Building Blood requires specific nutrients that generate Blood, and adequate absorption of those nutrients. Absorption of nutrients is maximised by encouraging healthy Spleen qi. The principles associated with maintaining good Spleen function apply to building Blood.
In addition, Blood building requires a greater protein intake. The best sources of protein for Blood building are animal proteins, in particular chicken. It is possible to build Blood on a vegetarian diet, but the results are much slower. The old adage that it takes ’40 parts of qi to make 1 part of Blood’ applies, and the best Blood foods are those that have concentrated jing, the animal proteins. Stocks and soups can be made with organic chicken or beef bones which release pure jing from their bone marrow. When animal protein is not appropriate, some form of supplementation, in the form of tablets or liquid, may be useful, at least in the short term.
Green leafy vegetables, that is, those that are chlorophyll rich are especially beneficial, as they not only contain iron, but have other components that assist in the absorption and utilisation of iron, and manufacture of Blood.
Blood quality is also directly affected by the level of additives in food, especially hormones and excessive sugar and salt. Meat should be organic, or at least chemical free. Where this is not possible, it is better to have some lesser quality meat than none at all. When liver is used it must be organic, as the liver concentrates additives in animal feed.
Same basic approach as for Spleen qi deficiency (as the Spleen produces Blood): warm, cooked food, long-slow cooked food, soups, broths, stews, thourough chewing, simple combinations of a few ingredients, smaller meals more often, regular meal times, high complex carbohydrates and vegetables, iron and protein rich food; folic acid and vitamin B12. In strict vegetarian diets, B12 may need to be supplemented in tablet form. No: excessive fluids with meals; overeating; missing meals, eating while working.
high quality protein, meat (especially chicken meat and soup, beef and pork liver and pork trotter), kidney, lamb pigeon, oyster, mussel, shark, eel, mackerel, tuna, anchovy, stocks and broths, bone marrow, eggs, legumes, black bean, green leafy vegetables, wheatgrass, spinach, carrots, beetroot, parsley, molasses, fermented bean products, miso, tempeh, seaweed, spirulina, black sesame seed, lychee, coconut, rice, stout, Guiness, vegemite, marmite, white rice and rice porridge (congee), oats, roasted barley, spelt, pumpkin, sweet potato, celeriac, squash, corn, parsnip, stewed fruit.
Small amounts of: onion, leek, garlic, turnip, pepper, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel, kitchen spices, molasses, dates, rice syrup, barley malt, palm sugar.
Liver Blood def.:
as for general Blood deficiency, plus lycium fruit (gou qi zi), excellent cooked with chicken or in rice porridge)
Restrict or avoid:
As for Spleen qi deficiency: cold natured, uncooked and raw food, salads, raw fruits (whole and juiced, especially citrus), wheat, sprouts, and cereal grasses, tomato, spinach, swiss chard, tofu,, millet, seaweeds, brown rice, antibiotics, vitamin C (over 1-2 grams per day), congesting damp generating food such as ice cream and dairy foods (except a little butter and yogurt), sugar, chocolate, nuts and seeds (except walnuts, and nut butters , plus bitter, sour, salty and pungent/hot foods, refined sugars, chemical additives, hormones.
Recommended proportions for building Blood
The emphasis of a Blood building diet should be towards green leafy vegetable matter (30-40%) and high quality, preferably organic, animal, protein (20-30%), with around 30-40% as complex carbohydrates (rice, wheat, oat, starchy root vegetables, etc.) As the Blood is replenished the overall proportion of the diet can be altered to reflect the general Spleen strengthening proportions.