Nutrition Guidelines for Lung Yin Deficiency

The yin aspect of the body is the part that nourishes and moistens. A diagnosis of lung yin deficiency means that this aspect of the lung organ network is impaired. To rebuild yin, a diet that is nutrient rich and yin nourishing is recommended. To do this, it is best to consume foods that are slightly cooked. By lightly cooking food, you preserve the nutrients, and also ensure that they are readily digested and absorbed.

Some general recommendations for preventing Qi deficiency include eating smaller meals, eating more frequently, enjoying meals by sitting down to relax (rather than while working, or watching the news, for example), and chewing thoroughly so you can both savor the flavors and adequately stimulate the digestive process.

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

40% easily digested complex carbohydrates like grains and root vegetables

40% lightly cooked vegetables

20% protein

Foods that Benefit Lung Yin

* include plenty of fluids, especially in the form of soups

wheat, oats, rice, millet, barley

adzuki beans, black beans, mung beans

eggs, dairy in moderate amounts, yogurt

tempeh, nuts, seeds, pine nuts

tofu, pork, chicken, duck goose

mackerel, sardines, oysters, mussels, clams, cuttlefish, squid

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

apples, bananas, mulberries, mango, melons, coconut, peaches, apricots

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, 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.