What to Eat If You Have Canker Sores


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  • Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies notably for folate or folic acid, vitamin B12, zinc or iron, can lead to canker sores too
  • Accumulating high levels of iron in your blood, known as an iron overload, could be bad for your health

Paying attention to what you eat is important if you have a canker sore. There are foods that could help speed up the healing process, and some that could worsen the pain.

Foods That Help Heal Canker Sores

People dealing with canker sores should enrich their diet with foods that could treat the sores. Three notable examples include:1,2

Parsley: This herb contains both iron and folate — two nutrients that work well in combatting canker sores. Plus, it was also proven that chewing parsley after a meal can help freshen your breath.

Wild-caught Alaskan salmon: This fish is a valuable source of cobalamin, or vitamin B12. Half a fillet, or at least 200 grams (7 ounces), contains more than the recommended daily value of this particular B vitamin that's good for oral health.

Spinach: Just like parsley, spinach is a good source of both iron and folate that could help heal canker sores.

Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies notably for folate or folic acid, vitamin B12, zinc or iron, can lead to canker sores too.3 Increasing or maintaining healthy levels of these vitamins and nutrients is vital in healing the sores and preventing further occurrences. Some of the best foods that you could eat include:

Folate or folic acidCobalamin or Vitamin B12 Zinc Iron4
Leafy green vegetables like asparagus and turnip greensHigh-quality grass-fed beef and beef liverOystersOrganic and free-range chicken liver
Beans like lentils, pinto, garbanzo, black, kidney and navy beans5LambHigh-quality grass-fed beef and beef liverOysters

VenisonRaw cheeseClams

ScallopsWild-caught seafoodGrass-fed beef and beef liver

Organic and free-range chicken and/or eggsRaw milk kefir and yogurtFree-range eggs

Raw milkBeansShrimp

Sesame seedsKidney, lima and navy beans

Pumpkin seeds6Pumpkin seeds


Complete your pathway to better health by following a diet that contains:

Unrestricted amounts of organically grown and GMO-free fruits and vegetables

Moderate portions of high-quality and grass-fed meat

Substantial quantities of healthy fats from valuable sources like:

Olives and olive oil

Coconuts and coconut oil

Raw, grass-fed butter

Raw nuts like macadamias and pecans (albeit in moderation since they might irritate the mouth)


Animal-based omega-3 fat from krill oil or small, fatty fish like sardines and anchovies

How Massive Iron Stores Could 'Rust' and Wear Out Your Body

Although increasing your body's nutrient levels might seem like a good idea, this cannot be said for iron. Accumulating high levels of iron in your blood, known as an iron overload, could be bad for your health. In fact, it's likely as dangerous as a vitamin D deficiency.

Excess amounts of iron in your blood trigger the formation of destructive hydroxyl free radicals. Once these form, they can greatly damage your mitochondrial DNA, mitochondrial electron transport proteins and cellular membranes, as well as speed the development of degenerative diseases.

People who are most likely to have potentially damaging iron levels are men and non-menstruating women. Meanwhile, some people may also be predisposed to a genetic disease called hemochromatosis, wherein the body accumulates excessive and dangerously damaging amounts of iron.

Around 100 million people in the U.S. are said to have the single gene for this illness, but not all of them get sick. However, if a person has both genes for the disorder, the risk for this condition is greatly increased.

Fortunately, you can check if your iron levels are well-regulated by undergoing an annual and fairly inexpensive serum ferritin test that aims to measure the amounts of stored iron in your body. Ideal serum ferritin levels should be between 20 to 80 nanograms per milliliter. However, if you're an adult man or non-menstruating woman, try to keep your levels between 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter.

These Foods Can Potentially Worsen Canker Sores

Meanwhile, make sure to avoid foods that could both irritate your mouth and exacerbate the pain caused by canker sores. These include:8,9

Snacks like nuts, chips and pretzels, and other salty foods: The salt in these popular items can be potentially irritating for your mouth and/or canker sores.10

Spices or spicy foods: Dishes that contain hot peppers or other spicy ingredients can lead to a canker sore outbreak and aggravate existing sores.11

Acidic fruits like tomatoes, pineapples, strawberries, grapefruits, lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits: Their citric acid can potentially cause the development of more canker sores.

Other acidic foods that you should avoid if you have canker sores include vinegar, pickles, jams, jellies and energy drinks.12

Soda: The corn syrup and phosphoric acid in soda can trigger inflammation and pave the way for more canker sores.

Coffee: The salicylic acid present in coffee may irritate your mouth's sensitive tissue and cause sores to develop.

Other foods that you might be sensitive or allergic to: Eating something your body is either sensitive or allergic to leads to the release of histamine and development of other immune responses.

This eventually results in tissue damage and canker sores.13


Canker Sore: Introduction

What Is a Canker Sore?

Canker Sore Causes

Canker Sore Types

Canker Sore Symptoms

Canker Sore Treatment

How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

Canker Sore Prevention

Canker Sore Diet

Canker Sore FAQ

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Canker Sore FAQ

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References

  • 1 “Best Foods for Preventing Canker Sores,” HealWithFood
  • 2 “Home Remedies for Canker Sores,”Organic Facts
  • 3 Mayo Clinic Staff, “Canker Sore Causes,” Mayo Clinic, March 19, 2015
  • 4 “Anemia & Iron-Rich Foods,” Cleveland Clinic
  • 5 “Folate” The World’s Healthiest Foods
  • 6 Muzaurieta, “10 Iron-Rich Foods You Should Be Eating,” Good Housekeeping, January 20, 2016
  • 7 Marini, “10 Foods High in Iron,” Everyday Health, August 25, 2014
  • 8 Mayo Clinic Staff, “Canker Sore Prevention,” Mayo Clinic, March 19, 2015
  • 9 Waggoner, “If You’re Prone to Canker Sores, Avoid These 8 Foods,” Spoon University, June 16, 2016
  • 10 Murchison, “Mouth Sores and Inflammation,” Consumer Version
  • 11 Editorial Staff at HealthCommunities.com, “Canker Sores and Cold Sore Remedies,” Health Communities, November 4, 2014
  • 12 Grant, “Foods That Can Trigger Canker Sores,” My Canker Sore Treatment”
  • 13 Grant, “Canker Sores and Food Allergies — What You Eat May Cause Outbreaks,” My Canker Sore Treatment