Nutrition Guidelines for Lung Qi Deficiency

The lung organ system combines with the digestive system to absorb energy (Qi) and use that Qi to power our thoughts and actions. A diagnosis of lung Qi deficiency means that your body’s ability to generate and distribute Qi is impaired. To prevent this 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 lung Qi deficiency, the ratio of food groups should be as follows:

40-50% complex carbohydrates, like grains, root vegetables

30-40% cooked vegetables

10-20% protein

Foods that Benefit Lung Qi

Cooked whole grains, glutinous rice, oats, roasted barley, sweet rice, spelt

pumpkin, potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro root, squash, carrots, corn, parsnips, yams, peas, onions, leeks, garlic, turnip, shitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, daikon root chickpeas, black beans, walnuts

chicken, beef, lamb, goose, rabbit

mackerel, tuna, anchovy

black pepper, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel

molasses, rice syrup, barley malt

dates, figs, honey, stewed fruit

Foods to Restrict or Avoid

Salads, raw vegetables, raw fruit, citrus, wheat, sprouts, wheat grass, tomatoes, spinach, swiss chard, tofu, dairy, nut butters, high oil foods, overly sweet foods, refined sugar, high doses of vitamin C, seaweed, chocolate, cold food like ice cream or smoothies, iced drinks, strong tea, wine



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.