An ulcer is a health condition categorised by open sore along the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. It can develop in the upper portion of the small intestine-duodenal ulcer, stomach-gastric ulcer and oesophagus-oesophagal ulcer. The most common cause of ulcer is a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori). The bacteria damage the protective mucosal barrier of certain regions within the intestinal tract, which makes it easier for acidic digestive secretions to damage and inflame the gut’s lining. Smoking and long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the other causative factors for ulcer.
What Is Ulcer Diet?
An ulcer diet is aimed to lessen the pain and irritation that arises due to a painful sore that occurs in the lining of the stomach, oesophagus or small intestine. Diet plays a vital part in an overall care plan and helps to mitigate symptoms and heal the ulcer.
An ulcer diet together with a proper treatment plan may help to :
Correct nutritional deficiencies that may be causative factors for symptoms.
Supply adequate protein and other essential nutrients that the body needs to recover.
Help eliminate foods that worsen the inflammation.
A high fibre diet is associated with a low risk of peptic ulcers and adding foods rich in zinc and selenium may speed up the healing process.
Help to manage other related conditions like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease or bacterial infections, which may be contributing factors for ulcer development.
It is also advisable to limit certain foods that make trigger excess acid production and reflux.
Foods To Include For Ulcers
Fresh fruits are a great source of beneficial fibre, polyphenols and antioxidants that contribute to overall health and build a robust immune system. Berries, apples, grapes and pomegranates are some of the preferred choices for promoting ulcer healing.
Green leaves, bright red and orange veggies and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and kale are laden with essential vitamins and antioxidants that are valuable for uplifting total well-being and healing.
Skinned chicken, lean meat, fish, eggs, tofu, tempeh, beans and peas are excellent sources of low-fat protein that fasten the healing process. While fatty fish offer a huge amount of omega 3 fats that help to lessen inflammation and also valuable in preventing other forms of ulcer.
Fermented Dairy Foods
Yoghurt and kefir are a good source of probiotics along with the protein that supports gut growth of microbiome, lessen irritation and treats ulcer.
Whole grain cereals
Choose from a wide range of whole-grain bread, oats, quinoa, millet or sorghum are abundant sources of fiber and good carbs that help to replenish energy levels and recuperate well.
Herbs And Spices
Turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and garlic a good lot of spices and herbs that are powerful sources of health benefitting antioxidants and also exhibits strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory traits to support healing of the ulcer.
Foods To Avoid
Limit alcoholic beverages like wine, beer and other liquor drinks all of which are stomach irritants and will delay healing.
Cut down or avoid coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages, as these drinks rise stomach acid production and aggravate the condition.
Processed Meats/High-Fat foods
Avoid highly processed, seasoned, meats, sausages and fried and fatty meats. Also, limit intake of added fats that increase stomach acid and trigger reflux.
Chilli peppers, black pepper, sauces and condiments that are hot should be avoided as they can cause pain or acid reflux.
Studies have found that extremely salted foods may promote the growth of H.pylori.Thus pickles, olives and other fermented vegetables are high in salt and are linked with an increased risk of H.pylori ulcers.
Chocolate and foods containing cocoa can increase stomach acid secretion that triggers acid reflux.
Recommended Meal Timing
Regularise meal patterns, try to have five to six small meals in a day, rather than three heavy ones. Stomach acid is secreted every time you eat, where large meals need more acids for digestion process, which can be irritating. Have an early diner at least three hours before bedtime and stay upright for a few hours after dinner for enhanced digestion and reduce acid reflux. Chew food thoroughly and eat slowly to speed up the healing process.
Go for a low-fat cooking process like roasting, braising, boiling and grilling instead of frying. Also, limit the use of butter and oils while cooking as these are harder to digest.
Generally, ulcers caused by H.pylori are completely treatable, however, if left untreated can stomach ulcers can lead to more severe issues like internal bleeding and stomach cancer. A well-balanced and nutritious ulcer diet with a lot of variety will support the better healing process and lessen nutritional deficiency.