What to Eat in Summer According to Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Traditional Chinese Medicine stands by the practice of eating with the seasons. 

Ancient Chinese medical practitioners found out that our dietary requirements change with the seasons, as our bodies have varying needs depending on the weather and climate. In short, eating for the seasons will help you feel better and will be better for the environment.

Yang is at Its Peak During the Summer Season

Yin and Yang are constantly part of the universe, part of your body and have times of the year where they are highest and lowest. Summer is the most Yang season, considered to be the season of Yang within Yang, or Great Yang. It represents outward energy, expansion, movement, warmth, and activity

Yang is often associated with the energy of the sun and light. During summer the days are the brightest, longest, and warmest—all making it the most Yang time of the year.

Cooling Foods for Summers

With summer being hot in most countries, Chinese medical wisdom dictates that our diets should contain more fruits and vegetables at this time to cool our body down and provide enough fluids. 

What Should We Eat in the Summer Season?

If you’re wondering what to eat in summer according to traditional Chinese medicine, here are a few foods to get you started:


The sweltering heat and stifling humidity of summer disturbs the balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body. Watermelon helps your body restore this balance with its nourishing and cooling effects. It has even been said to have calming effects, easing frustration, restlessness, and worry!


Cucumbers are at their best during their peak season, which spans the summer months of May through August. Besides tasting their best in summer, another reason to eat cucumbers over these months is that they clear summer heat and eliminate toxins according to traditional Chinese medicine. Being 95% water, eating cucumbers also replenishes our bodies with the water we’ve lost in the dehydrating heat of summer. 

Mung Bean

If you’re wondering what else to eat in summer, mung beans are a great choice. These tiny green-colored beans are small but mighty, packing a ton of benefits ranging from cooling and detoxifying the body to relieving rashes. 


Rounding off our list of what to eat in summer is the mighty tomato. Chock-full of antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium, this miracle fruit is also highly regarded in traditional Chinese medicine. 

Tomatoes are considered cooling in nature, helping to repel summer heat in the body, while aiding digestion and detoxification. What’s more is that tomatoes are at their peak in summer, meaning that you will be getting the most flavor and nutrition out of them.

At a Glance

  • Watermelon: cooling effects, eases frustration, restlessness, and worry
  • Cucumber: replenished body with water
  • Mung Bean: cools and detoxifies body, relieves rashes
  • Tomato: aides digestion and detoxification, full of antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium

Align Your Diet with the Seasons and Enhance Your Wellbeing

One of my favorite things about TCM is how simple and straightforward it is. TCM theories constantly remind us to keep things simple, eat with the seasons, and lean into the climate around you. If you do this, rather than fight it, you will feel your best. The world around us and the climate have a direct impact on our health and how we feel in our bodies. If you are interested in pairing nutrition and wellness planning with acupuncture treatment consider booking an appointment with our clinic today. To get started, head to our booking page and schedule your first appointment. If you’d like us to check your insurance benefits, we’d be happy to take care of that for you. Many insurance plans cover acupuncture as an adjunct therapy for mental health. Our acupuncture clinic in Washington, DC is in-network with CareFirst/BlueCross and Aetna.

About the Author

Xudong Wang MSOM, Dipl.O.M., L.Ac. profile photo
Associate Acupuncturist at  
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Hi, I’m Xudong! I’m passionate about helping patients feel better. While I specialize in Traditional Chinese Medicine, I also incorporate Western medicine concepts to best serve my patient’s needs and healthcare goals.

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