Nuts and Ulcers

Chopped pecan nuts, close up
Sprinkle nuts on cereal or yogurt to add extra protein to your meals. (Image: Howard Shooter/Dorling Kindersley RF/Getty Images)

A balanced diet for ulcers can include nuts, as long as you can digest them without pain. If you have stomach pain after eating raw or roasted nuts, consider replacing whole nuts with creamy peanut butter or almond butter to benefit from the protein, minerals and heart-healthy fats that nuts provide. If your doctor recommends a bland diet for your ulcer, he or she may ask you to avoid nuts and other high-fiber foods to allow your stomach lining to heal.

Causes and Symptoms

Clinical evidence hasn't confirmed that eating irritating foods will lead to an ulcer. The most common source of stomach ulcers is an infection caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, notes the Mayo Clinic website. Overuse of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medications can also damage the stomach lining. These open sores may occur in the mucous lining of the stomach, the esophagus or the duodenum, the upper segment of the small intestine. When the ulcerated lining is exposed to stomach acid, you may feel a burning or gnawing pain in your upper abdomen. Depending on their location and severity, ulcers can cause nausea, vomiting, a decreased appetite and weight loss. Bleeding ulcers may produce blood in your stool or vomit.

Prevention

Washing your hands and cleaning food thoroughly before you eat can reduce your exposure to the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. Minimizing your use of anti-inflammatory pain relievers will prevent damage to your stomach lining. Taking antacid medications or avoiding foods that increase stomach acid content, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits, may help prevent ulcer pain. Your doctor might prescribe antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection and medications that neutralize digestive acid or minimize damage to the stomach lining.

Diet

An ulcer diet should include easily digested foods that do not irritate the stomach lining. To prevent pain and allow an ulcerated stomach to heal, avoid red and black pepper, chili powder, tomatoes and tomato products, citrus fruits, greasy or high-fat foods, alcohol, coffee, chocolate and mint. If nuts or any other specific foods increase your discomfort, replace them with nutritious, nonirritating alternatives. Eating several small, light meals each day instead of three large, heavy meals may facilitate digestion and minimize pain. If you're having a flare-up of ulcer symptoms, your doctor might recommend that you follow a bland diet of soft, easily digested foods until your stomach tissues heal. This temporary diet may eliminate whole nuts, seeds, raw fruits and vegetables and other foods that are high in fiber.

Nutritional Benefits

The nutrients in nuts can promote healing and might help you recover more quickly from an ulcer. Nuts are rich in protein, which your body needs to repair damaged stomach tissues. Peanuts, almonds and cashews are high in zinc, a mineral that is essential for tissue growth and healing. Nuts contain fiber, which promotes healthy digestive activity and may lower cholesterol. The website Drugs.com notes that for many people who suffer from an ulcer, dietary fiber doesn't worsen symptoms. If you're losing weight because of an ulcer or you have difficulty digesting large meals, whole nuts or nut butter will provide protein and calories in a concentrated form. Work with your doctor to develop a diet that encourages healing while preventing painful ulcer symptoms.

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