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Most stomach ulcers are caused by the bacteria helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Another common cause is the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including acetylsalicylic acid (ASA). Treatment of ulcers focuses on fighting the infection caused by H. pylori with antibiotics and decreasing the amount of acid produced in the stomach to help decrease the pain and promote healing. The common symptoms of an ulcer are dull stomach pain, weight loss, and not wanting to eat because of nausea, vomiting, bloating, burping, acid reflux, heartburn, anemia, etc.

No food has been shown to cause peptic ulcers but some may make your symptoms worse or make it more difficult for your ulcer to heal. In this article, we will discuss foods you should have and those you should avoid when you have stomach ulcers. We've also given a diet plan for peptic ulcers that contains Indian foods and incorporates all the suggestions given in this article.

(Read more: Homeopathic treatment of stomach ulcer)

  1. Food to improve stomach ulcer
  2. Food you should avoid during stomach ulcer
  3. Diet chart for stomach ulcer
  4. Takeaways
Doctors for Stomach Ulcer Diet

Following are some foods you should have when you’re suffering from stomach ulcers:

  • Fiber: A balanced diet that includes dietary fibre has proven to be beneficial for stomach ulcers. Aim to include good sources of soluble fiber in each meal. Vegetables, fruits, oatmeal, oat bran, barley, peanut butter, nuts, nut butters and legumes such as lentils, dried beans and peas are some you can choose from. This diet, high in soluble fiber, may help prevent ulcers from coming back as well. (Read more: Fiber rich foods)
  • Vitamin A: A Harvard cohort study found that higher total vitamin A intake (in the form of food and supplements) was associated with a lower risk of stomach ulcers. The risk was 54% lower among persons consuming the most vitamin A, compared with those consuming the least. To increase the intake of this nutrient in your diet, try to have more foods like papaya, watermelon, carrot and pumpkin.
  • Protein: High protein intake is recommended as it provides essential amino acids for tissue protein synthesis and promotes healing. Proteins are also included because of their good buffering action. The requirement may be increased by about 50% when you have stomach ulcers. However, meat proteins are to be avoided because it can have a stimulating effect. Milk protein shows good buffering action, so it must be included in the regular diet to fulfil the daily requirement.
  • Vitamin C: While an adequate amount of vitamin C should be provided for the healing of ulcers and better iron absorption, it is important to limit the intake of tomatoes, tomato juice and citrus juices as, in some people, these foods may cause heartburn or pain in the esophagus. To fulfil the requirement of vitamin C, go for green leafy vegetables and consult with your doctor about the need for dietary supplements.

Following are the foods you should avoid eating when you’re suffering from stomach ulcers: 

  • Reduce your caffeine intake: Caffeinated beverages raise gastric acid production, resulting in mucosal irritations. The same goes for carbonated drinks, which, besides increasing acid production, are gaseous and cause gastric distension and dyspepsia. Drink caffeine-containing beverages (strong tea, coffee, cola beverages) in moderation if at all. You can replace your tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks with alternatives like flavoured milk, turmeric milkgreen tea, herbal tea, glucose water, buttermilk, etc.
  • Avoid spicy and greasy food: Spicy and oily foods do not cause ulcers but they may worsen the symptoms in some people. If you notice that spicy foods bother you, make sure to avoid or at least eat less of them. You should avoid food items like pickles, spices, chilies, condiments, pastries, cakes, heavy sweets, fried food and cream-based gravy.
  • Avoid gas-causing foods: Flatulence is one of the common symptoms of stomach ulcers and consuming gas-causing food can cause further discomfort. Try to avoid a few food items such as cabbage, cauliflower, onions, turnips, dry peas, fried foods, etc to manage flatulence during this time.
  • Avoid fasting: Fasting can worsen your condition. The main symptom of this disease is burning stomach pain. Stomach acid makes the pain worse, as does having an empty stomach. The pain can often be relieved by eating certain foods that buffer stomach acid but not by avoiding food altogether.
  • Don’t consume alcohol: Alcoholic beverages can erode the protective mucosal lining along the gastrointestinal tract and lead to further inflammation and bleeding. To minimize symptoms, a person with stomach ulcers should avoid alcohol.
  • Quit smoking and tobacco consumption: If you smoke or chew tobacco, try to quit. Tobacco will slow the healing of your ulcers and increase the chance of them returning. Talk to your doctor about getting help for quitting tobacco and smoking cessation. (Read more: Benefits of quitting smoking)
  • Listen to your body: Some individuals report worsening of symptoms after eating certain types of foods. It is important to find out what works for you and what doesn’t. If you notice that your symptoms get worse after eating certain foods, then limit or avoid them so you can feel your best, while making sure that you don’t eliminate an entire food group.

Following is a sample daily diet that can help you design a diet plan for yourself: 

  • Early morning: water at room temperature (1 glass) + soaked almonds (8-10)
  • Breakfast: milk porridge (1 big bowl) + papaya (1 bowl)
  • Mid meal: muskmelon (1 bowl)
  • Lunch: palak khichdi (1-2 bowl) + curd (1 bowl)
  • Evening tea: raw paneer (5-7 pieces) / boiled egg whites (2)
  • Dinner: chapati (2) + toor dal (1 bowl) + bottle gourd curry (1-2 bowl) (Read more: Bottle gourd juice benefits)
  • Bedtime: cold milk (1 glass)

In summary, if you’re suffering from stomach ulcers, then aim to have a diet that is high in fiber and rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Choose healthy foods that are a good source of soluble fiber, vitamin A and Vitamin C, in particular.

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Nutritionist
8 Years of Experience

Surbhi Singh

Surbhi Singh

Nutritionist
22 Years of Experience

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Nutritionist
20 Years of Experience

Dr. priyamwada

Dr. priyamwada

Nutritionist
7 Years of Experience

References

  1. Aldoori W H, et al. Prospective study of diet and the risk of duodenal ulcer in men.. Am J Epidemiol. 1997 Jan 01; 145(1):42-50. PMID 8982021

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