Stomach ulcers are usually caused by Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) bacteria or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Stress and spicy foods can worsen an ulcer. So, in today’s article, we will be talking about foods to avoid if you are battling with stomach ulcer.
Stomach ulcer can break down the stomach’s defence against the acid it produces to digest food. The stomach lining then becomes damaged causing an ulcer to form. One of the common symptoms of peptic ulcers is stomach pain and indigestion.
If you are an ulcer patient, then I suggest you avoid the following foods:
- Refined foods
- Red meat
- Spicy foods
1. Refined foods
Refined foods are highly processed foods that have been stripped of their original nutrient content and fibre. Examples of refined foods include white bread, crisps, cakes, cereals, baked goods, and white pasta.
People with stomach ulcers often have diets low in fibre and antioxidants. However, choosing high-fibre, unprocessed foods can help slow digestion and reduce bile acid concentration, which may help reduce symptoms such as bloating and pain.
Alcohol can affect the stomach in different way by irritating the cells in the stomach lining causing inflammation. This is called gastritis. If left untreated, gastritis can cause peptic ulcers and other complications. Inflammation can also irritate existing ulcers and prevent ulcers from healing.
Any alcohol consumption can worsens the symptoms of ulcers. If your symptoms worsen when drinking alcohol, your alcohol consumption is likely causing your ulcers to grow worse. These symptoms may include:
feeling extremely weak or faint, having difficulty in breathing, sudden sharp stomach pains, vomiting blood, etc.
To be safe and avoid painful symptoms, don’t drink alcohol if you have an ulcer. See a doctor, get treatment recommendations and wait for the ulcer to heal before consuming alcohol.
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3. Red meat
Ulcer patients should avoid any relationship with red meat. This meat takes too much time to digest and it makes the acid level in your stomach rise, thereby irritating the area and worsening the symptoms. You should replace this meat with chicken, turkey etc.
Red meat can be fatty, which will make your ulcer worse. Meat also contains a lot of protein and, even if you don’t have an ulcer, it takes longer to digest. Because it takes longer, it stays in the stomach for longer, therefore more acid is released to digest it.
If you eat meat, stick to very lean cuts and eat tiny portion sizes (4 oz or less) to make it easier for your body to digest. Cut off any visible fat before eating. Eat the meat at least three hours before bedtime to give your body a chance to digest it. If you eat meat too close to bedtime, you may feel worse when you lie down.
4. Spicy foods
No research suggests that spicy food causes ulcers in the mouth or stomach. However, eating spicy foods may irritate existing ulcers. Some people may associate spicy food with ulcers, but experts suggest this is a myth.
Spicy foods don’t cause ulcers, but be careful if you have irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). If spicy foods give you stomach pain, think before you eat. Spicy foods don’t cause haemorrhoids, but you may feel the burn if you have anal crevices.
Capsaicin in spicy food irritates pain receptors in the digestive tract. However, if spicy food causes your abdominal discomfort, turn down the heat on your diet.
A study has shown that there is no significant association between coffee consumption and ulcer formation in the stomach or intestine, even among those who drank three or more cups per day.
However, the action of coffee on stomach acid secretion has raised the issue of a possible increase in dyspepsia (poor digestion, discomfort, nausea, heartburns, eructation, and flatulence), or oesophageal burns, gastritis or ulcers, and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Meanwhile, I recommend you should not drink caffeine, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and milk with a peptic ulcer.
What foods are good for stomach ulcer patients?
Nutritionists recommend that you eat a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy foods. Whole grains include whole-whet breads, cereals, pasta, and brown rice. Choose protein foods such as lean meats, poultry (chicken and turkey), fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
Finally, I advice you take a healthy meal that is low in unhealthy fats, salt, and sugar. Nevertheless, there’s little evidence that some lifestyle factors, like spicy foods, stress and alcohol, cause stomach ulcers.