Ulcers are open sores in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. They develop mostly in the stomach, esophagus or duodenum. Ulcers form when the environments of these surfaces are so acidic that their mucosal linings slowly erode. A popular belief suggests that spicy foods and stress are responsible for ulcers, scientific evidence points to high acidity acid, long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, and the bacteria, Helicobacter pylori.
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Factors Responsible for Ulcers
Even though the stomach secretes acid for food digestion, special mucus protects its walls from the corrosive actions of this acid. When that protection lessens, stomach acid eats into the lining of the stomach to form open sores. Helicobacter pylori, which is responsible for most ulcers, weakens the protective mucus coat in the stomach or duodenum, the part of the intestine close to the stomach. This allows stomach acid and other digestive juices to erode the surface of the tract below the mucus.
Long-term use of NSAIDs is the second leading cause of ulcers. The drugs provide relief from pain by blocking prostaglandin, a chemical produced in the body. However, this also reduces blood flow in the vessels supplying the stomach, also making the stomach lining susceptible to the corrosive actions of digestive juices.
One way to improve pain from ulcers is to avoid foods and beverages that could increase the acidity in the stomach. Some fruits contribute to stomach acids and you should avoid them when treating ulcers. Citrus fruits, such as oranges, tangerines, limes and lemons, are good examples of acidifying fruits to avoid. You should also avoid tomatoes and grapefruit. These acidifying fruits can worsen the symptoms of your ulcer and cause acid reflux and heartburn.
Fruits you can eat while treating ulcer include apple, peach, berries, pear, banana, melon and kiwi fruit. While it is preferred to take these fruits in their raw forms, you could also steam or juice them. Instead of taking your daily fruit intake in one meal or snack, spread it over three to four servings. Lastly, do not consider fruits an adequate substitute for fluids, but drink lots of water.
Some fruits are especially helpful in relieving the symptoms of ulcers and can even protect against Helicobacter pylori. Apples, cranberry and their juices contain flavonoids and antioxidants that inhibit the growth of the bacteria. You should also consume fruits rich in fiber, unless you also have inflammatory bowel disease.