Five Elements Diet

The Five Elements diet is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is based on the Yin-Yang principle. Here the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water play an important role, thus giving rise to the name of this diet. All foods are assigned to these five elements and are also classified as cold, refreshing, neutral, warm and hot because of their thermal properties. The aim is to achieve or maintain physical and mental balance.

Meaning and Food Selection

The element wood (spring, waxing Yang phase) stands for rising power, for growth, movement and perception. It represents mental and physical freedom, youth and the school years, harmony and development. The element wood is assigned a sour taste. Wood foods include vinegar, tomatoes, chicken and oranges.

The element fire (summer, full Yang phase) stands for heat processes and spreading energy, for the mind and its ability to learn, youth and the school years, charisma and charisma, communication, inspiration, enthusiasm, optimism and joy. Fire has a bitter taste. Fire foods include sheep's cheese, rye and beetroot.

The element earth (late summer, harvest time, the center point) corresponds to nourishment and caring, the calming center, stability and common sense. The element earth has a sweet taste. Earth foods include butter, eggs, beef, corn and potatoes.

The element metal (autumn, waxing yin phase) corresponds to the decreasing life energy, the ability to distance oneself, a sense of justice, retirement and the ability to let go, as well as order and structure. The element metal has a sharp taste. Metal foods include mustard, onions and roast goose.

The element water (winter, full yin-phase) corresponds to a drawing together, to an inner world and secrecy, to trust and self-will, perseverance, power reserves, sexuality and reproduction, death or rebirth. The element water is assigned a salty taste. Water foods include salt, fish, legumes, water and olives.


There is no differentiation between vegetarian and non-vegetarian in the five elements diet, because the value of a food is determined by its yin or yang character and to which of the five elements it belongs. There are neither good nor bad foods, but only recommendable or less suitable foods. To stay healthy, foods with a neutral character should be eaten. A surplus of Yin should be compensated with increased Yang, and vice versa. In addition, the flavors of bitter, sweet, salty, hot and sour of the five elements should be considered when preparing meals. Highly processed foods are considered harmful to health.