Blood deficiency in TCM refers to more than simply anemia (low iron). Like yin, blood refers to the body’s fluid and nourishment. A diet that is nutrient rich and supplementing is recommended to build up liver blood. 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. Also, be sure to chew thoroughly to savor flavors and stimulate the digestive process.
For liver blood deficiency, the ratio of food groups should be as follows:
30-40% leafy green vegetables
20-30% high quality protein sources
30% complex carbohydrates like whole grains, and lightly cooked vegetables
Foods that Benefit Liver Blood
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, spinach, chard, kale, Chinese greens, beets, parsley wheatgrass, miso
lychee fruit, coconut, grapes, cherries, stewed fruit, dates, figs
legumes in general, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, fava beans, tempeh
chicken, beef, pork, goose, rabbit, organic liver, eggs, organic bone marrow
mackerel, tuna, anchovy, perch, eel, catfish, oysters, mussels, shark, shrimp, prawns, clams, seaweed
fresh ginger, black sesame seeds, molasses, rice syrup, barley malt
Foods to Restrict or Avoid
Salads, raw vegetables, raw fruit, sprouts, excess amounts of tofu, dairy, nut butter, high oil food, overly sweet food, refined sugar, high doses of vitamin C, chocolate, cold food like ice cream or smoothies, iced drinks
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.