autumn and winter with yin influences, in accordance with his foundation. PAUL ULRICH UNSCHULD, Medicine in China_ A Histor.jpg

The air is brisk, the days are short and this time of year is perfect for cozying up with a blanket on the couch by a fire. We tend to change our behavior through the year but don’t always change what we eat.

These days we have access to whatever food products we want, whenever we want them. Our ancestors had no option other than to eat what was in season. We have to be sure to rotate what we eat so our body doesn’t adapt to receiving the same nutrients.  Plus, when we eat what’s in season or what our body may best benefit from we can optimize our wellness.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) each season is associated with not just seasonal food but a pair of organs, temperature, color, taste, body structure and sense, to name a few. 

For your insight, here are some of the TCM characteristics of Winter:

Kidneys/Urinary Bladder






Salty & Bitter

There are foods the body may get a boost from that are associated with the season. 

Here are 5 healing foods for the Winter:

  • Bone broth

Since the Winter element rules the bones and broth is warming to the body, it’s a great time to incorporate this healing food.  It’s full of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) minerals, vitamins, gelatin and collagen.  With bone broth you’ll get a solid boost of nutrition when wanting to keep the immune system strong as well as support the lining of the digestive tract. 

  • Burdock Root

Burdock is bitter and is known to act as a blood cleanser. Bitter can bring heat deeper into the body from a TCM perspective.  This just means that it’s a deep healing herb.  It’s known to help remove toxic heavy metals, support healthy skin and helps the body’s lymphatic (drainage) system

(Caution with this as it can slow clotting time and may cause sensitivity if allergic to rag weeds.)

  • Kidney beans

The food associated with the Winter is the bean. In particular kidney beans nourish what is called kidney yin. Kidney yin is the cooling force of that supplies moistening fluids and the prevention of excess heat.  Some kidney yin deficiency signs are dry mouth, dry throat, and spontaneous sweating (particularly at night). 

  • Black beans

Opposite of kidney beans, black beans nourish kidney yang.  Kidney yang is the warming force that moves and energizes. Some kidney yang deficiency signs are cold feet, legs, arms and hands, lethargy, asthma and lower body edema.

  • Micro algae- (chlorella, spirulina, blue green algae) 

These helpful greens nourish the body’s Jing.  In TCM the Jing is like our life force, vitality or essence.  Jing is concentrated in the sperm, ova, brain and bone marrow. The Jing we are born with correlates to our general wellness and development and can not be replaced.  We also have Jing we get from food and that can help our original Jing. Mirco algae are great for cellular renewal and are usually well assimiliated in the body when good quality is used. 

Of course, like always please make sure these foods are harmonious for you mind-body-spirt.  Check with your healthcare provider before incorporating a new herb/food to ensure no interactions or allergic reactions.

I hope this has been insightful for you!

Many blessings,