FoodFindsAsia | 5 Healthy Foods to Eat When You Have a Stomach Ulcer | Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric or peptic ulcers, are painful open sores that form on the stomach walls. Ulcers develop when acids from digested foods damage the stomach lining and cause it to become inflamed. Infection by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the most common cause of stomach ulcers, but they can also come about from prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other painkillers.
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding ulcers, such as that they occur as a result of stress or consuming certain spicy foods. At present, however, no concrete scientific evidence exists to validate these claims. While no particular foods have been found to either cause or treat ulcers directly, some foods do exacerbate the stomach pain that ulcers cause and should be avoided. Examples of foods to skip when you have a stomach ulcer include alcohol, highly acidic foods, and processed foods.
Conversely, certain healthy foods are not only comfortable to consume while recovering from gastric ulcers, but may also let your stomach heal more quickly. These foods can also help mitigate uncomfortable ulcer symptoms like pain and nausea. Naturally, it’s best to consult with your stomach ulcer doctor before making any major changes to your diet. Doing so ensures that the food you eat synergises well with your medications and any other treatments you may be undergoing.
The following are among the best foods to eat when you have a gastric ulcer:
Our stomachs are full of natural bacteria, fungi, and yeasts that are all known collectively as probiotics, which aid in digestion, in the production of essential vitamins, and in training the body’s immune system. Stomach ulcers, particularly those caused by H. pylori infections, often upset the balance of natural microbes in the gut. Eating fermented foods, which are typically rich in these “good” microbes, can help restore this balance and promote good gut health.
Fermented foods include kimchi, miso, yoghurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha, to name just a few. The probiotics in these foods can boost the efficacy of ulcer treatments, ease the side effects of certain medications, and help your body fight off H. pylori infections more easily. Besides adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet while recovering from an ulcer, you can also take supplemental probiotics with your doctor’s approval.
Foods High in Dietary Fibre
Dietary fibre refers to the parts of plant-based foods that the body is unable to absorb or digest. Instead of being broken down in the stomach, fibre passes through your digestive system mostly intact and eventually exits your body in your stool. Consuming foods high in dietary fibre can help you maintain normal bowel movements and enhance your overall bowel health. Fibre can also aid in controlling cholesterol or blood sugar levels.
While it’s a good idea for anyone to add more fibre to their diet, it’s especially good for people recovering from stomach ulcers. Eating more fibre can bring down the levels of acid in your stomach, which, in turn, can relieve any bloating and pain you experience. Furthermore, studies have shown that fibre-rich diets can also prevent ulcers from forming in the first place.
Good sources of fibre include unprocessed fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole-grain products. That said, take note that processed or refined foods such as canned produce, white rice, and non-whole-grain cereals will contain less fibre than their unprocessed counterparts.
Foods Containing Vitamin A
Though vitamin A is most commonly associated with enhancing bone and eye health, this essential nutrient can also encourage your gastrointestinal tract to produce more mucus. Some studies show this property may aid in shrinking stomach ulcers and preventing them from recurring in the future. You can find high concentrations of vitamin A in colourful vegetables like sweet potato, carrots, kale, and spinach.
Foods Containing Vitamin C
Current research suggests that individuals who lack vitamin C are at a higher risk for H. pylori infections. Hence, many health experts recommend greater consumption of foods high in vitamin C to individuals at risk of developing peptic ulcers, as well as those who test positive for an H. pylori infection but have yet to show symptoms. Additionally, upping vitamin C intake may reduce ulcer symptoms and accelerate the healing of any wounds on the stomach lining.
Citrus fruits are the most popular source of vitamin C. This nutrient can also be found in red bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and kiwi fruits.
Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant found primarily in plant foods. These compounds have potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help your body fight off ulcers and other infections. They can also relieve symptoms of inflammation such as stomach pain and nausea. Furthermore, long-term consumption of a diet rich in antioxidants can inhibit the growth of H. pylori in your system, rendering you less susceptible to ulcers in the future.
Flavonoids occur naturally in many vegetables and fruits. Certain berries—particularly strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries—have been found to be especially high in flavonoids. You can also get flavonoids from certain plant products like chocolate, wine, and tea.
Though stomach ulcers can be painful, a balanced and nutritious diet can help mitigate your symptoms, speed up your recovery, and protect your stomach from developing ulcers again in the future. It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor on the best foods to eat during your recovery, as well as any other lifestyle changes that can prevent this health issue from reoccurring.
FoodFindsAsia | 5 Healthy Foods to Eat When You Have a Stomach Ulcer