• my account
  • cart

Breakfast Cure Blog

drawings of woman awake counting sheep, with malar flush drinking water, and hot and sweaty with a motorized fan

What Foods Make the Best Diet for Kidney Yin Deficiency?

Let’s Nourish and Preserve Yin

Our current times surround us with endless encouragement to produce, achieve and spend our precious time actively accomplishing. Increasing energy and boosting metabolism are very popular. Chinese medicine offers plenty of great insight into building qi/energy and boosting yang/function. However, if you are suffering from dryness, flushes of heat, insomnia, or mood swings you are likely more interested in what foods make the best diet for Kidney Yin deficiency!

So let’s talk about a diet to nourish Yin with food in order to offer a conversation that balances all that over-thinking and over-doing it! Slowing down and embracing the deep benefits of nourishing Yin can be more challenging in this modern life. We don’t experience the same support for nourishing our substance, tissues, and fluids, or for doing less, observing, or reflecting. Some rest is needed during the darkness and cool of the yin season to balance the outward expression of energy over long, full summer days.

Kidney Yin Deficiency

The Kidney-Yin is the root of all Yin in the body, where Jing/essence is stored. This primal Yin governs birth, growth, reproduction, and development.

When Kidney Yin is weak, Yang/heat is not rooted and rises.

The body’s stores of Yin can’t provide needed moisture or nourishment to the organs and cells.

What are the signs and symptoms of Kidney Yin Deficiency?

  • dizziness or vertigo
  • night sweats
  • thirst and dry mouth, especially at night
  • constipation
  • ringing in the ears/tinnitus
  • poor memory
  • hearing loss
  • sore back
  • ache in the bones
  • nocturnal emissions

The Substance of Yin

Qi and yang are easily affected by acupuncture because they are energetic. Yin is substantial and so is best treated with physical substances you can hold in your hand, taste, and turn into building blocks for your body. Food and herbs are the best ways to nourish yin. Because we eat daily, food is a wonderful way to give your body the moisture and nourishment it needs to stay balanced. 

Food is one of the most important tools for nourishing the Kidney Yin and building blood, which is one part of the Yin, moistening and bringing nutrients and oxygen to our organs and systems. Eating the right things is a very simple, easy, and effective way to nourish Yin. Moist, foods that nourish our Kidneys, our tissues, and our healthy fluids can make all the difference. Have you ever wondered what foods make the best diet for Kidney Yin Deficiency? Join me in this fascinating revelation of yin and yang.

Common Causes of Kidney Yin Deficiency?

Chronic illness

Overwork foryears

Excessive sexual activity

Loss of Blood or Body Fluids

Drying up of fluids from improper diet or herbs

How to Build Kidney Yin Deficiency with Diet

As acupuncturists, we regularly feel the rapid, thin, thready pluses associated with depleted Yin. We observe the red, dry tongue without any coat and the cracks in the tongue’s body.

Fortunately, we also have the tools at our disposal to offer simple knowledge about how to build Kidney Yin deficiency with diet. I’m always grateful to have these nuggets of wisdom that I can give the person in front of me to take home. These tools become their own and can be benefited from daily.

Many people who suffer from Kidney Yin deficiency struggle to find answers when visiting their doctors who often lack options for complaints that come from deficiency. This is an opportunity for acupuncturists and doctors of Chinese medicine alike. We have knowledge that can provide our patients with so much relief. This life-altering information is right at our fingertips.

Ideally, meals should be well cooked and easily digestible and moist like soups, congee, and loose porridge.

Foods to Include:

  • oats, millet, barley
  • yogurt, eggs
  • black beans, aduki beans, black soybeans, black sesame seeds
  • bone broth, bone marrow, sardines, oysters
  • seaweed
  • squash, sweet potatoes, beets, mushrooms
  • apples, blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, mango
  • coconut flesh, oil, and cream, almond oil, olive or flaxseed oil

Foods to Avoid or Minimize:

  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • spicey chili peppers
  • citrus
  • excess garlic, onions

Cultivate Patience

Cultivating some serenity and simplicity not only nourishes yin but helps us enjoy the calm, less complicated moments we need. It takes some time to grow a plant or an animal, just as it takes time to nourish yin. 

When experiencing symptoms of Kidney Yin deficiency, many people have difficulty finding solutions to their related symptoms. Though common knowledge in Asian cultures, many of us don’t learn how to avoid the hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and mood swings caused by Yin deficiency. 

Beautiful Distinctions of Chinese Medicine

One of the beautiful distinctions of Chinese medicine explains the two main types of heat in the body:

  1. true heat
  2. false and deficiency heat.

True heat is an actual excess of Yang, while Yin remains intact. False heat or deficient Yin Heat is a relative excess of Yang that develops when Yin is deficient. Imagine so much warm energy without enough substance, tissue, or fluids to calm, cool, and root the Yang. This false heat then rises up causing flushed cheeks, waking up in the middle of the night, cold feet and a hot head, night sweats, and hot flashes. This heat also dries up fluids leading to further dryness and more Yin deficiency.

The Good New

The good news is that there are many easy and delicious ways to bring yin-nourishing foods into your daily life. Learning a little more about the benefits of these foods is inspirational. Who wants better skin, better sleep, better digestion, and more peaceful moods? Exactly!

We LOVE chia seeds for their incredible ability to deliver moisture to the body and nourish Yin. Chia is great for Kidney Yin as black food is especially good for the Kidneys. Added to congee, chia provides a wonderful texture that as a bonus also prevents sticking to the cooking pot!

Check out our flavor designed to nourish Kidney Yin and moisten fluids here.



Read more about Yin-nourishing foods that get to the root, or treat the origin of symptoms and are fabulous for menopause.

Enjoy, experiment, have fun, try new foods, relax while you eat, chew a lot, and most importantly, stop and observe how foods make you feel after you eat them. You are an expert on yourself in a way no one else can be. Grow this expertise by giving a little extra attention to the messages your body gives you.

Breakfast Cure is an easy option for trying some meals designed to be soothing for the organs of digestion.  Our overnight slow cooker and instant pot meals are meant to be made with plenty of water. Browse our flavors now.

Learn more about or join our wholesale program for professionals.

What Foods Make the Best Diet for Kidney Yang Deficiency? Thanks for reading. We’d love to hear your thoughts about foods that nourish and preserve Kidney Yin. Please email us at

Looking for something?