What to Eat During the Spring According to Asian Medicine

By Leslie Radford

Every culture has a dynamic based around food. Asian culture is no different. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine, spring is the season to detox. They recommend avoiding red meat, cutting out alcohol, and reducing sugar intake, as these all cause “heat” in the body. This heat leads to inflammation. 


Asian cultures base many of their living standards around balancing color and elements of fire, earth, water, and air, among a few other different elements. According to this five elements theory, the color red belongs to the element fire. That is why red meat should be avoided at this time. Red meat may worsen the symptoms of skin allergies, which is a common issue during the spring. 


Alcohol and sugar speed up inflammation inside the body, which may cause irritation and disease and are also to be avoided during this time, especially for those who easily get the flu, allergies, or cough in spring.

Cooking Method

Asian medicine recommends steaming and boiling foods during the spring, as foods cooked with these methods are less irritating to the body. Deep-fried food “adds” heat and should also be avoided.

Steamed dumpling

Lighter Fare

So what is safe to eat? Salads with vinaigrette dressings are perfect for cleansing the blood and trimming down extra fat from the winter. Produce that is in season is also recommended, like tomato, green beans, carrot, radish, canola flower, and asparagus. Herbs to add to foods that are safe are celery, peppermint, daisy, plantain, and yarrow. Fish can add to your protein intake and is easy to digest.

Wood Element

According to traditional Chinese medicine, spring belongs to the wood element. This element dominates liver functions and can be easily detoxed with diet.

What to Eat

Dishes you may want to try at Pho95 that similarly follow these guidelines are the Bánh MÌ, Pho, many of the rice and vegetarian dishes, and top it off with a refreshing glass of tea.