The Yin and Yang of Fruits

Fruits generally have more of a yin influence than vegetables and grains because they are usually sweeter. Many fruits have various Yin–Yang factors, so it can be complex to clearly define Yin–Yang characteristics. For example, apples grow on a tree, so even though they grow upward (yin influence), they are small and firm (yang influence) because they grow in a cool climate. Apples are more yang than sweet, juicy watermelons that grow in hot weather.

Some indicators of Yin–Yang influences in fruit include moisture content, growing climate and season, and direction of growth. Size, color, and shape are also factors. Because of the variations of these factors, the easiest way to determine the Yin–Yang characteristics of fruit is by the amount of sugar they have on the glycemic index.

Compare a small, yang apple that is harvested in autumn to a larger watermelon that is juicy, sweet, yin, and grown in summer. Tropical fruits, such as bananas and pineapples are on the yin side of the spectrum, because they grow in a warm climate, and since they are cooling, they tend to create balance with hot weather.

Most temperate fruits have a lower sugar content— apples, pears, plums, peaches, cherries, berries, and sour tropical citrus fruits. Medium levels of glycemic impact are sweet tropical fruits such as bananas, mangos, papayas, pineapple, and others are grapes, cantaloupes, and apricots. Watermelon and dates are highest in sugar content, although since the sugars in dates are much more concentrated than those in watermelon, dates have a much higher glycemic load. The ripeness of the fruit can also determine the level of sugar content.

Cooking method and food preparation affect the yin-yang influence of fruits—dried or cooked fruit has more of a yang influence than fresh fruit served cold.


Listed in the chart below are balanced foods toward the center for daily use and foods on a wider spectrum for occasional use.


spectrum of fruits chart

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