Chinese Confinement Food

Traditional Chinese physicians believe that the first month after giving birth is the confinement period when good nutrition is a must. There are special foods and dishes recommended during this month. They can help enhance the immune system and regain the physical strength. Some foods increase the production of breast milk as well, which is very important for the health and development of the newborn. 

Chinese Confinement Food

Foods recommended during the confinement period include:

1.   Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin E. It is a "heaty" food which prevents induction of "wind" to the body. Sesame oil also provides nourishment through improving the blood circulation, vitality, and strength. There are different recipes made out of sesame oil during confinement period like Grilled Chicken with Sesame Oil and Ginger or Chicken Soup with Sesame Oil.

2.   Black Vinegar

One of the most known confinement foods that Chinese women eat during the confinement period is black vinegar. It is often used in the dish of Pork Knuckles in Ginger and Vinegar. The vinegar can help dissolve the pork bone, making the soup rich in calcium.

3.   Black Fungus

Another Chinese confinement food is a black fungus. It is believed that black fungus nourishes the liver, lungs, and stomach. It also promotes blood circulation in the body and purges the body of stale blood, due to being rich in iron.

4.   Old Ginger

Ginger is a recommended food during the confinement period. It is believed that young mothers after childbirth will find significant traces of "wind" in her body which will lead to rheumatism or inexplicable aches and pain later in life if left untreated. Ginger can help dispel the "wind". Ginger is also good for overall blood circulation and intestinal digestion.

5.   Chinese Wolfberry

Chinese wolfberry is a common food used to promote good eye vision. It is also very good for boosting energy, improving strength as well as nourishing the liver and kidney function. Chinese wolfberry is an antioxidant widely used during the confinement period among young mothers in China.

6.   Turmeric

Turmeric is a great antioxidant which has anti-inflammatory properties. It can aid the recovery from childbirth. Braised Turmeric Chicken is a nutritious dish during the confinement period.

7.   Angelica (Dang Gui)

Angelica, commonly known as Dang Gui, is a potent medicinal tonic used mostly for enhancing the blood circulation in the body. Angelica is widely consumed by young women in order to maintain regular menstrual cycles.


8.   Pepper

Another confinement food widely used by young mothers is pepper. It is believed that pepper helps you drive out "wind" as well as promote regular bowel movements and good health of the digestive tract. It is also a great antioxidant and an anti-bacterial herb.

9.   Red Dates

Red dates are another Chinese confinement food that is believed to nourish the blood and stimulate blood circulation. Plain water is generally not used during the confinement period, due to the belief that it contains "wind". Longan and red dates tea is widely consumed. Red dates soup with longan and Chinese wolfberry is also a great option.

10.   Dried Longan

Dried longan is commonly used during the confinement period. It not only nourishes the heart and spleen by reinforcing the blood-building functions but also calms down the nerves and promotes good sleep.

11.   Lily Flower

The period after childbirth is often a rather stressful time for the new mother. The lily flowers are great for relaxation and for avoiding stress. It helps young mothers calm the nerves and mind.


12.   Polygonum (He Shou Wu)

Polygonum is great for your hair. It is believed that polygonum is particularly effective for reducing postnatal hair loss as well as for helping decelerate the graying of hair. Besides these characteristics, polygonum is also great in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure as well as in promoting vitality and internal strength.

13.   Encommiae Bark (Du Zhong)

Chinese women use Encommiae bark during the confinement period for reducing stress and tension. It also helps maintain good circulation and strengthen the kidneys. Encommiae bark is also good for back pain after the delivery.

14.   Chicken Feet

Chicken feet are rich in vitamins, good fats, and proteins. Chicken feet are a great source of collagen which is good for the skin and nail health after delivery. It also helps improve the blood circulation and encourage the production of milk. 

15.   Chinese Rice Wine

It is believed that Chinese rice wine promotes blood circulation and warms up the body after childbirth. It also helps clear lochia (postpartum discharge). It is safe for the new mothers as it contains a low amount of alcohol. 

16.   Other Foods

  • Eating chicken will boost up your mood and energy as it contains the tryptophan amino acid.
  • Another great food widely recommended during the confinement period is tofu. It contains low calories but is very rich in calcium and proteins.
  • Abalone is very rich in proteins and vitamin E. It also helps cleanse the blood.
  • Fish is also recommended, especially dory or carp. Dory and carp increase the production of breast milk, and dory is a great source of omega-3 fats and proteins as well.
  • Other important confinement foods recommended by Chinese traditional physicians include eggs and pig's trotters as well.

Chinese Confinement Food Recipes

1.   Black Date Soup with Black Beans


  • 100 g black beans
  • 200 g red dates
  • 2 liters of water
  • Sliced ginger
  • Rock sugar


  • Soak the black beans for about one hour until they are soft.
  • Pour away the water after soaking.
  • Wash the red dates and cut them into a half.
  • Get a pot and add all the ingredients.
  • Let them boil.
  • Low the heat and simmer the soup for about 2 to 3 hours.

2.   Stewed Chicken Soup with Rice Wine and Cloud Ear


  • 600 g of chicken, defrosted and chopped
  • 30 g cloud ear fungus
  • Sliced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine


  • Rinse the chicken as well as cloud ear fungus.
  • Heat the sesame oil in a wok until it bubbles.
  • Add the sliced ginger and cloud ear fungus.
  • Add rice wine and the chicken.
  • Continue frying the ingredients until they are cooked.
  • Get a stewing pot and add all the ingredients from the wok.
  • Add boiling water to the stewing pot, about three-quarters full.
  • Let the soup stew until the chicken meat becomes tender.
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