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World Thalassemia Day: Foods To Eat And Avoid

World Thalassemia Day 2018: Thalassemia patients should avoid foods that increase iron absorption in the body. They can have foods rich in calcium and Vitamin E.

World Thalassemia Day: Foods To Eat And Avoid

World Thalassemia Day 2018: Thalassemia patients should avoid foods that increase iron absorption


  1. May 8 is celebrated as World Thalassemia Day
  2. Thalassemia patients should avoid iron from meat sources
  3. Thalassemia patients should have foods rich in calcium

Thalassemia is a condition in which is inherited genetically and can affect people of all age groups. People with thalassemia are unable to make sufficient haemoglobin, which can cause severe anaemia. Haemoglobin is found in red blood cells and is responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. People who are suffering from thalassemia can manage the condition by avoiding eating foods which are rich in iodine. This is important for people who are suffering from non-transfused intermedia thalassemia. People with non-transfused intermedia thalassemia can have tea with meals, as it can encourage absorption. Overload of iron can be possible in thalassemia patients who require regular blood transfusion. The iron from chronic blood transfusions gets stored in the liver.  

world thalassemia day

World Thalassemia Day 2018: May 8 is observed as World Thalassemia Day
Photo Credit: iStock

After the liver stores are full, the iron begins to accumulate in heart and pituitary gland, and this can be dangerous. Increased absorption of iron from the gut can also be a reason for iron overload in the body.

Certain medications help in keeping iron levels in the body under control. High iron foods such as beef should be avoided by children with thalassemia. Iron content in meat is easily absorbed in the body as compared to other sources of iron such breads and cereals.



People with thalassemia should avoid iron in meat
Photo Credit: iStock

Thalassemia patients should also avoid cooking food in iron utensils. Furthermore, certain foods like orange juice can trigger iron absorption in the body. Other foods like tea, dairy products and coffee can decrease iron in the body.

Also read: World Thalassemia Day: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment For Thalassemia

Foods to avoid if you have thalassemia

Thalassemia patients should avoid pork, liver, oysters, beans, beef, peanut butter and tofu from their diet. They should also avoid consumption of prunes and prune juice, watermelon, spinach, leafy green veggies, dates, broccoli, raisins and peas.

leafy greens

Thalassemia patients should avoid leafy green veggies
Photo Credit: iStock

Foods to eat if you have thalassemia


Cereals like wheat bran, maize, oats, rice and soy can decrease absorption of iron, but only if they are not consumed along with foods rich in Vitamin C such as orange juice. You can have milk with cereals. Soy protein can also contribute to decreasing iron absorption in the body.



People with thalassemia should eat cereals
Photo Credit: iStock

Tea, coffee and spice

Coffee, tea and spices like oregano can decrease absorption of iron. Thalassemia patients can have tea and coffee in abundance.


Thalassemia patients can have tea and coffee
Photo Credit: iStock

Dairy products

Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products can decrease absorption of iron the body. Prefer low-fat or skimmed milk in order to keep avoid weight gain.


Thalassemia patients can have dairy products
Photo Credit: iStock

Vitamin E

Thalassemia patients should have foods rich in Vitamin E like nuts, cereals and eggs. Olive oil can also be consumed in order to increase your consumption of Vitamin E.


People suffering from thalassemia can have plenty of foods that are rich in calcium. Calcium also helps in keeping bones strong and healthy. Seeds, almonds, dates and sardines are all sources of foods rich in iron.


Almonds are good source of calcium
Photo Credit: iStock

Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly can help thalassemia patients deal with the condition quite effectively.


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Thalassemia patients should exercise regularly
Photo Credit: iStock

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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