Nutrition Guidelines for Heart Yin Deficiency

In TCM the heart system includes not only the heart muscle itself, but also overall blood circulation and aspects of mental and emotional activity. The yin of the body helps to nourish the heart and regulate its functions. A diagnosis of heart yin deficiency means that the reserves that nourish and support the heart and the mind are weakened and unable to perform their functions properly. Eating enriching foods is recommended to preserve and restore heart yin.

For heart yin deficiency, the ratio of food groups should be as follows:

40% easily digested complex carbohydrates like grains and root vegetables

40% cooked vegetables

20% protein

Foods that Benefit Heart Yin

*include plenty of fluids, especially in the form of soups

wheat, oats, sweet rice, millet, barley, eggs, dairy in moderate amounts, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, adzuki beans, black beans, mung beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, fava beans

pork, chicken, duck, eggs, organic bone marrow, mackerel, sardines, oysters, mussels, clams, cuttlefish, squid, perch, eel, seaweed

Zucchini, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans, beets, button mushrooms

Jujube dates, lotus seeds, black sesame seeds, longan fruit, lily bulb, mulberries, apples, banana, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, mango, coconut

Olive oil, flaxseed oil, almond oil

Foods to Restrict or Avoid

*avoid hot, spicy meals, as well as cigarettes, alcohol, recreational stimulants

chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, wasabi, vinegar, pickles

lamb, shrimp, prawns, veal, game birds

citrus, coffee, tea



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 fact sheet 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.