Foods for Qi Deficiency

What and how we eat can make a big difference to our health. Here are some general and specific tips to help you if you’re experiencing Qi Deficiency as diagnosed by your Chinese Medicine practitioner.

• Include a large variety of foods in the diet.
• Live on a mainly vegetarian diet of light, simple foods.
• Eat largely whole, unprocessed foods.
• Chew and swallow slowly.
• Relax whilst eating; avoid eating while reading, watching TV or rushing.
• Eat regularly. The amount of food and time of meals should be similar every day. Optimal is breakfast at about 7 A.M., lunch around 12 noon and supper at 6 P.M.
• Food intake should be greatest in the morning, a moderate amount at lunch, and a small amount at the evening meal.
• Eat small amounts of food frequently rather than large amounts of food infrequently.
• Avoid eating when in any kind of extreme emotional state.
• Eat moderately at each meal; eat until only 2/3 full.
• Eat clean, fresh, organic and seasonally ripe produce as often as possible.
• Avoid extremes in the diet, such as too hot, spicy, too raw, too cold, or too greasy.
• Balance the five flavours; sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty, to the best of your ability. Ask your practitioner for clarification on flavour categorisation.
• Avoid eating anything 2-3 hours before sleep.

Specific advice for Qi Deficiency


Half of total calories should come from grains and legumes, a third from vegetables, about 15 percent from meats, but to avoid taxing digestion, eat only two to three ounces per serving. Five percent of total calories should come from dairy. Recommended foods include rice or barley broth, garlic, leeks, string beans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and carrots. Also have cooked and warmed foods, frequent, small meals, cooked yellow vegetables, small amounts of chicken or turkey (especially in soups) and warming spices such as dried ginger and cinnamon.


Cold or cooling foods, tofu, milk, cheese, excessively sweet foods, liquid with meals, raw food, salads, fruits, and juices in excess.

Other advice:

If you are interested in specific diet advice to support your fertility journey, start here.

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