There are different types of ulcers, and each one has a different cause. An article on the University of Maryland Medical Center's website states that approximately 80 percent of gastric ulcers and 90 percent of duodenal ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection, with lifestyle, pepsin and acid in the stomach all playing parts in the development of ulcers. Smoking and high amounts of caffeine, alcohol and stress aggravate the problem. Some of the symptoms include an abdominal burning pain, nausea, vomiting, belching, decreased appetite, weight loss and weakness. A bland diet is often prescribed to relieve the symptoms.
To improve your health while healing from an ulcer, you should eat vegetables that are packed with nutrition. These include sweet potatoes, yams, broccoli, bean sprouts, carrots and okra. Ideally, these should be fresh or frozen. Avoid vegetables that are too high in abrasive fiber or acid. Raw vegetables, tomatoes, corn and other acidic vegetables may irritate a stomach ulcer.
Eat healthy fruits that don’t increase stomach acids or irritate the digestive tract. Some of the soothing fruits include bananas, papaya, avocados and apple sauce. Canned peaches and pears are also good. Avoid berries, figs, pineapple and citrus, which may irritate the ulcer. Orange and grapefruit juice should also be avoided because of their high acidic level.
Some high-fiber foods are healthy and may not irritate a stomach ulcer. These include brown rice, oats and barley. However, biscuits, crackers, nuts, seeds, bran, popcorn and granola style cereals may cause more pain.
Small portions of protein should be well tolerated by people with ulcers. Try lean chicken, beef, pork, veal, lamb and most fish. Remove all skin and visible fat. Canned fish should be packed in water, not oil. Three or four eggs per week are allowed on most bland ulcer diets. Some people are able to tolerate smooth peanut butter in small amounts. Avoid eating any fried foods because added fat may irritate the stomach. Stay away from corned beef, sausage, anchovies, sardines or other processed meats.
Many doctors recommend what is known as the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, for any type of stomach distress. When the ulcer is in the acute stage, eating the BRAT foods may bring some relief from pain. However, because it doesn’t provide all the nutrition needed in a healthy diet, the BRAT diet should not be followed for more than a couple of days.