Food recommendation for blood and iron deficiency

Signs of blood deficiency:
paleness of the lips, nailbeds, tongue, and complexion in general, spots in the field of vision, unusual hair loss, premature graying and thin, dry hair, dry skin, and trembling or numbness in the arms or hands.

Blood deficiency is caused by inadequate intake of nutrients, by the inability to absorb nutrients, or by the loss of blood through gastro-intestinal bleeding or excessive menstrual flow. Chronic diseases and stagnant blood that inhibits formation of new blood are additional causes.

To enrich and build the blood through nutrition, there are two general approaches: increase the digestive absorption of nutrients, and add specific nutrients which generate healthy blood. To encourage absorption, build the qi energy of the spleen-pancreas and reduce any damp/mucus conditions.

Iron found in two forms heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron, which makes up 40 percent of the iron in meat, poultry, and fish, is well absorbed. Non-heme iron, 60 percent of the iron in animal tissue and all the iron in plants (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts) is less well absorbed.

Iron rich foods containing heme iron are chicken liver, beef liver, beef, sardines, turkey.
Iron rich foods containing non-heme iron are aduki beans (红豆) and lentils, pumpkin seeds, molasses, red dates (红枣), algae (seaweeds) and micro-algae (spirulina).

The absorption of non-heme iron can be improved when iron absorption-enhancing foods is consumed in the same meal. Iron absorption-enhancing foods are orange, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapefruit, broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomato, potato, green, red peppers, white wine.
Some food items can inhibit or interfere iron absorption. Avoid eating them with iron-rich foods to maximize iron absorption. Those foods are red wine, coffee, tea, spinach, chard, beet greens, rhubarb,sweet potato, whole grains, bran, soy products.

Pitchford, P. Healing with Whole Foods, 2002;