‘Helicobacter pylori’ is a common gut bacteria, and often the cause of painful stomach ulcers. If you are infected by this bacteria, then here is a list of the foods that should be avoided, and a few tips to stay healthy.
|H. pylori is the only bacterium to be classified as a carcinogen, and is a major cause of gastric cancer, but as per the National Cancer Institute, it can also reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as esophageal adenocarcinoma.|
H. pylori is surprisingly common, found in every second person. Yes, in around 50% of the populace in the world. It is much more common in developing countries, and in people of lower socioeconomic regions. Adverse effects and acute infections are rare though, with only 20% of those infected showing any symptoms at all.
An infection entails either gastritis or a peptic ulcer. Experts estimate that about 80% of stomach ulcers are caused due to a Helicobacter pylori infection. The signs of gastritis and peptic ulcer are abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, acid reflux, and/or vomiting. A peptic ulcer is also accompanied by a burning sensation, vomiting blood, black stools, and weight loss. A Urea Breath Test is most likely to be used for diagnosing this infection, but other tests like endoscopy, blood test, stool test, etc., may also be resorted to. The infection is cured using antibiotics and medications to reduce stomach acid.
If you are suffering from this infection, then you might benefit from omitting certain foods from your diet. These foods are said to increase the acidity of the stomach, and might cause discomfort and pain.
➤ Hot and spicy food, anything containing chili-peppers or rich in spices.
➤ Any form of fried foods, including French fries, fried chicken, onion rings, and fritters.
➤ Foods that are high in sugar, for example, brownies, chocolates, donuts, cakes, pastries, ice cream, etc.
➤ Meats high in fats, such as bacon, marbled beef, salami, etc.
➤ Citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons, limes, etc., and their juice.
➤ Tomatoes and tomato-containing products, like tomato juice, puree, and ketchup.
➤ Caffeinated drinks, like tea, hot chocolate, and coffee. Even decaffeinated coffee and green tea are said to alleviate acidity, so avoid them too.
➤ Alcohol and carbonated drinks
➤ Flavored and plain milk, it provides temporary relief from heartburn, but actually causes the stomach to produce more acid.
➤ Vinegar and food made with vinegar.
➤ Refined flour-based food, like pretzels, pizzas, pasta, white bread, and processed foods.
➤ Cabbage and dried beans.
Just taking medication and avoiding certain foods is not enough to recover from this infection. You also need to make sure that it does not recur and spread (H. pylori is contagious). Here are some small changes that are recommended.
➤ Quit smoking – smoking increases the risk of developing ulcers significantly. Additionally, it also takes longer for an ulcer to heal for those who smoke.
➤ Minimize the use of fever and pain medication, categorized as NSAIDs, as they are proven to cause stomach ulcers. These include ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, and ketoprofen.
➤ Eat plenty of high-fiber food, especially green, leafy vegetables. Avoid processed foods, as they are likely to be rich in fats and sugar.
➤ Wash your hands before eating, handling food, and after using the washroom. Try not to touch the door handles of washrooms, use a disposable tissue or towel instead.
➤ Eating fruits high in flavonoids – apples, cranberries, blue berries, strawberries, etc., are said to inhibit the bacteria, so try and include them in your diet.
➤ Make sure that the food you eat is hygienic and the water you drink is clean.
➤ Avoid staying in places that are poorly ventilated, for a long time.
The prevalence of this bacteria has led some scientists to speculate that it may actually be a part of normal gut flora, and even aid digestion somewhat. Nevertheless, in some cases, it can, and does damage the mucus lining of the stomach, resulting in gastritis, ulcers, and even certain cancers. Eating good, natural food, and following a healthy lifestyle, are the best ways to prevent this infection, and also essential to minimize the discomfort and avoid irritating the stomach once the infection sets in.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only. Consult your physician/dietitian before making any change to your diet, especially if you are suffering from any ailment.