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What to Eat if You Have Canker Sores

salmon and parsley

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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 combating canker sores. Plus, 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 in 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 acid Cobalamin or Vitamin B12 Zinc Iron4
  • Leafy green vegetables like asparagus and turnip greens
  • Beans like lentils, pinto, garbanzo, black, kidney and navy beans.5 Please note, though, that beans should be consumed in modest portions as they contain lectins, which can disrupt your endocrine system and cause inflammation
  • High-quality grass fed beef and beef liver
  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Scallops
  • Organic and free-range chicken and eggs
  • Raw milk
  • Oysters
  • High-quality grass fed beef and beef liver
  • Raw cheese
  • Wild-caught seafood
  • Raw milk kefir and yogurt
  • Beans
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Organic and free-range chicken liver
  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Grass fed beef and beef liver
  • Free-range eggs
  • Shrimp
  • Kidney, lima and navy beans
  • Pumpkin seeds6
  • Lentils7

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

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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 nonmenstruating 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 nonmenstruating 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 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.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.


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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