Nutrition Guidelines for Liver Yin Deficiency

The yin of the body is the aspect that nourishes and moistens. A diagnosis of liver yin deficiency means that the fluids that moisten the liver are inadequate. A diet that is nutrient rich and supplementing is recommended to build up liver yin. 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.

Some general recommendations for preventing Qi deficiency include eating smaller meals, eating more frequently, enjoying meals by sitting down to relax (rather than while working, or watching the news, for example), and chewing thoroughly so you can both savor the flavors and adequately stimulate the digestive process.

For liver 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 Liver Yin

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

wheat, oats, rice, millet, barley

adzuki beans, black beans, mung beans

eggs, dairy in moderate amounts, yogurt

tempeh, nuts, seeds, tofu, miso, black sesame seeds

pork, chicken, duck, organic bone marrow, organic beef or pork liver

shrimp, catfish, prawns, mackerel, sardines, oysters, mussels, clams, cuttlefish, squid, perch, eel

zucchini, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melons string beans, beets, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, parsley, kelp, spirulina, wheatgrass

apples, banana, mulberries, mango, coconut, peaches, lychee fruit, grapes, raisins, cherries, plums

olive oil, flaxseed oil, almond oil, molasses

Foods to Restrict or Avoid

Chilies, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, leeks, basil, cloves, wasabi, coffee, vinegar, pickles, tea, lamb, shrimp, prawns, veal, citrus fruit

*also avoid cigarettes, alcohol, recreational stimulants



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.