Build Blood

Feeling tired and looking as pale as Robert Pattinson in Twilight? You may need to start thinking about getting some more blood… and I don’t mean sucking it out of other people’s veins.  Read on to learn more about what causes anemia and some ways to try and build your own blood with food.

Signs and Symptoms
At first people with mild anemia might not notice any symptoms at all, but as anemia gets worse, symptoms become more and more noticeable. One of the most notable first symptoms of anemia is tiredness and fatigue.  Looking pale or having cold hands and feet may develop along with dizziness, mental confusion and headaches.


Anemia is a common condition that involves a decrease in the number of red blood cells (RBCs) in the body.  The following are some reasons why our RBCs decline:
  1. Iron deficiency
    • Iron is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin, a vital component of red blood cells
  2. Vitamin B-12 and folate deficiency
    • These nutrients are essential for red blood cell formation in the body
  3. Chronic disease
    •  Including sickle cell anemia, arthritis, AIDS, Crohn's disease, kidney disease and some forms of cancer.
    • Gastrointestinal disorders may cause poor iron absorption in the gut leading to decreased RBC prodution
  4. Being a women of childbearing age 
    • A higher risk of anemia occurs because of the blood loss that occurs every month during the menstrual cycle, especially women who have a long and heavy menses.
    • Also pregnancy and blood loss from injury or surgery can temporarily raise the risk of adult anemia
  5. Medication
    • several drugs such as  large doses or long treatment courses of alkylating agents, anticonvulsants, and  antibiotics used in cancer chemotherapy may damage RBC production
 Some foods helps boost your iron levels, but you may also need iron supplements. Talk with your doctor about treating underlying conditions that cause anemia.

Build Blood with Food

In Traditional Chinese Medicine making blood is a multi-phase
process that uses several organs.  The spleen and stomach first extract energy or Qi from the food we consume. From there, it is sent up to the Lungs where it is combined with air. Here, the Lungs and Heart transform nutritive Qi and air into Blood, which is then circulated throughout the body. It is then stored in the Liver and sent out when it is needed for activity.  So if we are not consuming enough quality foods we won’t have the proper building blocks for our body to “build blood”.  The following are some good blood building foods to try and incorporate into your diet:
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Liver/pate
  • Sea vegetables
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Beets
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Leafy greens
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Beans (combined with a grain)
  • Spirulina /blue green algae
  • Nutritional yeast

Other tips to have a healthy TCM spleen:
  1. In general our spleen likes warm cooked foods as they are easier to digest.
  2. Work on good eating hygiene:
    • Enjoying your food
    • Having regular meals in a calm environment 
    • Eating away from stresses or distractions 
    • Eating slower



A long time athlete and health advocate,  Dr. Kumentas’ goal is to help her patients become excited about making positive lifestyle choices in order to enjoy healthier, happier lives.  Her driving force is a passion for healing the whole person on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level using carefully selected natural therapies, fitness, and integrated medicine.  She truly believes in the importance of practising what you preach and investing in your health.  
Dr. Nadia Kumentas practices at Zen Beginnings Wellness Centre in Toronto and has a special interest in dermatology, woman’s health, and pain management.

To learn more about Dr. Nadia Kumentas visit or contact her at

References:; Anemia; February 2011
MedlinePlus; Anemia; James R. Mason, MD; April 2009
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