Stomach ulcers, which are also called peptic ulcers, can occur along any part of the digestive tract. These could develop in the esophagus, stomach, or the intestine. The size of an ulcer can range from 1/8 of an inch to 3/4 parts of an inch.
Stomach ulcers can be caused due to a wide range of reasons. Some of the common contributory factors are given below.
- Smoking and Alcohol Abuse: Smoking and alcohol consumption are the most common reasons behind the development of peptic ulcers. Actually, nicotine from cigarettes and alcohol tend to erode the stomach lining and increase the levels and concentration of stomach acids. Both alcohol and nicotine can thus be said to be pretty strong causative factors behind a peptic ulcer, if not at least aggravating an existing one.
- Overuse of painkillers: Excessive use of NSAIDs (Non steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs) can damage the lining of the small intestine. If taken on a regular basis, these intensify the risk of an ulcer. It is best to check with your health care provider before taking pain relievers containing substances like ibuprofen and aspirin.
- Stress: Stress is not the direct cause of the peptic ulcer but it obviously is the biggest contributing factor. Stress, due to a hectic lifestyle, physical trauma, and mental as well as emotional disturbance actually aggravates the risk of a peptic ulcer and also lowers the effectiveness of any remedies that you may be following.
- Infections: Growth of a certain type of bacterium called theHelicobacter pylori is one of the main reasons behind more than 60% cases.
Diet for Stomach Ulcer
The diet can vary according to the tolerance level of the person. There are several food items that may work wonders for one patient but might not really work for others. Nevertheless, here is a list of food products that you need to incorporate in your diet to cure the ulcer.
- Grains: The diet for stomach ulcers must be rich in food items made up of whole grain and cereals. They include rice, barley, tortillas, pita breads, bagels, French toast, low fat pancakes, crackers, English muffins, and waffles.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh vegetables should be consumed in a large amount on a regular basis. Almost all fresh as well as raw vegetables can be included in this diet with the exception of tomatoes, tomato products and food items that may be acidic in nature. Fruits with low citrus levels are allowed in your diet.
- Meat and Dairy Products: Non-fat and at least low-fat milk and other dairy products, plain mild cheese, low fat cottage cheese, and low fat yogurt can be included in the daily diet. All lean meats too can be included. Lean meats like pork, ham, beef, veal, lamb, poultry, all fresh fish, eggs, meat stock (mildly seasoned) are all good for you because it will help you get your energy back and will hasten the recovery process.
What to Avoid
All food products that are high in fat must be strictly avoided in the diet program.
- Grains: Food products like croissant rolls, cereals like granola and bran, dry fruits, nuts, breads and crackers with seeds on the top are a no-no because their abrasive nature can do more harm to the ulcer.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Corn, gas forming vegetables and tomato-based products should be avoided. Fruits like lemon, orange, grapefruits, pineapples, tangerines, figs and all types of berries and fruits containing a high citric acid level must not be consumed.
- Meat and Dairy Products: Meat, fish and poultry items that are highly seasoned, corned beef, frankfurter sausages, anchovies, and sardines must be avoided. High fat milk, whole milk, chocolate milk, strong flavored cheese, dairy products made up using whole milk, whole milk cream etc. must be avoided.
Advice to Follow
The aforementioned guidelines will certainly help in hastening the recovery process, and will also lower the risk of peptic ulcers in future. Following this diet will also help one to lead a healthier lifestyle.
- Rather than having three full meals, try planning an even distribution of your daily nutrition intake into three meals and three snacks which will automatically avoid the periods of overeating as well as hunger. While eating, always eat slowly, chew the food well and be relaxed and tension free.
- Sit up while eating, and don't lie down or slouch for an hour after having the meal. Have your dinner at least three hours before you tuck into bed for the night.
- Have a low-fat and low-carb diet and introduce a protein rich diet, avoid food products containing caffeine like coffee, tea, soft drinks etc. It would be in your interest to quit smoking and indulging in excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Stomach ulcers can be treated with drug therapy, dietary modification and other lifestyle-related changes. Follow the aforementioned tips for the diet along with your regular treatment. Lead a healthy life and try to cut down on alcohol and smoking. The condition is completely treatable, however, you have to make sure that you make a conscious effort to lead a healthy lifestyle for quick recovery.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.