Blood-Clearing Foods: Improve Blood Quality

Vegetables: Blood Clearing foods
For strong Stomach Function you need good food sources: Vegetables Photo by Iñigo De la Maza on Unsplash

Blood-clearing foods don’t just detoxify – that’s a Western concept – they balance your body if you’ve eaten too many blood-building foods.

Balance is always what Chinese medicine is about, given good quality foods.

  • If you take something that is drying, you need to take something else that is moisturising.
  • If you like hot foods, be sure to balance them with something cooling (though be cautious of eating food that is cold or a diet that contains too many ‘cold foods‘).
  • So, to balance foods that are blood-building, you need foods that are blood-clearing. That’s this page.
  • You also need to make sure your Kidney Yang energy is strong because that supports your Stomach and Spleen as they digest food.
  • Don’t overeat! Overeating overloads your digestion making you lethargic and so you get less out of it.
  • Avoid foods that move slowly through you, or even block movement, like very refined food, processed food, popcorn, deep-friend food, many kinds of pasta and pizza
  • Manage stress if it can’t be avoided. Stress prevents good digestion.

Blood Clearing Foods tend to be Yin and somewhat Cooling

Because many blood-building foods are also somewhat warming, even heating (ie yang), you’ll find that many of these blood-clearing foods are more yin, somewhat cooling.

Firstly, they support your body’s Stomach Yin reserves. These are the fluids your stomach needs to function properly. Eating them is, for most people, soothing. Your stomach feels comfortable with them, and so do you. Being yin, they help take energy downwards, which means they are less likely to produce reflux or nausea either after eating them, or later.

By the way, everbody is different. I doubt that all the following will suit everyone. You have to find equivalents to those listed if some don’t suit you.

NB Nothing works properly without

  • good eating habits such as chewing well, taking time over meals, eating in relaxed surroundings, not working when eating, eating at regular times and not gobbling food on the run …
  • Food of good quality, preferably grown without herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and grown in the sun
  • Eating food that has been cooked and is warm when eaten …
  • … which means NO cold or iced or chilled foods or drinks: no ice-cream or cold juices!
  • excluding raw foods (incuding salads and fruit). (Beansprouts have a cold energy so should be take warm, eg quick-fried)
  • some exercise. If walking far is impossible, try the nitric oxide dump.
  • Reducing Blood Building foods, which are mostly Hot Foods, including meat and fried, roasted foods.

Grains or grain-based dishes that your Stomach likes, cooked and warm

These, for almost everyone, are comforting foods that your Stomach knows how to digest – cooked, of course!


clogstoun congee
Clogstoun Congee – copyright


  • Millet
  • Oats eg Clogstoun Porridgee
  • Barley also, but to a lesser amount as it does contain some gluten, so is unsuitable for everyone

Roots and vegetables for Stomach health, cooked and warm …

These are also foods that your Stomach likes and knows what to do with! Cooked, of course!

  • Artichoke
  • Beansprouts (these are very cooling so should be eaten lightly cooked, eg stir-fried to reduce their cooling quality)
  • Bone broth
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrot (but not over-cooked. Eat carrots when they are still a bit crunchy)
  • Corn porridge
  • Endive
  • Green vegetables in general, including bitter greens eg dandelion greens,  endive, chicory, escarole, radicchio, rapini (= broccoli)
  • Hubbard
  • Kabocha
  • Kale
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Radicchio
  • Rapini or broccoli rabe (be sure to eat the stalks as well)
  • Seaweeds – if you can digest them! Not everyone can. So take in small quantities only.
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato
  • Zucchini


Also to enable your digestion to work properly:

  • Stop foods containing sugar, or that turn very quickly into sugar during digestion, including biscuits, refined bread/rolls, cakes, desserts, puddings etc
  • There are many foods that irritate the lining of the small and large intestines, including alcohol, gluten-containing foods, non-fermented dairy foods, very hot spices/foods like garlic, onion
  • Avoid processed foods,
  • Avoid foods grown with pesticides (this means washing many foods before preparing them to cook)
  • and Add foods that help your digestion like green vegetables, fermented foods, non-glutinous grains (Did I already mention these? But perhaps you didn’t notice?)


Many blood-clearing foods are also ‘moving’ foods.

These sometimes have aromatic qualities which are beneficial.

These blood-clearing foods and herbs are often bitter as well as being somewhat cooling but, where possible, take them cooked and warm:


blood clearing foods such as bowl of green asparagus
Photo by Stephanie Studer
  • asparagus
  • artichoke
  • carrot
  • celery: raw celery has a cold action, but cooking it ameliorates this, making it cooling
  • daikon, a form of radish from the Far East, helps clear your lungs, so aiding your Large Intestine
  • dandelion greens
  • dill
  • grapefruit
  • lemon
  • rosemary
  • radish

To Balance Coldness in Blood Clearing foods, add Warm Spices

Use warm (not hot) spices to balance the cold quality of some of the foods and herbs mentioned above:

  • cinnamon, nutmeg, clove
  • Citrus peel (dried) is warming and helps to regulate the movement of Qi. Use the peel from organic tangerine or mandarin oranges, having washed them carefully before peeling. Save the peel after eating the flesh and if possible dry it out gradually in warm sunshine or in a very low oven (1-2 hours) with the door just ajar to avoid trapping moisture in them. The peels should be very light and stiff to touch. You need very little for them to be effective. Once completely dry, store in an airtight container. If any misture remains when storing, they will rot. This herb is frequently used in Chinese medicine herbal prescriptions, and is known as chen pi.
Citrus peel – Photo by awar kurdish on Unsplash


  • cloves, but in small quantities, because clove is a hot herb
  • ginger root as tea or sliced thin into dishes
  • leaf herbs like cilantro, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, dill, mint
  • cook red wine into dishes: it invigorates the movement of food
  • seed spices include black pepper, cumin, cardamom, coriander, caraway, fennel, mustard seed, grain of paradise, star anise: adding them lightens the yin qualities of blood-clearing foods
  • turmeric as tea or added as a spice. (But turmeric is also drying, and too much on its own might cause dry skin and itch, for example. If you drink turmeric often, to compensate for its drying effect, take more moistening foods, including foods containing healthy oils, such as from oily fish)


Every food has many qualities so very few do just one thing. Some of the blood-clearing foods listed above also contain protein, but nothing like as concentrated as in meat, so they are less heating and drying.

Other pages connected with Food and Nutrition:




Book on Chinese Dietary therapy

The two books by Andrew Sterman listed below give you a real feel for Chinese medicine and how it approaches food as a source of health and disease. I highly recommend them.


Each of the following books also has merits:




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