Nutrition Guidelines for Kidney Yin Deficiency

The kidney organ network in TCM is responsible for the body’s ability to eliminate waste through the urine, and also storing reserves of energy (Qi). A diagnosis of kidney yin deficiency means that the reserves that moisten and nourish the body are weakened and unable to perform their functions. Eating foods that include enriching and fluid building foods, and avoiding overly hot, spicy food can help to preserve and restore kidney yin.

For kidney yin deficiency, the ratio of food groups should be as follows:

40% easily digested complex carbohydrates like grains and root vegetables

40% cooked vegetables

20% protein

Foods that Benefit Kidney Yin

* include plenty of fluids in the form of soups

wheat, oats, rice, millet, barley

eggs, dairy in moderate amounts, yogurt, tofu, tempeh

nuts, seeds, adzuki beans, black beans, mung beans, black soy beans, kidney beans, black sesame seeds

pork, chicken, duck, eggs, organic bone marrow

mackerel, sardines, oysters, mussels, clams, cuttlefish, squid, perch, seaweed, kelp, eel

zucchini, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans, beets, button mushrooms, spirulina

apples, banana, blueberries, blackberries, melons, peaches, mulberries, mango, coconut

olive oil, flaxseed oil, almond oil

Foods to Restrict or Avoid

chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, wasabi, coffee, vinegar, pickles, tea, lamb, shrimp, prawns, veal, game birds, citrus

*also avoid cigarettes, alcohol, recreational stimulants



Clinical Handbook of Internal Medicine, Vol. 2. MacLean & Lyttleton. University of Western Sydney: Australia. 2002.

Chinese Dietary Therapy. Liu, J. Churchill Livingston: Edinburgh.1995.

The Healing Cuisine of China. Zhao & Ellis. Healing Arts Press: Vermont. 1998


This factsheet is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is meant to complement rather than substitute for a consultation with a qualified TCM practitioner