While Qigong is a healthy way of fixing problems with one qi, there are food sources that can optimize or harm qi regulation. The use of diet to remedy qi deficiency often focuses on the relationship of the spleen to qi levels. Generally speaking, rest and diet are understood as important ways of fixing qi. Qi deficiency can lead to shortness of breath, fatigue, low desire to talk, spontaneous swelling, a swollen tongue with teeth marks on the side and a weak pulse. It is also linked with chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and hypertension and can result to excessive activity with too little downtime.
It is recommended that the individual take naps throughout the day and doing relaxing activities such as Qigong, in addition to improving sleep patterns. Those with a qi deficiency may be prone to stress and have to adopt healthier sleep habits. Qi deficiency may be particularly linked with the spleen, which transmits qi to other parts of the body. Foods believed to improve qi levels include olive oil, energizing fats, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, coconut oil, salmon, avocados, lightly cooked fruits and vegetables and nuts. Foods that are especially good for the spleen include oats, lentils, quinoa, malted grain beverages, orange peels, mustard leaf, pumpkin and other squash, sweet potato, taro and other root vegetables and miso soup.
Foods that are not good for spleen qi include refined sugar and grains, fried or salty foods, citrus fruits, pork, dairy products, iced or refrigerated food or drinks, banana or yeasty foods like beer or dough. TCM considers the spleen a vital organ, in contrast to Western medicine, and is believed by its practitioners to pull qi from the foods we eat and deliver it to the rest of the body. It is typically to the spleen that the TCM practitioner will first look when a qi deficiency is suspected. In general, spleen qi deficiency is believed to be linked with gastrointestinal issues like gas or bloating, nausea and diarrhea and loss of appetite. It is also believed to be linked with varicose veins, hemorrhoids, acid reflux, brain fog, diabetes, difficulty waking up in the morning, and eating disorders.
Other organs are seen as important to regulating healthy qi as well. A heart qi deficiency, for example, is seen as related to anxiety, mood swings nightmares, restless sleep, palpitations when moving and sweating in the absence of exertion. A lung qi deficiency is seen as related to low immunity, chronic cough and shortness of breath and a kidney qi deficiency is seen as related to urinary problems, asthma, hair loss and cold limbs.