Are you looking for ulcer diet recommendations? Before incorporating new foods into your diet, get tested for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). More than half of all people carry this bacteria that causes peptic ulcers and chronic gastritis. It's the most common infection worldwide, contributing to many diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Fruits, vegetables, honey, tea and probiotic foods, such as yogurt and kefir, may help eradicate H. pylori infection and prevent complications.
Make sure you also eat plenty of nuts, fatty fish and olive oil, which are loaded with omega-3s. These healthy fats inhibit bacteria growth and support digestive function.
What Is Helicobacter Pylori?
Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that grows in the gastric mucous layer. It's responsible for more than 90 percent of all ulcers and may cause stomach cancer if left untreated. About 85 percent of those infected with H. pylori show no symptoms, which makes diagnosis difficult.
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The results of a meta-analysis published in the journal Gastroenterology in August 2017 revealed that approximately 4.4 billion people worldwide were infected with H. pylori. In some countries, more than 87 percent of the population carries this pathogen.
A July 2018 study featured in the African Journal of Medical and Health Sciences suggests that certain factors, such as smoking, drinking dirty or contaminated water and living in crowded places, may increase the risk of infection. This explains why 70 to 90 percent of people in developing countries are infected with H. pylori.
This pathogen spreads through contaminated water and food. Most times, it causes no symptoms. Yet, it's the primary cause of gastric cancer and the second cause of cancer deaths worldwide, according to a January 2014 review published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). Researchers suggest that dietary and environmental factors influence H. pylori infection rates.
This bacterium is classified as a group I carcinogen and may cause pathologic changes later in life.
Helicobacter Pylori Diet Recommendations
H. pylori contributes to gastric and duodenal ulcers as well as chronic gastritis. These GI disorders require dietary and lifestyle changes. Certain foods, especially those rich in vitamin C, may help in the prevention and treatment of H. pylori infection.
An October 2016 meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that fruits and vegetables are particularly beneficial for those who carry this pathogen. Studies indicate that high fruit intakes may lower the risk of gastric cancer by up to 33 percent.
This bacterium is responsible for 80 to 90 percent of all gastric cancers, so a diet rich in fruits may protect against this disease and add years to your life. Researchers attribute these benefits to the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in fruits and veggies.
H. pylori is responsible for more than 90 percent of stomach ulcers and 80 to 90 percent of all gastric cancers.
Due to their high antioxidant levels, these foods help neutralize oxidative damage and protect the gastric mucosa. Some nutrients, such as vitamin C, may inhibit gastric cancer cell growth. Others suppress the formation of nitrosamines, a class of chemicals that contribute to cancer.
If you have a peptic ulcer caused by H. pylori, consider making small dietary changes. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol, fill up on fruits and vegetables, increase your fiber intake and consume probiotic foods. These ulcer diet recommendations can improve digestive health and prevent complications.
The Canadian Society of Intestinal Research encourages the consumption of high-fiber foods, such as carrots, leafy greens, whole grains, psyllium husk, nuts and seeds. It also recommends high intakes of vitamin A and flavonoids. Teas made from the Camellia sinensis plant, including green, black and oolong teas, may suppress the growth of H. pylori without affecting beneficial gut bacteria. However, more research is needed to confirm these claims.
Read more: 19 High-Fiber Foods — Some May Surprise You!
Dietary changes are an integral component of an H. pylori natural treatment. Add the following foods to your daily meals to fight this infection and relieve the symptoms of peptic ulcer.
Tea and Honey
Honey and tea do a lot more than just relieve a sore throat or improve your sleep. According to a May 2015 study published in the journal Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease, they may also protect against H. pylori infection. Subjects who consumed either green/black tea or honey at least once a day for one week had a lower positivity rate for Helicobacter pylori compared to the control group.
Another study, which appeared in the journal Gastroenterology Research and Practice in June 2017, confirms these findings. Researchers have found a strong link between regular honey consumption and lower rates of the H. pylori infection. The same study shows that eating yogurt more than five times a week may help protect against this condition and make it easier to manage its symptoms.
Consume honey and yogurt more often to reap the benefits. Start your day with a cup of green or black tea. Both types of teas are rich in antioxidants and exhibit antimicrobial properties.
According to a review published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology in August 2014, green tea is loaded with polyphenols that fight oxidative stress and inflammation while destroying pathogens. It appears to be particularly effective against Candida albicans, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, H. pylori and other disease-causing bacteria.
Fill Up on Probiotics
Pickles, natto, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and other probiotic foods keep your digestive system running smoothly by increasing beneficial gut bacteria. Some probiotics may also protect against harmful bacteria, such as H. pylori, according to an October 2017 review published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.
Read more: 7 Signs Your Gut Is Out of Whack
S. boulardii and other probiotic strains appear to diminish the bacterial load in the gut and reduce the side effects of antibiotics. These beneficial microorganisms inhibit H. pylori by suppressing gastric inflammation and modulating your body's inflammatory response. Furthermore, they produce lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide and other antibacterial compounds that reduce the number of harmful bacteria.
Research indicates that supplementation with S. boulardii may help destroy H. pylori when used as part of a standard treatment plan. This yeast has been also shown effective in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea caused by antibiotics, C. difficile or stomach ulcers.
Depending on your preferences, you can take probiotic supplements, eat probiotic foods or both as part of an ulcer diet. Miso, tempeh, yogurt, kombucha, pickled vegetables, buttermilk and some types of cheese are naturally rich in probiotics and may improve digestive health. On top of that, they may help relieve bloating, gas, diarrhea and other side effects of antibiotics, which are usually the first line of treatment for H. pylori infection.
Eat Healthy Fats
Olive oil, fatty fish, nuts and other foods rich in polyunsaturated fats may protect against Helicobacter pylori-_related gastric disorders. A September 2014 review in BioMed Research International states that omega-3s may prevent gastric cancer and restore digestive health after chronic _H. pylori infection. These healthy fats also support cardiovascular function, fight inflammation and relieve arthritis symptoms.
Scientists have found that omega-3s reduce gastroduodenal damage. At the same time, they may lower the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disorders. Due to their antioxidant properties, they scavenge free radical damage — a major contributing factor to gastric cancer. The same review suggests that walnuts, which are chock-full of vitamin E and healthy fats, may help eradicate H. pylori infection and restore the gastric mucosa in people with H. pylori-induced gastritis.
However, walnuts are not the only source of omega-3s. If you're allergic to nuts, fill up on salmon, tuna, mackerel, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and extra virgin olive oil. These foods are loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acids and other essential nutrients. In fact, a December 2014 review published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice shows that daily intake of fish and olive oil may lower the risk of H. pylori infection. Soft drinks and processed meats have the opposite effect.
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Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.