Everyone has a different blood, metabolism, and body type. So, it makes sense that there is no “one size fits all” diet. Naturopathic physician Peter D’Adamo wrote his New York Times bestseller, Eat Right 4 Your Type, to show there’s an important connection between a person’s blood and their food intake. According to D’Adamo’s theory, there are important health benefits to eating certain foods and avoiding others according to your blood type. These benefits include reduced inflammation, easier weight management, reduced risk of disease, and improved digestion and metabolism. What’s not to like? Eating for your blood type seems to be the best route to living your best life. But is the blood type diet just another fad?
Fads usually claim success for everyone and tend toward an extreme, i.e., low carb, high fat, no carb, high protein, no animal products, etc., and they might work for some but not many others. However, the blood type diet doesn’t take either approach, but rather seeks to personalize nutrition by connecting individuals with their internal physiology as well as with their genetic code and ancestral background.
Obviously, this blood type theory is not completely infallible, since we all have different bodies and environments, though it is strongly backed by positive results. D’Adamo’s studies and research cases earned the following results: “In the 6,617 individuals who reported their results from following the Blood Type Diet for a period of one month or more, three out of four (71-78%) had significant improvement in a variety of health conditions.” Among these, weight loss was the most significant effect, but there were also great “improvements in digestive function, resistance to stress, overall energy and mental clarity.” There don’t seem to be any negatives as a by-product of this diet theory!
Public figures like Hailey Baldwin Bieber, celebrity chef Kristin O’Connor, and model Miranda Kerr follow the blood type diet and have found great success with it. Evie magazine founder Brittany Martinez says her friend Justin Gelband, who has trained Victoria’s Secret supermodels and celebrities like Taylor Swift, is a strong proponent of the blood type diet as well.
Blood Types Overview
As you most likely know, there are four main blood groups, with a total of eight in all. The four main groups are A, B, AB, and O. Each group contains either a negative or positive Rh factor, making the blood either negative or positive (i.e., O- or B+). Not only is it good to know your blood type in case you need an emergency blood transfusion, but this self-awareness could be the key to supercharging your body’s vitality via nutrition!
If you don’t know your blood type, it’s actually pretty easy to find out. You can either request the test at your next checkup with your doctor, or make an appointment for bloodwork, or simply order a DIY test kit from Amazon (less than $10) and do it in a few minutes at home. For a free option, you could donate blood to the Red Cross. And of course, your blood type is printed on your birth certificate.
The Difference Different Blood Types Make
It makes sense that different blood types would have a correlating diet plan specific to them, so your body can receive personalized nutrition. This concept of type-specific diets is based on the genetic makeup of the individual that was, at one point, accustomed to a certain ancestral diet. Variations in strengths and weaknesses, adaptability, and immunity all come from our ancestral journey through environmental changes and challenges. As our ancestors moved through different geographic locations, their systems were forced to adapt to local foods (and environmental parasites and bacteria) in order to survive and later thrive in their new homeland. This adaptation influenced the infrastructure of gut bacteria, antigen quality, and blood types that have been handed down to us through the generations.
Each blood type contains different antigens, and those antigens influence our digestion and cause our systems to react to food in various ways. D’Adamo explains that lectins present in certain foods cause our blood antigens to agglutinate, or stick together. “Simply put,” he says, “when you eat a food containing protein lectins that are incompatible with your blood type antigen, the lectins target an organ or bodily system and can begin to interact with the tissues in that area.” This process can cause inflammation, digestion and skin problems, weight gain, and illness.
Our blood types also influence our bodies’ gut bacteria, which also affects immunity, digestion, and nutrient absorption. This is why certain people hardly ever get sick, while others have allergies or catch illnesses much more often. And why some people seem to lose weight more easily and/or stay lean, but for others the weight loss battle is ongoing. Dr. D’Adamo explains that this “originated from our ancestors whose digestive tracts developed to accommodate one type of diet over another.” For instance, type A blood people who have high metabolisms with certain gut biomes can digest, or “metabolize,” foods like carbs more efficiently than someone with different gut bacteria and a slower metabolism, such as those with types B or AB.
Eating for Your Blood Type
The blood type diet foods are divided into what are good foods to eat and what to avoid, with some neutral foods allowed in balanced moderation. This concept is not born from the mentality that some foods are “bad” in themselves – although processed sugar usually stays on the “avoid” list and won’t ever be recommended as “beneficial” – but they just might be inflammatory for your specific blood type. Every type’s diet includes plenty of foods that are tailored to each body’s digestive success, and if you consume enough of the right foods for yours, your body will thank you with encouraging results! As D’Adamo points out, the blood type road map helps you to nurture your body with a plan that can “correspond to your exact biological profile and the dynamic natural forces within your own body.”
Now, with the increased autoimmune diseases and gastrointestinal problems due to modern contaminants and other various factors, some persons may not be able to digest some things on their beneficial diet, so they should just stick to the foods they can digest. For example, those who have leaky gut, yeast infections, and/or colitis or Crohn’s disease and can’t digest some grains or legumes well can focus more on recommended root vegetables for carbs along with their suggested fruits to complement their fats and proteins.
Let’s get into the details of what foods are recommended to prioritize and to avoid for each blood type.
People with A blood usually have a higher energy output (i.e., a type A personality) and metabolize carbs more efficiently, so they need a good amount of carbohydrates in their diet to sustain energy. Best exercise methods for A types include intense workouts like HIIT, martial arts, and boxing.
Dr. D’Adamo indicates that those with type A blood experience higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than others, so mindful stress management is key to balanced mood and mental endurance. Part of this stress management includes consistent nutrition (no skipping meals, especially breakfast!), as well as sufficient sleep and a good work-life balance. Avoid overwork, large crowds, negative emotions, and extreme temperatures when possible.
Type A blood does well on a pescatarian or vegetarian diet with lots of lower-fat, plant-based foods. Those with type A blood have a sensitive immune system, so eating foods in their natural state, fresh and organic, is extremely important.
Beneficial: fruits and vegetables/greens, fish, eggs, olive/flaxseed oil, legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts), and whole (ancient) grains.
Avoid: red meat (beef, pork, lamb, veal, venison), duck, goose, garbanzos, melon, mango, banana, orange, cabbage, and nightshade vegetables (mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant).
Allowed: chicken, turkey, cod liver oil, and some dairy (goat milk/cheese, ricotta, yogurt, kefir, feta, mozzarella). See more recommendations here.
People with B blood are able to be highly adaptable and thrive in changeable conditions. They do well on moderate exercises that are interactive with other people and require mindfulness and balance, such as cycling, swimming, martial arts, and Pilates. With somewhat high cortisol productions similar to A blood, type B individuals need to practice mindful stress management (visualization and meditation) and relaxing lifestyle habits. A consistent sleep schedule of eight or more hours is essential for B types to maintain a balanced circadian rhythm.
B types should avoid foods that are inflammatory and more difficult to digest, such as gluten, corn, and legumes. As omnivores, people with type B blood should eat mostly hunter-gatherer style with clean animal protein, some low-fat dairy (unless lactose intolerant), fruits, and vegetables. Chicken is problematic because it contains a blood type B agglutinating antigen, so it can cause inflammation, weight gain, and increased susceptibility to strokes and immune disorders.
Beneficial: lamb, venison, salmon, cod, trout, eggs, olive oil, walnut, goat milk/cheese, ricotta, yogurt, some ancient grains (millet, rice, sprouted Ezekiel bread), green leafy vegetables, pineapple, grapes, banana, peppermint, ginger, raspberry leaf, and green tea.
Avoid: chicken, pork, duck, shellfish, bass, octopus, all other nuts and seeds, coconut, legumes (beans/lentils, peanut), wheat/gluten grains, buckwheat, corn, pepper, blue cheese, tomato, avocado, pumpkin, artichoke, and ketchup.
Allowed: turkey and beef. See more recommendations here.
Type AB is unique because it inherits both the A and the B physiologies. Thus, it has a mixture of those two diet guidelines.
People with AB blood type have low stomach acid, so they should avoid alcohol, coffee, and smoked/cured meats (which can cause stomach cancer for those with low stomach acid). While type A blood does better without meat, type B digests meat well, so AB is somewhat of an omnivore at a medium scale with balanced servings of light meat recommended and avoiding red meat. Because of their low levels of stomach acid and slower digestion, people with AB blood should eat smaller, more frequent meals that focus on seafood, tofu, dairy, and green vegetables rather than large, intermittent meals (which may cause indigestion and inflammation).
Beneficial: lamb, turkey, fish/seafood, tofu, eggs, cultured dairy products (yogurt, kefir, ricotta, goat milk/cheese), peanuts, walnuts, lentils, white/red/pinto beans, ancient/sprouted grains (oat, millet, rice, spelt), leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, potatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, cucumber, garlic, ginger, grapes, pineapple, berries, kiwi, and citrus fruits.
Avoid: Shellfish, seeds, seed oils, garbanzo/black beans, parmesan, whole milk, buckwheat, corn, artichoke, sprouts, avocado, bell pepper/pepper, orange, mango, coconut, banana, and guava.
Allowed: olive oil. See more recommendations here.
O blood people tend toward a “fight-or-flight” response to stressful situations and can be susceptible to mood changes and impulsive behavior. To counter potential extremism in energy, a balanced diet of clean protein, healthy fats, and light carbs with vegetables is needed. Stress management also should include mindful eating habits and deep breathing, along with regular exercise. Physical activity helps the O type manage and release tension, and the O type benefits from workouts that engage the muscular and cardiovascular systems.
Type O individuals enjoy higher levels of stomach acid and should observe a high-protein diet of lean meat, fish, and veggies and light on grains and beans. People with O blood have the unique ability to efficiently digest meals that include both protein and fat; however, they do not metabolize simple carbs as well, especially grains. They also benefit from taking probiotics and food enzymes.
Beneficial: beef, lamb, venison, cod, mackerel, herring, olive/flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed, walnuts, sprouted Ezekiel bread, azuki bean/black-eyed pea, leafy greens/seaweed and root vegetables, peppers, onions, garlic, plum/prune, fig, and curry.
Avoid: bacon, pork, shellfish, salmon, caviar, catfish, octopus, dairy, nuts/seeds, legumes (beans/lentils, peanut), cruciferous vegetables, potato, avocado, melon, strawberry/blackberry, coconut, citrus fruits, cinnamon, black/white pepper, ketchup, and mayo.
Allowed: sesame seed oil, sprouted ancient grains, chocolate/cacao, and honey. See more recommendations here.
This article only seeks to give information on nutrition, and it’s completely up to you to choose what you eat! But by many accounts, the blood type diet does indeed work. If you start learning more about your type’s favorite foods, you might be pleasantly surprised and find long-awaited answers in this tailored system for your body.
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