Ferdinand, 34, was speaking at the end of a week which saw new Football Association chairman Greg Dyke highlight the "frightening trend" of a reduced number of domestic players in the top flight.
The Manchester United defender, who came through the ranks at West Ham, told The Mail on Sunday: "Having so few English players in the Premier League diminishes the English team, of course it does.
"Look at the Manchester City game recently against Newcastle. There was barely an English player on the pitch, three out of 22 starters.
"That is a disgrace.
"If you look at it and ask whether there should be a stipulation that you have a minimum number of players who are English, even just in your squad, I think that should happen.
"If you look at a lot of teams, there are England players who aren't playing for their clubs - yet we're hoping to go to a World Cup and do well!"
Although it would be nigh-on impossible to implement, Ferdinand would look to copy the example of Turkey, adding: "I would do what Turkey do, and have limits.
"In that country, clubs can have a maximum of 10 foreign players on the books, and no more than six in any 18-man matchday squad.
"I know that European laws won't let a legal quota happen. So you can't do that. But if you want to protect English football and its heritage and its future, something like that has to be done."
Meanwhile, former Liverpool and Tottenham director of football Damien Comolli has defended foreign players in the wake of Dyke's recent comments, insisting the FA must shoulder the blame for the national team's past failures.
"Everybody is pointing fingers at the Premier League -because they do not want to look at their own failures," he said in the Sunday People.
"I thought [Dyke's] speech was very poor. The FA needs to produce better quality coaches, and more of them.
"Roy Hodgson will be feeling very frustrated - any manager in his shoes would be. It is not a good thing that there are no English players in the Premier League but people are not looking at the right reasons for them not being there.
"Instead of blaming the Premier League they need to work with them."
He added: "Managers in England have too much say about what is going on. All over the world stability and consistency is the most important thing.
"In England a new manager comes in, then brings his mate to take charge of the under-12s. Most teams change managers about every 18 months, so that brings an incredible instability to the academy.
"That is absolutely killing the youth development in England, I'm convinced of that."