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Digestive Disorders

IBS + anemia



In addition to irritable bowl syndrome with diet, I`ve got anemia. What kinds of foods would you recommend for me in this case? Thanks.


Many of the foods that trigger IBS also are good sources of iron and must be avoided (such as red meats). However, some food options are available to you. These include iron fortified foods, such as oatmeal, many cereals, rice, pastas, and breads. Blackstrap molasses is a good source of iron. So are skinless chicken (white meat) and fish. I recommend that you check the nutrition facts panel on your food labels and look for the iron content (it is listed as a percentage of daily needs for those eating a 2000 calorie diet). This will help you choose the higher iron-rich foods.

Another thing to consider is that vitamin C-rich foods help us better absorb more iron. Since vitamin C-rich foods include acidic fruits such as citrus (oranges, grapefruit, lemons) and cooked tomatoes (which you may be limiting due to the IBS), make sure to mix them with soluble fiber foods (such as oatmeal, oat bran, pasta, white rice, potatoes, French or sourdough breads, soy, and barley) for better tolerance.

To fine tune your diet and meet your individual health needs, I recommend that you see a registered dietitian (RD). If dietary intake still does not help your situation, be sure to speak with your doctor. A multiple vitamin with iron or an iron supplement may be recommended. Good luck!

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Response by:

Jane   Korsberg, MS, RD, LD Jane Korsberg, MS, RD, LD
Senior Instructor of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University