Stomach ulcers are open sores found around the stomach, which develop in the digestive tract lining. They can be very painful, and certain foods can cause the production of stomach acids that stir up the open sore.
Stomach ulcers result from a bacteria infection called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Taking pain relievers (e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen) for a very long time can also cause the condition. Foods don’t cause ulcers, only that they can make the pain worse and slow healing. The fundamental thing to do when you have a stomach ulcer is to adjust your diet by selecting foods that are soft on your stomach.
Symptoms of stomach ulcers may include stomach pain, weight loss, loss of appetite due to bloating, vomiting, nausea, burping, and heartburn. If H. pylori cause your stomach ulcer, eating foods rich in antioxidants (e.g. blueberries, cherries, bell peppers, etc.) is very helpful.
Antioxidant-rich foods can help activate and protect your immune system, and fight against infection. Here, we’ve listed the foods to avoid for stomach ulcer patients. These foods are known to irritate the already sore area and prolong the healing process.
Foods to avoid with a stomach ulcer
Though foods cannot cause ulcers, it is best to steer clear of some foods to improve healing. Also, a person with a stomach ulcer may also develop acid reflux.
These foods will cause the lower oesophagal sphincter (LES) – the lower part of the oesophagus – to relax. When LES relaxes, acids can break back into the oesophagus, causing heartburn or indigestion. Some of the foods are;
1. Avoid greasy and spicy foods
Foods like chillies, cakes, condiments, cream-based gravy, pickles, pastries etc., should be avoided. Though they don’t cause ulcers, they can worsen the symptoms.
2. Reduce caffeine intake
Caffeinated beverages (and also carbonated drinks) can elevate gastric acid production, causing mucosal irritations. In addition, carbonated drinks are gaseous so they can cause dyspepsia and gastric distention.
If you must drink caffeine-containing beverages (e.g. coffee, tea, and cola beverages), opt for them in moderation. You can also replace them with turmeric milk, green tea, flavoured milk, buttermilk, glucose water, herbal tea, etc.
3. Keep away from gas-causing foods
Flatulence is one of the primary symptoms of stomach ulcers. Eating gas-causing foods will only make it worse and cause further discomfort. Food items like onions, fried foods, dry peas, etc., should be avoided to manage flatulence.
Alcoholic drinks can wear down the protective mucosal lining along the GIT tract, resulting in further inflammation and bleeding. You have to avoid such beverages to minimise symptoms.
5. Red meat
Stomach ulcer patients should deflect from red meat. This is because it will take longer to digest, causing a high level of acid production in the stomach which will then irritate the area and worsen the condition.
There are alternatives to eating red meat. You can replace it with turkey, chicken, and lean protein products.
Good to note
Ulcers that are caused by H. pylori are absolutely treatable. Nevertheless, untreated stomach ulcers can result in more severe problems, including stomach cancers and internal bleeding.
If you notice you have a stomach ulcer, don’t turn a blind eye to it. Book an appointment to speak with a doctor to get treatment.