Stomach ulcers are open sores that develop within the lining of your stomach. According to the American college of Gastroenterology, an organization of doctors who specializes in the digestive tract, there is no specific diet for stomach ulcer a person needs to follow. Food choices don’t cause ulcers or make them worse. Current diet recommendation are now based on research that certain foods may have ingredients that fight against the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori, a main cause of ulcers.
The cause of ulcers can be linked to an infection with the bacteria known as Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori), as well as the chronic use of over-the-counter non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. No matter the cause of your stomach ulcers, healing them is important to alleviate the pain and discomfort they can cause. If left untreated, a stomach ulcer can turn into a serious problem.
Food and Drinks to Avoid
Healthy diet is considered best in supporting people with stomach ulcers. There tends to be a somewhat clearer list of foods to avoid. These foods may increase secretions of stomach acid, causing irritation of the stomach, or directly irritate the stomach wall. Therefore, many people with stomach ulcers find that eating these foods make them feel worse and thus they avoid them.
Commonly avoided foods and beverages for ulcer patients include the following:
- Pepper, including black pepper and other types of pepper.
- Caffeine, including caffeinated sodas.
- Tea, including black and green varieties that contain tannins, which can increase production of stomach acid.
Not everyone who has a stomach ulcer has problem with any or all of these foods though. It all depends on the individual. So consider testing foods in small amounts or a short trial of elimination to see what irritates you.
What to Eat if You Have Ulcers
Since we have mentioned a few foods to stay away from, let us now consider some helpful diet for stomach ulcer. Remember to discuss with your doctor or dietitian about the best diet plan for your ulcer.
Eating a healthy diversified diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber which are devoid of harmful artificial preservatives is key to helping your body heal it’s wounds. It’s also important to avoid smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol as these are risk factors for development of stomach ulcers.
Diet experts suggest that antioxidant properties of dietary polyphenols can support good gut health. Polyphenols are compounds found in fruits and vegetables that support digestion and brain health and provide other health benefits.
Some of the foods that are believed to be helpful in preventing or possibly even treating certain types of stomach ulcers include the following:
- Green tea.
- Curcumin, a compound found in the bright orange spice.
- The leaves of the betel vine (a vine from a family of plants indigenous to southern Asia that includes pepper and kava).
When it comes to preventing ulcers, experts recommend eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber, as this approach may decrease the risk of ulcers. Fruits and vegetables with dietary fiber and vitamin A, reduce risk of ulcer disease. This is possibly related to the protective effects of these foods.
Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants. They reduce inflammation and protect against a range of diseases. Whole foods such as unprocessed fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain a lot of fiber, which has an absorptive capacity, which could lead to less acid present in the stomach.
If you think you might have a stomach ulcer, it’s important to talk to your health care provider. Your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist for more specialized care. Check with your doctor if you have pain in your upper belly, especially after eating or other symptoms like:
All these are signs of stomach ulcers. In addition, if you see blood in the stool or black tarry stools, seek medical attention, as these are also indications of stomach ulcers.