Eat with the Seasons: Spring

 Seasonal eating is a key part of TCM diet and nutrition and it is a bit more than just eating your seasonal farmers market’s produce.

The Chinese calendar divides the year into 24 seasonal points 二十四节气 (also called “solar terms”). These 2-week long seasonal periods make up the 5 seasons. There are certain foods, both dried and fresh, that are more suitable for a particular seasonal point. Since the dietary recommendations for adjacent seasonal points are often similar, and many of you live in climates that may not experience all 24 seasonal points, so we’ve summarized this wisdom into 5 seasons to make the information more practical. 

For example, if you live in the Southern hemisphere, you should refer to “Winter” when you are experiencing “Summer.” 

Let us eat with season and tune-in to mother nature.


Spring Seasonal Points 节气

Beginning of Spring | 立春 | 02.04 - 02.18

As its name suggests, Beginning of Spring lifts the curtain of winter for spring. After that everything turns green and full of vigor; people clearly see that the daytime becomes longer and the weather warms.


Rain Water | 雨水 | 02.19 - 03.05

Rain Water signals the increase in rainfall and rise in temperature. With its arrival, lively scenery starts blossoming: the river water unfreezes, wild geese move back from the south to north, and trees and grass turn green again.


Insects Awakening | 惊蛰 | 03.06 - 03.20 

Insects Awakening alludes to the fact that winters’ sleeping insects and animals are awakened by spring thunder. It is the key time for spring agricultural activities.


Spring Equinox | 春分 | 03.21 - 04.04

On the day of the Spring Equinox, sun is directly above the equator. After the day, the sun moves northward, resulting in gradually longer day time in the Northern Hemisphere and longer night in the Southern Hemisphere.


Clear and Bright | 清明 | 04.05 - 04.19

Fresh Green is also a traditional Chinese festival - Tomb-Sweeping Day. From that day on, temperature continues to rise and rainfall increases, making it a crucial time for plowing and sowing in the spring.


Grain Rain | 谷雨 | 04.20 - 05.04

Grain Rain originates from the saying that goes "rain brings up the growth of hundreds of grains," which shows that this period of rainfall is extremely important for the growth of crops


Spring Dietary Key Words

Liver-friendly foods

Wood element

Sour/sweet flavors are recommended

Yang & uprising foods


Spring's "Good" Food List

  • Vegetables: artichoke, eggplant, dark leafy vegetables, Chinese yam,  Chinese chives, radish, spring bamboo shoots, shiso leaves, celery, purslane, micro-greens, garlic, green onions, sprouts, cilantro
  • Fruits: currants, tangerine, citrus fruits, grapefruit, kiwi, rhubarb
  • Protein:  free-range egg, chicken, shrimp, white fish, rabbit
  • Carbohydrates: wheat bran, rye spelt, brown rice, sprouted rice
  • Herbal: goji 枸杞, jujube dates 红枣, Qian Shi 芡实, Chinese mugwort 艾草, mulberry leaf 桑叶, goji leaf 枸杞叶, aged orange peel 陈皮, lily bulb 百合, chrysanthemum 菊花, ginger 生姜
  • Other: vinegar, white wine, green tea
  • To Limit: over indulgence of alcohol, spicy foods
Written by Five Seasons TCM

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