Contributor: Dr. Hilda

When we look through a lens of holistic health taking our cues from Traditional Chinese Medicine, we refer to blood deficiency specifically when part of the body, a particular organ or the entire body is not being sufficiently nourished by the blood.

Blood deficiency is a lack of blood itself and the signs and symptoms can be present far before a CBC (complete blood count test) can show a diagnosis.

There are six beauty signs that point to a blood deficiency that we can all easily access:

  1. Dry or brittle nails
  2. Dry hair or unusual hair loss 
  3. Premature graying hair 
  4. Dry skin 
  5. Pale and dull skin, particularly in the face
  6. Dry and pale lips

If you are experiencing more than 1-2 of these signs dont fret! There are some simple ways to nourish the blood and reduce the symptoms you are experiencing. 

The primary way to support blood is through our food. If the food source is red or dark in color, chances are it tonifies the blood. Despite misconceptions, good sources of iron don’t just come from animal foods, these can be found among a variety of plant foods as well!

Chinese medicine classifies food according to its energetic effects. Certain foods are considered warming and nourishing while others are seen as cooling and eliminating; some foods are useful for building qi while others have blood, yang or yin building proprieties. 

6 Foods for Tonifying the blood: 

  1. Red chard
  2. Red beets
  3. Raspberries 
  4. Kidney beans 
  5. Pomegranates 
  6. Cherries 


Adding these types of foods is easy and delicious! Check out one of our favorite recipes from Feasting at Home with red chard and red beets - always an option to omit the goat cheese for a totally vegan approach. 

warm lentils with wilted chard, roasted beets and goat cheese


  • 34 beets ( enough for 2people)
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ a red onion- diced
  • 3 garlic cloves- rough chopped
  • 4 cups (packed) red chard or rainbow chard- chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 23 tablespoons fresh basil, or Italian parsley.


Preheat oven to 425 F.  Scrub and trim beets and cut into ½ inch slices or wedges. Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until tender, about 25- 30 minutes.

If cooking lentils, place ¾ cup dried lentils in a small pot and cover with 3 inches of water and a pinch salt. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat down to a simmer, cook about 25-30 minutes or until tender but still hold their shape. Drain.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Add diced onion and saute 3-4 minutes. Turn heat  down to medium, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes, until golden and fragrant.

Lower heat to medium low. Add chard and gently wilt, just slightly, about 2-3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add 2 cups cooked lentils to the skillet, gently folding them in and warming. Season again with salt and pepper.

Add beets and splash with 1-2 tablespoons balsamic.  Let vinegar cook down for just a couple minutes so it’s not so acidic. Sprinkle with goat cheese and herbs. Taste again, if it tastes bland it most likely needs salt. Serve immediately.