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8 Foods to Restore and Balance Your Qi : Qi Deficiency Diet

Qi is considered the vital energy that circulates throughout the human body. When Qi is deficient, the result can be fatigue, lack of energy, poor mood, digestion issues, or just plain not feeling well. Those who experience Qi deficiency may find that a poor diet is to blame. Thankfully, there are many nourishing foods that can improve Qi defiance and help to avoid feeling unwell. To learn more about a Qi deficiency diet and the eight foods to restore and balance your Qi, read on. 


How is Qi Deficiency Diagnosed? – Tongue Diagnose and More

So what is Qi deficiency? Qi deficiency is not something that can be diagnosed with a blood test. Instead, TCM practitioners take a full-body approach and observe a patient’s symptoms. The tongue is typically given special attention in diagnosis of Qi deficiency by Chinese Medicine experts. The tongue is said to be a powerful indicator of internal imbalance. A Qi deficiency tongue will have a mark of the tooth on the edge of it. Issues such as bloating, indigestion, and gas, are indicators of Qi deficiency as they reveal that both the stomach and spleen are not properly functioning. When stomach and spleen Qi are deficient, the result will be poor nutrient absorption and an inability to convert nutrients into blood and Qi. The poor digestion symptoms are often accompanied by a general feeling of fatigue. 


Causes of Qi Deficiency

 There are possible environmental factors combined with a poor, unbalanced diet. Foods grown with certain pesticides as well as certain antibiotics may lead to Qi deficiency. 

Food for Qi Deficiency

If there is good news about a Qi deficiency caused by a poor diet, it is that a stomach and spleen Qi deficiency diet can help to invigorate Qi and reduce or eliminate the symptoms that are associated with it. For example:


1.Soup: Warm foods, such as soup and bone broth, are efficiently and easily digested by the body to allow for Qi absorption. Soups containing green beans, barley, and fresh herbs, which are all considered yang tonic ingredients, help to restore the spleen and improve digestion. 


2.Vegetables: Certain vegetables, such as sweet potatoes  is known for its ability to tonify Qi, Blood, and Yin. It also helps to eliminate toxins.  Green Onions are one of the core Chinese herbs used to Expel Wind Cold (exterior invasion such as cold, flu). Green onions also induce sweating,  eliminate toxins and expel wind. When adding these vegetables to meals, be sure not to overcook them so that all of the valuable nutrients are retained. 


3. Meat: When it comes to meat, it is important to choose lean cuts that are organic and free of pesticides and hormones. Chicken, beef, and lamb are all healthy options that are easily digested by the body. In terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) these meat is known for its ability to Tonify Yin and it is food that increases chi. It also helps to regulate blood.


4. Herbs: Fresh herbs are a great addition to any meal and will help to nourish Qi. They improve the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut microbiome and are rich in nutrients. Add herbs such as nutmeg, ginger, and turmeric to season meals and restore Qi. 


5. Nuts: They are great Qi deficiency foods to eat. Snacking on nuts is a great way to support the spleen. Nuts such as pistachios, walnuts, and pine nuts help to improve spleen Qi deficiency and improve motility. 


6.Whole grains and legumes: Food for Qi deficiency must be easily digestible and easy on the stomach.  Whole grains such as oats, barley, rice, and rye should be included at every meal and make up close to half of a Qi deficiency diet.  


7. Seafood: When eating foods that are difficult to digest, the result can be an excess of phlegm and dampness in the body. Both mackerel and tuna are a couple of examples of easily digestible seafood choices that will help to tonify the spleen.


8. Fermented foods: Eating fermented foods will help to feed the good bacteria of the microbiota. Including fermented foods, such as miso, tofu or sauerkraut, will help to improve Qi deficiency by aiding in digestion.   


9. Rice, barley, and Wild Yam: They are especially good foods for spleen Qi deficiency. These carbs sources can warm your organs and boost the circulation of energy in your body moderately.

Foods to Avoid on a Qi Deficiency Diet

The above foods all have similarities. They are easy for the body to digest which allows for better nutrient absorption. In addition to including these foods, there are also certain foods that must be avoided to improve Qi deficiency. For example:

  1. Cold and raw foods: Foods that are cold, such as raw fruits and vegetables, can lead to both dampness and phlegm since they can be difficult to digest. The body uses too much energy during digestion when bringing cold foods to body temperature.
  2. Dairy: Like other cold foods, dairy, such as cow’s milk and cheese, can also lead to dampness. This dampness can result in joint pain and abdominal distention. 
  3. Sugar: Overindulging in sweet, sugary foods can cause dampness that interferes with the spleen’s ability to function well. 

Other Ways to Improve Qi Deficiency

A healthy diet and exercise go hand in hand. Participating in low to moderate intensity exercise, such as walking, swimming, and yoga, will help the body to metabolize and absorb certain nutrients more efficiently. There is no need to sign up for a gym or start training for a marathon. Yoga can be done in the comfort of your own home. Taking morning walks or having a stroll after dinner is something that can be easily incorporated into most lifestyles. 



If you find that you are struggling with digestion issues and are overall feeling unwell, it may be due to a qi deficiency. Consider incorporating soups, organic meats, seafood, nuts and fermented foods into your diet to help the body efficiently absorb nutrients. In addition to these foods, be sure to steer clear of cold foods, dairy, and sweets as they may create dampness and phlegm that can interfere with digestion. If you would like to reclaim your health and improve qi, then speak with a TCM practitioner about starting a qi deficiency diet. 

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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