Stomach (peptic) ulcer care: Food to eat and avoid


Location of peptic ulcer. Human digestive system: esophagus, duodenum, stomach. Cross section of the human stomach. Vector illustration for medical, biological, educational and science use

Stomach (peptic) ulcer are open sores that develop in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Peptic ulcers include gastric ulcers that formed in the stomach while duodenal ulcers are form at the lining of the small intestine. Ulcers are usually caused by a bacteria Helicobacter Pylori that many people have in their stomach. Ulcers can be worst when there is over-secretion of acid in the stomach.

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) causes damage to the protective mucosal barrier of certain areas within the gastrointestinal tract, making it easier for acidic digestive fluid to injure and inflame the gut’s lining. Other causes of ulcer are from family history and from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen they are over the counter pains and fever drugs. Over time these drugs can cause damage to mucosal lining that protect the stomach. Although foo does not cause or heal ulcers, but some food can trigger ulcers while some can help you heal faster.

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Symptoms of Stomach (peptic) Ulcers

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • At night you wake up
  • Feeling empty after 1-3 hour of a meal
  • Heart burn and indigestion
  • Chest pain

Less common symptoms include:

  • Feeling full after eating small amount of food and problem with drinking fluid
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Sudden sharp pain in the stomach
  • Vomiting blood.

Food to eat with Stomach (peptic) ulcers

  1. Eat fiber rich food: Whole grain food like oats, cereal, brown rice and millet are rich in fiber that help decrease acidity. These foods are packed micronutrients such as iron, magnesium selenium and vitamin B helps with easing bloating and pain.
  2. Eat food rich with probiotic: Foods like yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut all contains good bacteria called probiotic. Probiotic help to fight against H. pylori bacteria and inhibit the formation of lesion in the gastric mucosa which can restore the stomach lining.
  3. Eat food high in vitamin A: Food like sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrot, spinach, cantaloupe and beef liver all contains a high level of vitamin A. According to some evidence Vitamin A nutrients helps to shrink stomach ulcers and prevent them.
  4. Food rich in vitamin C: Food like bell pepper, broccoli, strawberries, kiwi’s helps to protect you from ulcers. Vitamin C play an important role for healing wounds. If you lack vitamin C you are likely to have Ulcers.
  5. Eat low-fat protein: Food like tofu, tempeh, peas, lean meat, beef sirloin, tenderloins, skinless poultry, eggs and fish are all sources of low-fat protein. Protein is essential for muscle repair and prevention of infection that aid in the healing process of your ulcers.
  6. Eat sea food: Sea food like salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, tuna and oysters are high with omega-3 fatty acid that help to reduce inflammation which help to prevent more ulcer by reducing the damaging effects of gastritis.

Food to avoid with ulcers

  • Spicy and salty food cause irritation to the stomach lining, they are only trigger and don’t cause ulcers
  • Alcohol cause stomach inflammation that can lead to damage of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Caffeine such as coffee, caffeinated sodas and some chocolate increase the production of gastric acid and trigger the symptoms of acid reflux.
  • Acidic and fatty food attack the lining of the digestive tract making your ulcer worst
  • Milk causes production of stomach acid which irritates your gastric mucosa and worsen your ulcers.

Tips on how to manage your stomach ulcer

  • Be conscious about what you eat, when you eat, how you prepare your food and what you do after eating
  • Eat small meal, share your food into 5-6 portions spread them evenly to aid fast digestion and reduce the acid that are produced at a time
  • Eat your last meals 3 hours before bed. Avoid strenuous activities and lying down immediately you eat to prevent acid reflux.
  • Instead of fried food, try steaming, roasting or grilling your food these way help you reduce the fat in your food and make them easier to digest in the stomach.
  • Drink at least one glass of water every morning to cleanse your system. These helps to reduce stomach Acid.

When to see your doctor

Get medical help when you feel the following

  • Develop sudden sharp abdominal pain
  • Have rigid hard abdomen that is tender to touch
  • Feel shock such as fainting, excessive fainting or confusion
  • Vomit blood or blood in the stool
  • Dizzy or lightheaded.

Bottom line

Ulcer is an infection of he stomach that is caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). most people with peptic ulcers have these bacteria living in their digestive tract, yet many people with these bacteria do not develop ulcers. Food does not cause ulcers, but there are some that trigger them and make them worse while some helps with the healing process of ulcers.





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