Qi and yang are closely related concepts in TCM. Qi is the energy that enables the body to move, and our organs to function properly. Yang energy is what warms and activates the body. In the case of heart Qi or yang deficiency foods that strengthen and warm the heart are recommended. These will support not only the heart muscle, but also overall blood circulation and mental activity. It is best to consume foods that are slightly cooked. By lightly cooking food, you preserve the nutrients, and also ensure that they are readily digested and absorbed.
For heart Qi and/or yang deficiency, the ratio of food groups should be as follows:
40-60% easily digested complex carbohydrates like grains and root vegetables
30-40% cooked vegetables
Foods that Benefit Heart Qi
cooked whole grains, rice, oats, roasted barley, sweet rice, spelt, millet, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, corn, parsnips, yams, peas, onions, leeks, garlic, turnip, mushrooms, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, fava beans, eggs, chicken, beef, goose, rabbit, mackerel, tuna, anchovy, perch, eel, catfish
lychee fruit, mulberries, longon berries, grapes, dates figs cherries
black pepper, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel, molasses, rice syrup, barley malt
Additional Foods that Benefit Heart Yang
goat milk, lamb, cinnamon, dried ginger, ginseng, walnuts, Chinese chives
Foods to Restrict or Avoid
salad, raw vegetables, raw fruit, citrus, wheat sprouts, wheat grass, spinach, swiss chard, seaweed
tofu, dairy, nut butter, high oil foods
overly sweet food, refined sugar, high doses of vitamin C, chocolate
cold food like ice cream or smoothies, iced drinks
strong tea, coffee, chilies
Clinical Handbook of Internal Medicine, Vol. 2. MacLean & Lyttleton. University of Western Sydney: Australia. 2002.
Chinese Dietary Therapy. Liu, J. Churchill Livingston: Edinburgh.1995.
The Healing Cuisine of China. Zhao & Ellis. Healing Arts Press: Vermont. 1998
This factsheet is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is meant to complement rather than substitute for a consultation with a qualified TCM practitioner.