Some of us are more blood depleted than others, but the reality is, in today’s fast-pased world of multi-tasking and go-go-go, we could all do with a little blood nourishing.
This is particularly important for those who experience the signs and symptoms associated with Blood Deficiency, because it means their reserves have been depleted to the point that symptoms are starting to show.
Don’t be alarmed. This is very common and totally fixable.
Even if the pattern and symptoms don’t sound like you, and your blood is strong enough to prevent symptoms from manifesting, all of us fall on this (beautifully drawn) spectrum someplace, so it’s definitely still worth building and replenishing for full and vibrant health.
I can say without reservation that in the past ten years of practice and observation, almost every woman I’ve met through my clinic is on the spectrum of blood deficiency. It’s part of our physiological make up. I would say around half of the fellas also, so it’s definitely worth looking into.
What depletes blood?
Sleeping late, concentrating hard, exercising intensely, sweating a lot, burning that infamous candle at both ends and being exposed to stress all tax our blood and leave us a little Blood Deficient, so you can see why it’s so common.
The term ‘Blood Deficiency’ sounds confusing.
It sounds like some people literally don’t have enough blood.
Actually, it’s the quality of the blood that’s deficient, rather than the actual volume.
It’s entirely possible (and very common) to get the tick of approval for a clean bill of health from a GP with a complete and comprehensive blood tests indicating that all is spot-on, and still be considered Blood Deficient from a Chinese Medicine perspective.
Whist a Blood Deficiency won’t send you to a hospital, it is the kind of thing that remains underlying, and can stand between you and fabulous health.
Blood Deficiency can make you feel
- dizzy and lightheaded (on standing or in general)
- weak and exhausted
- have a strong desire for rest and sleep
- blurry, poor vision, ‘floaters’ in the visual field
- muscle cramping or muscle tightness, needing to stretch hip flexors constantly
- dry skin, hair and poor nail strength
- difficulty concentrating and poor memory
- clinical signs of low iron or low blood pressure
- pale complexion
- in women: light periods, long cycles and amenorrhoea (no period) are common
Sound like you? If so, it’s definitely time to rebuild.
These are Chinese Medicine’s very best blood nourishers. Focus on these lovelies for amazing quality blood.
- Almond milk (make your own)
- Red meat and marrow
- Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Black sesame seeds & black tahini
- Leafy greens: silverbeet, spinach, parsley
(pictured here all proudly from my garden)
This is your basic blood building tool kit.
Take a picture of the screen and pull it out when you next go shopping.
If you’re okay with gluten, add oats.
If you have no issues with bloating, add dates and prunes.
Get creative with recipe ideas. Think:
- Quinoa with mushrooms
- Leafy green salads with roasted beetroot and a sprinkle of seeds
- Scrambled or poached eggs with parsley, spinach and avocado
- Quinoa porridge with almond milk, nuts and seeds, black tahini
- Slow cooked lamb shank and spinach soup
- Brilliant little taco mix or rice paper rolls chock full of all these goodies
A few essential distinctions:
Doesn’t appear to have the same blood building qualities when juiced. Eat the whole beetroot for a more nourishing effect. Roasted beetroot is easy and deliciously blood building.
Does not mean a steak the size of your head. No sir. Think smaller, easily digestible portions, like 2-3 little cutlets accompanied by a plate full of vege.
Since the marrow from animal bones is beneficial too, add bones like lamb shanks to your soups to enhance blood building properties.
If possible, buy organic or grow your own. These always make the EWG’s list of fruits and vege most highly sprayed with pesticides. They’re also incredibly easy and fun to grow – you don’t need a big garden and all the time in the world, just a few pots, soil, seeds, and a sticky note of the fridge to remind you to water them!
A note about fresh produce:
Understand that produce from the supermarket is not the same as local produce from a farmers market. I encourage you to look into finding your local market and enjoy getting to know and support your local growers.
Finally, there is one blood nourisher missing.
It’s a Chinese Herb.
It’s pretty popular these days.
It’s the colour of full and vibrant blood.
It is, of course, the Go Ji berry.
To build the blood you can eat goji berries as they are, add to your trail mix for your desk at work, or pop a few into your herbal tea or any kind of soup.
I’ll be back next week with thoughts about how to replicate the Lifestyles of the Blood Rich