What is a Diet for Ulcer Sufferers?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, five million people are affected by peptic ulcers in the U.S., with about 500,000 new cases being reported every year. Although it is now known that most peptic ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria and that diet by itself doesn't cause ulcers, there are some dietary considerations that will help relieve the symptoms of sufferers and promote healing.

  1. What Not to Eat

    • In general, doctors no longer recommend avoiding certain foods, leaving it up to the patient to determine which foods trigger symptoms. Try eliminating the most common problem foods for ulcers from your diet first, then add them back in one at a time in small amounts to see what you can tolerate. This category of trigger foods includes regular and decaffeinated coffee, tea, chocolate, meat extracts, alcohol, black pepper, red pepper, chili powder, mustard seed, nutmeg, onions, garlic and high-fat or fried foods. Also, although small amounts of low-fat dairy may be tolerated, avoid large quantities of dairy as it can lead to increased acid secretion.

    What to Eat

    • Make sure you eat smaller, more frequent meals. Increase your fiber intake, including whole grains, and eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (although canned and frozen are good, too) as well as beans. Consume lean protein only, including low-fat dairy, lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and nut butters, and use heart-healthy oils such as olive or canola.

    Healing Foods

    • You can try various home remedy foods to see if they help with healing. A banana shake made with a little bit of sugar and milk twice a day may be helpful. Goat's milk and almond milk are also often recommended by naturopathic healers. One of the home remedies that has been studied in medical trials is cabbage juice. In one trial, Dr. Garnett Cheney had 100 peptic ulcer patients drink four glasses of raw cabbage juice daily, all of whom reported dramatically less pain with faster healing time. Fresh cabbage leaves are the best, which you simply place in a blender with water or almond milk and puree into a "cabbage smoothie."

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