Stomach Ulcers, also commonly known and referred to as Gastric Ulcer, are a painful digestive problem where open sores usually develop on the stomach lining. This problem is likely to occur more in men as compared to their female counterparts. Apart from the sores in the stomach lining, such sores can also occur in various parts of the intestine especially lying just beyond the stomach.
Such sores are usually referred to as Duodenal Ulcers. However, even the duodenal ulcers are commonly referred to as Stomach Ulcers or Peptic Ulcers. In fact, the entire digestive tracts of individuals are susceptible to get affected by ulcers including the lower throat or esophagus. Since this kind of sores is related to the stomach and adjoining areas, the kind of food would have a direct impact and contact with such sores. Thus, it is important to know what to eat and what not to eat with a stomach ulcer.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Ulcer
Some of the Common Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Ulcer Include
- Burning or Gnawing pain in the center of the abdomen
- Pain that may improve when you eat, drink, or take antacids
- Not feeling like eating because of pain
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Sudden Weight Loss
- Feeling Easily Full
- Burping or Acid Reflux
- Dark and Tarry Stools
- Vomit (bloody or looks like coffee grounds)
Causes of Stomach Ulcer
Stomach ulcer results from the rupture of the protective layer of stomach lining which protected the stomach wall from the stomach acids. This usually happens as a result of
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infection
- Long and continual intake of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, that too at high doses
However, little evidence has been found supporting the fact that consumption of certain types of foods or stress can cause stomach ulcers directly.
Stomach Ulcers Treatment
Treatment of stomach ulcers depends on the cause of such an ulcer. Usually with proper treatment, ulcers can be healed within a month or two. The most common prescription medication for this problem is a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) which helps in reducing the amount of acids produced by the stomach, thus helping in healing the ulcers naturally.
However, in the case of an H. pylori infection, antibiotic treatment needs to be administered in order to kill the bacteria and preventing the ulcer from coming back. At times, stomach ulcers can come back, though this does not happen commonly.
Changes in Lifestyle
Stomach or Peptic Ulcers require changes in the lifestyle of individuals in order to heal completely and naturally. Some of the lifestyle changes which should be initiated include:
- Making dietary changes based on above suggestions
- Changing pattern of diet such as taking smaller meals and avoiding late night snacks
- Getting enough sleep to repair and regenerate damaged cells
- Managing levels of stress
- Light exercises though avoiding vigorous abdominal exercises is advised for individuals suffering from stomach ulcers
What Not To Eat With A Stomach Ulcer?
Since stomach ulcer is a problem related to stomach, following a diet menu which can help heal stomach ulcer is advisable. However, there are certain diet restrictions for individual suffering from the stomach ulcer. These include
- High salt intake in food
- Higher Intake of fat in food should be avoided both for preventing the occurrence of stomach ulcers or any other gastrointestinal problems
- Avoiding large meals and replacing it with 5 to 6 small meals each day since the small meals would require the stomach to produce smaller quantities of stomach acids
Thus Ideally The Food items Which Should be Avoided by the Individuals Suffering from Stomach Ulcers Include
- Red Meat (Only lean cuts and tiny portion sizes can be allowed, though not advisable, that too should be consumed three hours prior to bedtime)
- Caffeinated products such as chocolate, coffee and soft drinks
- High fat dairy products (though can have the low fat alternatives)
- Spicy foods with seasonings of chili peppers, black pepper, mustard, and other strong spices
- Canned Soup
- Tortilla Chips
- Potato/Corn Chips
- Salted Nuts
- Salted Meats (eg. bacon)
- Blue Cheese
- Soy Sauce
- Pickled Vegetables
- Preserved or Canned Vegetables
- Packaged and Processed Foods
- Pre Prepared Meals
What To Eat With A Stomach Ulcer?
In order to facilitate natural healing of stomach ulcer, individuals are advised to follow a strict diet plan which consists of food items used for ulcer healing. These foods include
- Food with lower fat content speed up the recovery process
- Low sugar content foods
- Food with high fiber content
Some Food Items which Should be Included in the Regular diet of the Individuals Helping their Body in Healing stomach Ulcers Include
- Fruits such as berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries), grapes, apples, apricots and kiwi fruit since the beta-carotene and vitamin C levels help in protecting and restoring the stomach lining
- Vegetables such as carrots, radishes, spinach kale, cauliflower, broccoli, red/green peppers, and cabbage juice help in protecting and restoring the stomach lining
- Probiotic Rich Foods such as sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, and yogurt (especially with lactobacillus and Sacharomyces)
- Whole Grains (Zinc found in whole grains help in recovering from ulcers)
- Herbal Teas, especially herbs such as liquorices, chamomile, peppermint, and marshmallow root
- White Meats such as chicken (after removing the fatty skin), turkey, and fish (especially oily fishes like sardines, herrings, salmons, and mackerels which contain omega-3 fatty acids which help in reducing the risk of ulcers by producing prostaglandins (have similar effects such as drugs like Omeprazole), a compound which helps in protecting the lining of the stomach and intestines).
- Krill Oil, cod liver oil or other seed oils, in case not consuming fish as a part of the regular diet, in order to supplement the EPA and DHA present in omega oils of fishes
- Seaweeds in the natural form, or capsules, or at least in powder form as a seasoning for foods (Zinc found in seaweeds help in recovering from ulcers)
- Vitamin E rich foods such as hazelnuts, almonds, wheat germ, cold-pressed sunflower seed oil, sesame seeds, soybean oil, will help along with zinc, found in seafood and whole grains.
- Milkshakes and Smoothies made from mixing low fats with soy milk powders or yogurts help in supplying the slippery elm foods which are rich in antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. Beneficial if taken before every meal which helps in protecting the gut of the individual
- Low fat cheese
- Peanut butter
- Tofu and other soy products
- Olive Oil
Diet forms an important part of the well being of individuals and thus individuals suffering from stomach ulcer should strictly follow what not to eat and to eat with a stomach ulcer.
Medically Reviewed By
Samarpita is a dedicated freelance writer with avid experience in the space of health, she specializes in topics related to diet, nutrition, immune-related diseases, detection and prevention of diseases and taking a natural route to cure such diseases.