Qi is the term used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to describe your body’s vital life energy. Qi is necessary for all life processes: proper organ function, circulation of blood, metabolism of body fluid, growth and development, warming the body, defending against illness, and transforming food into energy.

The Qi that is presently in your body is a combination of your genetic makeup at conception, how you have lived your life since birth (diet, habits, emotions, trauma), and your daily intake of food and air. Because of our polluted modern environment, many people are suffering from Qi deficiency.


Deficiency of Qi is primarily due to the malfunction of Spleen, Kidney or Lung. It can lead to a lowered body temperature, intolerance of cold, and cold hands and feet. Since Qi promotes the circulation of blood and function of all meridians, when it is deficient, your circulation will be poor, water retention will be high, and organ/meridian function will be blocked. Since Qi “defends” against “illness evils”, Qi would be considered the “immune system” in Western terms. When this is deficient you are more susceptible to pathogens, parasites, and other ailments. Finally, low Qi means your energy will be low. Your limbs will feel heavy, posture will be collapsed, you will bloat after meals and concentration will be poor.

People with Qi deficiency also tend to crave sweet foods – especially “empty” sweet foods containing simple sugars (candy, etc).

Hypothyroidism, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”, “Adrenal Fatigue”, Diabetes, depression, PMS, menstrual cramps, headaches, indigestion, obesity, Pancreatitis, Edema, heart problems, Angina , etc.


Overall staples should be soup, stew, root vegetables (sweet potato for breakfast!), ginger tea every morning, warming spices such as black pepper, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne.

– Grains: barley, millet, rice, sweet rice, oats, buckwheat
– Vegetables: asparagus, button mushroom, cabbage, eggplant, peas, pumpkin, shiitake mushroom, squash, sweet potato, tomato, yam
– Fruit: apple, cherry, red dates (available at Chinese markets), figs, grapes
– Protein: black beans, broad beans, fava beans, garbanzo beans, yellow lentils, anchovy, sturgeon, mackerel, herring, halibut, eel, duck, chicken, beef, liver, octopus, clams, organic fermented tofu
– Nuts & Seeds: almond, black sesame seeds, walnuts, coconut meat
– Herbs/Supplements: Bay leaves, bee pollen, royal jelly, licorice, ginseng (Korean, American), jujube dates, astragalus root, cinnamon, cloves, algae


SUGAR and COLD food! Avoid excessive intake of juice, soda, and even fruit. No mint (too cold). We are looking for complex carbohydrates that slowly release Qi throughout the day. Fruit is very cooling and contains fructose, a simple carbohydrate that digests quickly and will not be as beneficial for Qi deficiency. Focus on sweet potato, high quality organic protein, nuts, beans, and seeds. Meals should be freshly cooked and very warming.

Leave a Comment


  • Erica Elliot says:

    For about three or four months now I have had a scalloped and swollen tongue, as well as my ear lobes have been swollen. I believe it to be a QI deficiency as I have a lot of other symptoms…. lack of appetite, weight gain, lethargy, foggy head, continuous cravings for “sweets” … I am just wondering if you had any other reliable resources that I could research to help things along 🙂 I am only drinking hot water and am eating a lot of things on the list above… just wondering what else I could be doing. If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thank you, Erica 🙂

  • chester says:

    Thank you so much for this information it helps me a lot… Godbless You!

  • Jacqueline says:

    Thank you for this amazing information.

  • This sooooo informing helps me with a life changing Wake up call Thank you Thank Youuuu says:

    This is just what I been needing you are the Best

  • Sara Noel says:

    Thank you so much for this critical information. I have been trying to figure out what is going on with me for years now. Symptoms started getting really bad in 2015. I did see a medical doctor who ran labs and told me I had hypothyroidism. He prescribed armor thyroid but by 2 pm each day I felt like I HAD to lay down to nap. I couldn’t function. Stopped all meds and have been trying to figure this out ever since. I have been to chiropractors and herbalists who have helped but this is the final piece to the puzzle. Grateful you posted this. Thank you for the list of foods that treat Qi deficiency and foods to avoid. Very very helpful.

  • Niki says:

    Hi there,
    I have a question. I am trying to make changes to my daily schedule. I have thought about trying to follow a schedule to bring my body back into balance. I am curious to know when the best times to eat are according to the Chinese Body Clock and meal portion sizes? I have read conflicting information that I should or should not have the largest meal at noon because that is when Digestion is strongest.
    Thank you so much,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *