Partially quoted from "Heaty and Cooling Foods":

When a Chinese uses the terms 'heaty' or 'heatiness' to describe the kinds of foods he/she would like to have or avoid, most Westerners would probably have no idea what those concepts are or find them strange. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the notion of heaty (yang)(as opposed to cooling or yin) is related to the balancing of ‘yin' and ‘yang'. To most people, especially the Chinese, in Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singaporeans, such concepts are very much part of the indigenous culture and are commonly used as a form of expressing certain set of symptoms or sensations often associated with emotional or physical reactions ...

For example, as eating much もち can trigger 鼻血 so we can assign もち米 based foods heaty foods.

Is there such term in Japanese? How about 消化が悪い食べ物? Is it relevant?

2 Answers 2


The linked article says 'heaty' is yang = 陽 and 'cooling' is yin = 陰. That led me to some Japanese articles discussing 陰 (or 陰性【いんせい】) and 陽 (or 陽性【ようせい】) of foods.

Apparently these articles are introducing the same thing as the linked article, but Japanese people are generally not familiar with such a concept. (And I also feel that those Japanese sites I found are are very "pseudo-scientific". Read at your own risk.)

消化が悪い食べ物 (poorly-digested food) is probably irrelevant.

  • Of note: yin (陰) and yang (陽) both have multiple 音読み; in particular, 陰陽 can be any of いん・よう, おん・よう, or おん・みょう.
    – istrasci
    Jul 20, 2015 at 20:07

Maybe the most commonly heard words are 体を温める食べ物 and 体を冷やす食べ物. When I googled about them, the great majority of the results were related to the concept in traditional Chinese medicine.

There seems to be two streams of technical terms on them. This page uses 寒性 (cold), 涼性 (cool), 平性 (neutral), 温性 (warm), and 熱性 (hot), while this page, 陽性 (yang) and 陰性 (yin). Anyway, they're apparently only known by those are familiar with Chinese medicine.

消化が悪い食べ物 seems to be irrelevant. According to this article, the classification has something to do with protein metabolism that generates energy.

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