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TCM advice: Foods to nourish our Blood

Updated: 5 days ago


Teapot and cups with blossoms in Spring
Herbal teas to nourish the Blood

As in Western medicine, blood is regarded as the medium used to transport nutrients around the body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Blood (written with a capital ‘B’ in TCM) is moved by Qi (pronounced 'chi' meaning 'energy'). If we lack Qi our limbs can feel heavy or tingly as there is not enough blood reaching the extremities. If any of the major organs (Spleen, Kidneys, Lungs, Heart, Liver) are out of balance or not strong, Blood production and flow can be affected. When our Blood is strong and sufficient we have strong nails, healthy and glowing skin, good memory, good sleep, strong bones and muscles as well as lots of energy.


According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Blood production requires good nutrition and strong Jing; an essence inherited from our parents which is stored by the Kidneys. Jing can move into the bones to become marrow and can be converted, by the Liver, to Blood when needed.

fries, soda and burger
Junk food

Blood production can be affected by a poor diet, lack of food, irregular eating or a weak digestive system. You can read about how to help your digestive system here.


TCM refers to any issue with the Blood as 'Blood deficiency', an overarching term which includes mineral and vitamin deficiencies as well as a problem in production. Women are more likely to be Blood deficient if menstruation is very heavy each month. A lack of Blood due to production issues leads to amenorrhoea (lack of periods), whilst any blockage in the flow of Qi can lead to dysmenorrhoea (painful periods).


Simple dietary changes, with a focus on including Blood building foods, can improve your health if you are anaemic or have been told that you are Blood deficient by your acupuncturist.


Foods to include in your diet to help build blood


Stir fry with fresh vegetables, chicken and pomegranate in a pan
Foods to help nourish the Blood

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Before undertaking any change in the foods you eat please speak to your GP/dietician/consultant if you are pregnant or are on any medication as some foods can interact with medication or exacerbate medical conditions (including high/low blood pressure).


Please eat the suggested foods (below) in moderation as overdoing one can create other problems. Please also ignore any that you don't like or would not eat.



I have excluded meat and fish out of respect to vegetarians, vegans and those who exclude certain meats for religious reasons. If you would like to get the list of meats, fish and dairy, I will be posting a separate post shortly and will pop the link in here.


As a general rule, try to stick to:

~ Warm, cooked foods as these are easier for the stomach to digest.


~ Breakfast should, ideally, be eaten between 7.00-9.00 am as this is when the stomach is most active according to TCM. Skipping breakfast is very common in our society as we all live busy lives and have become used to skipping this meal, choosing instead to have a coffee or late breakfast.


IDEAS:

Spoon of blackstrap molasses mixed into tahini and spooned onto toast (sounds gross but is amazing).


Sprinkle a little thyme on cooked veg. Thyme is very high in Iron.


Fry a small handful of raisins until they expand. Add spinach/kale and cook for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts in the last minute of cooking.


Swap your caffeinated tea for a nettle tea (NOT IF YOU HAVE LOW BLOOD PRESSURE- as nettle lowers blood pressure). Nettle tea used to very popular in Britain. New leaves on nettle plants in Spring were picked to make tea in order to nourish the body after winter.


Snacks: Chinese red dates (also called Jujube fruit- available in Planet organic/Holland & Barrett).


If you would like acupuncture to support your health and well being then please get in touch.



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