Living with Thalassaemia – What to Eat and What to Avoid

Thalassaemia is a blood disorder that involves lower-than-normal levels of haemoglobin. The condition is genetically inherited and can affect people of all age groups. Thalassemia patients produce no or insufficient haemoglobin, which is an essential oxygen-carrying protein. They may also generate fewer than normal healthy red blood cells (RBCs). Anaemia, slow growth, fatigue, paleness, and weakness are some of the common thalassemia symptoms. Regular treatment and close monitoring are essential for severe thalassaemia sufferers to avoid serious organ damage and fatalities. Blood transfusions and chelation therapy can manage the blood disorder effectively. Dietary measures can also help manage the condition, particularly non-transfused intermedia thalassemia. To raise awareness about this blood disorder globally and support and strengthen the morale of the Thalassemia sufferers, World Thalassemia Day is celebrated on 8th May every year. This year, global health awareness day will be celebrated on 8th May 2023 and its theme is “Be Aware. Share. Care: Strengthen Education to Bridge the Thalassaemia Care Gap.” The theme emphasizes the empowering force of education and its association with appropriate, quality care for managing this condition. Practising the right dietary measures can help manage the condition by avoiding the intake of certain foods, particularly by non-transfused intermedia thalassemia i.e. thalassaemia patients who do not require frequent blood transfusions. So, you might be wondering how diet can help manage the condition of thalassaemia sufferers, aren’t you? Discover all about it by reading this blog below.


6 Foods to Eat to Manage Thalassaemia

Along with medicines that are essential to treat thalassemia, thalassemia patient diet and nutrition play a crucial role in managing the condition. Adding certain thalassemia treatment foods to the diet can help improve the immunity, bone health, and overall health of thalassemia sufferers. Here’s a list of food to eat when battling thalassemia.


Thalassaemia patients should eat cereals but not foods rich in vitamin C. Wheat bran, oats, rice, and maize are nutritious cereals that thalassaemia patients can have. But, these cereals should not be consumed with vitamin C food sources. So, do not savour these cereals with orange juice and other vitamin C food sources. You can eat cereals with milk to reduce iron absorption in the body. Soy protein may also cause reduced absorption of iron in the body. So, you may have that too.

Tea, Coffee, and Spices

The intake of coffee and tea can lower the absorption of iron in the body. So, thalassemia patients can have these beverages in large yet regulated quantities. Also, spices such as oregano can reduce the absorption of iron.

Dairy Products

The consumption of dairy products, such as yoghurt, milk, and cheese, can decrease iron absorption in the body. So, incorporate dairy products in the thalassemia patient’s diet. You may go for skimmed or low-fat milk to avoid weight gain.

Vitamin E

The deficiency of vitamin E can cause anaemia which can rupture the red blood cells. Enriching your diet with this essential vitamin can help improve your relief from anaemia largely. This is why the intake of vitamin E is vital for thalassemia sufferers. So, add vitamin E-abundant foods, such as olive oil, nuts, eggs, and cereals, to your thalassemia treatment foods list.


Several factors contribute to the depletion of calcium in thalassemia patients. So, adequate intake of calcium is necessary for thalassemia sufferers. Thalassemia patients can savour foods rich in calcium. Calcium helps in maintaining bones healthy and strong. So, include yoghurt, cheese, almonds, and milk in your diet, including a thalassemia minor diet.

Folic Acid

The consumption of foods rich in folic acid can help mitigate anaemia and other thalassemia symptoms. Folic acid helps in the development of red blood cells. So, you may include soya products, bananas, lentils, peaches, whole grain bread, and sweet potatoes in your diet.

9 Foods to Avoid When Battling Thalassemia

Thalassemia patients should avoid foods that increased the absorption of iron in the body. Those undergoing blood transfusion can follow a diet that is low in iron. Prominently, thalassemia patients should avoid foods with high iron content and foods rich in vitamin C. Here’s a list of foods to avoid when battling thalassemia.


Usually, dates are recommended to people who have lower haemoglobin and iron content in RBCs. So, when combating this blood disorder, it is advisable to avoid dates in the thalassemia patient’s diet.

Red Meat

Red meat is one of the top animal-based sources of iron. Iron happens to get absorbed in the meat-eater’s body easily as compared to that of a vegetarian’s body. So, it is recommended to thalassemia patients refrain from eating red meat.

Green & Leafy Vegetables

Leafy and green vegetables are rich in iron. So, it occupies a place in the list of ‘thalassemia foods to avoid’. Avoid consuming cabbage, kale, broccoli, and spinach.


This pleasant fruit has high nutritional content, particularly iron. Also, it has high levels of vitamin C that make our body absorb iron quicker and more efficiently. So, it is advisable to avoid it in the diet when managing thalassemia.


High iron content in raisins makes it a ‘thalassemia food to avoid’ at all times.

Peanut Butter

The moderate iron content in peanut butter is not good for thalassemia patients. So, avoid eating it when managing thalassemia.


All types of beans, such as kidney beans, black-eyed peas, soybeans, and chickpeas, contain high iron content. So, refrain from eating beans when battling thalassemia.

Proteins that thalassemia patients should avoid include oysters, beef, tofu, beef, and pork.
The cream of wheat, flour tortillas, prunes, prune juice, and other foods high in iron and vitamin C should be avoided.

Now that you know which foods to eat and which foods to avoid when living with thalassemia, you may plan your diet accordingly. Let’s spread the word about it this World Thalassaemia Day to help a maximum number of thalassemia patients benefit from it. The guidance of certified dieticians and nutritionists, such as health experts at Health Total, can help you have a personalized thalassemia patient diet comprising all essential foods. Also, it will help you avoid foods that are harmful to your health when dealing with the blood disorder. Our diet plan not only helps improve your relief from thalassemia but also manages your weight, boosts your immunity, and lowers or prevents potential health risks. So, be quick, reach out to us at Health Total and improve your relief and health with our customised diet plan for thalassemia.

Sign up for a FREE consultation with Health Total experts to get more tips for improving your health and relief from thalassemia with diet or managing any other health condition. Call toll-free at 1-800-843-0206 and book an appointment!

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