In TCM, the lung organ system is responsible for certain aspects of the immune system. A diagnosis of lung heat often means that our immune system needs additional support. To do this, it is helpful to eat foods that remove heat and protect the lungs. Even though TCM generally emphasizes lightly cooked foods, raw fruit and vegetables are included in the nutritional guidelines for lung heat, because they are cooling. Since most animal sources of protein are heating in nature, vegetarian protein options are also recommended.
For lung heat, the ratio of food groups should be as follows:
30% easily digested complex carbohydrates like grains and root vegetables
Foods that Benefit Lung Heat
* include plenty of fluids, especially in the form of soups
millet, wheat, barley
tofu, tempeh, soy milk, mung beans, miso
celery, spinach, swiss chard, cucumber, lettuce, radishes, asparagus, eggplants, cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, watercress, mung bean sprouts, carrots, pumpkins, daikon radish, bamboo shoots, turnips, kelp, spirulina
apples, pears, watermelon, peaches, strawberries, lemons, grapefruit, mangoes, persimmons, peppermint, chrysanthemum flower
Foods to Restrict or Avoid
*avoid oily, spicy, hot dishes
chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, wasabi, coffee, vinegar, mustard, horseradish, lamb, large amounts of red meat, shrimp, prawns, veal, cheese, fried food, barbequed food, chocolate, tea
*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.