A gastric ulcer diet is a diet followed by people suffering from gastric/stomach ulcers, which is a common gastrointestinal disorder. Along with medications, this diet is an effective way of curing and preventing the ulcers.
Gastric ulcer, also known as stomach ulcer is a type of peptic ulcer that is caused by localized erosion of the lining of the stomach due to bacterial infections, or intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Once the protective mucus layer of the stomach is compromised due to these factors, digestive juices containing pepsin and hydrochloric acid can damage the stomach tissue, leading to painful ulcers. These can cause burning and aching pain in the stomach, loss of appetite, bloating or vomiting after eating and weight loss. Apart from medications, one of the best ways of minimizing the pain and decreasing the chances of developing these ulcers is by making dietary modifications.
Diet for Gastric Ulcers
Previously the diet for gastric ulcers was limited to bland food, along with a lot of milk and dairy products. However, research has shown that some food like milk which provides quick relief from gastric ulcer pain might aggravate the condition later. Although the diet for gastric ulcers is not as strict or as limited as before, and a bland diet is still the best option, it is still necessary to formulate a proper food chart for ulcer patients. Here is a list of recommended foods and foods to avoid with ulcers.
Foods to Eat
Fruits,vegetables, low-fat milk and milk products along with whole grains are some of the ideal food choices for an ulcer diet. It is also advisable to include lean meat, eggs and fish in the diet.
|Foods to Eat|
|Fruits and Vegetables||All fresh, frozen, canned vegetables and fruits can be consumed.|
|Whole Grains||Whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat noodles, enriched rice, low-fat crackers, whole-wheat breads, tortillas, rolls and bagels|
|Protein Sources||Lean meats, eggs, legumes, beans and oily fish|
|Dairy Products||Low-fat milk, skim milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese and soy milk.|
|Oils and Fats||Low fat oils like olive oil and canola oil|
|Beverages||Water, herbal teas, fruit juices and non-caffeinated beverages|
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich source of fiber, and hence can be included in the gastric ulcer diet. It restricts the development of ulcers while also increasing the healing time. Eat a variety of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables (which is prepared with added fat) and fruits. Along with fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants that regulate the growth of the H.pylori bacteria, and also have anti-inflammatory properties. Apples, strawberries, blueberries, bell peppers, dark green leafy vegetables and yellow squash are some good examples of fruits and vegetables to be included in the gastric ulcer diet.
The ideal diet for gastric ulcer should consist of whole grains and cereals. Try whole-wheat pasta, noodles, enriched rice, low-fat crackers, whole-wheat breads, tortillas, rolls and bagels. The complex carbohydrates in these foods restrict the hunger pangs, and prevent heartburn that is associated with gastrointestinal troubles. Wheat bran is also believed to neutralize the stomach acids, which in turn allows quick healing of ulcers.
Lean meats like beef, pork, lamb, ham, chicken and veal, that have been well cooked and tender, can help in lowering the risk of gastric ulcers, while also providing the much-needed proteins. Inclusion of oily fish like salmon and mackerel which have omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce the risk of ulcers. The prostaglandins production is increased with the intake of the fatty acids. These compounds protect the lining of the stomach and the entire digestive tract, thus keeping it healthy. Other protein rich foods include tofu, eggs and nut butter.
There was a time when milk and milk products were a mainstay of an ulcer patient’s diet. Unfortunately, the acid neutralizing effects of milk is temporary, and in most cases even counterproductive, as the milk produces acid for longer period. Switch to low-fat milk or skim milk, and other dairy products like low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese and soy milk.
Oils and Fats
Too much of oily and fatty foods need to be avoided. Ideally limit the oil consumption to around 8 tablespoons. Low-fat oils like olive oil and canola oil are some good options. It is also important to avoid fatty dressings like mayonnaise, margarine and other salad dressings. Instead switch to low-fat variants of the same.
Include eight to ten glasses of water in the diet along with mild, herbal teas, fruit juices and non-caffeinated beverages.
In addition to this, the foods should contain nutrients like vitamin C which is known to inhibit the bacterial growth, and allows the infection to clear up easily.
Foods to Avoid
|Foods to Avoid|
|Fruits and Vegetables||Fruits with citric acids such as lemons, grapefruits|
|Cereals and Breads||Baked goodies like cakes and pastries, breads with nuts and dry fruits|
|Meat Products||Highly-seasoned or deep-fried meat, poultry and fish|
|Dairy Products||Whole milk, cream, flavored cheese|
|Snacks||High fat snacks like chips, french fries,|
|Seasonings and Condiments||Black and red chili pepper, chili powder, chili sauce and barbecue sauce|
|Oils and Fats||Hydrogenated oil, butter and lard|
|Beverages||Coffee, tea and carbonated beverages|
Fruits and Vegetables
Gastric ulcers patients should steer clear of foods and juices containing citric acids such as lemons, grapefruits, tangerines and oranges. The acidity in these fruits can aggravate the condition. Certain vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, tomatoes, corn, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, or those cooked with high fat are known to increase the stomach acidity and aggravate the ulcers.
Cereals and Breads
Baked goodies like cakes, pastries, crackers, croissants, bread products with nuts and dry fruits are high in trans-fats which are inflammatory in nature. It should thus be excluded from the diet.
Meat Products and Substitutes
Highly-seasoned or deep-fried meat, poultry and fish have high levels of trans-fats that can irritate the stomach lining and aggravate the ulcers. Red meats should also be avoided.
Certain beverages like coffee (with or without caffeine), green or black tea and carbonated beverages irritate the stomach lining or increase acid production. It is also important to cut down on alcohol intake as it increases the acidity of the stomach, and can contribute to ulcer development or worsen symptoms of existing ulcers
Fats and Oils
Hydrogenated oil, butter and lard are some fatty additives that should be avoided.
High-fat snacks like chips, french fries, cookies, pies, pastries, doughnuts, chocolates and other snack foods containing nuts should be avoided.
Seasonings and Condiments
Spicy food is known to cause bowel problems for many people. Black and red chili pepper, chili powder, chili sauce and barbecue sauce are some seasonings that needs to be avoided. It is also advisable to keep the salt intake minimal as the excess sodium in the diet is linked to high risk of stomach ulcers.
Sample Menu Plan
Following is the sample diet plan for patients suffering gastric ulcer.
|Meal||Foods to Eat|
|Breakfast||½ cup apple juice, ½ cup oatmeal, 1 slice toast, 1 cup skim milk, 1 tsp low-fat margarine, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp jelly, ¼ tsp salt.|
|Lunch||¾ cup cream of potato soup, 3 oz. broiled chicken patty, bun, tossed salad, low-fat dressing, 1 tsp mustard, ½ cup peaches, 1 cup skim milk, ¼ tsp salt.|
|Dinner||½ cup apricot nectar, 3 oz baked fish, ½ cup mashed potatoes, ½ cup green beans, 1 slice bread, ½ cup vanilla pudding, 1 tsp low-fat margarine, ¼ tsp salt.|
The main purpose of the diet for gastric ulcer patients is to provide necessary nutrients and minerals, while restricting the food items which normally irritate the stomach and the digestive tract. Along with this, having small and frequent meals can reduce the risks of acid reflux. Avoiding spicy foods, large meals and having food at least four hours before sleeping, will minimize the chances of acid backflow to the esophagus. It is also best to avoid smoking. This will reduce the risks of ulcer complications that can intervene with the gastrointestinal wound healing.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical professional or dietician. Any changes in the diet for gastric ulcers should be made only after consulting the doctor.