If you ever have problems with scanty periods, iron deficiency, pallor and low energy, or you have a chronic illness that depletes everything you’ve got, blood building may be a good dietary goal for you. This doesn’t mean scarfing all the red meat (though this is incredibly helpful for getting heme-iron into your system). Plenty of plant foods can help build blood by deeply nourishing your cells and providing you the right building blocks for creating the essentials – like your blood!
As we know, nature tends to provide clear signs as to what supports what, so it may be no surprise that all red foods support blood building. Also on this list are purple/blue berries and deep leafy greens. But before you go overboard on one red food or another, it may be helpful to realize that they can act differently in the body. I will keep this simple and give just a couple examples to think about.
Beets are incredibly nourishing because they are earthy, deep, and rich. They are also sweet, cooling, and damp. Strawberries are also sweet and cooling, but they have a warmer quality that I feel is shown in their much brighter, hotter colour. If you think about how these foods grow – beets develop underground, deeply resonant of the earth in which they cloak themselves, while strawberries are ripened and flavoured by the sun, glowing brightly to signal the arrival of summer.
So why might this matter? People have different constitutions and even more people have imbalances of these. A fiery person or an inflammatory imbalance my do better with less red berries and more deeply hued plants like beets, blueberries and leafy greens such as collards and kale. Their cooling and deeply nourishing qualities will balance heat in the blood and keep that person connected to the earth. Someone of a more water and earth type or an imbalance producing stagnation, congestion, excess weight, and water retention needs some extra warmth to keep them dry, flowing, warm, and energized. Bright reds are more helpful here, such as sun-ripened berries and peppers, and red meats are helpful here also. Always be careful not to push your pendulum too far in the opposite direction, and be mindful of what your body is asking for. Keeping a good balance may look like combining cool and warm to create a strong support and keep your blood flowing.
Strawberry Beet Cacao Smoothie
2/3 c. strawberries
1/4 c. beet, chopped or grated
1 Tbsp cacao
1 tsp ground flax (optional, not AIP, helps remove harmful estrogens/adds omega3 fats)
1-2 c. plant milk or water (or try hibiscus/rosehip tea)
Pinch ginger (optional, for warmth)
1 Tbsp collagen (optional, for gut/joint healing)
*Add 1 cup of leafy greens for more blood building and extra cell boosting nutrients!
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend away – add second cup of liquid to achieve desired texture or to help your blender along with the job. Enjoy!