Best Gastric Ulcer Diets

Gastric ulcers are eroded lesions in the esophagus, stomach or duodenum lining, most likely a result of H.pylori bacteria infection and inflammation. Gastric ulcers can be present anywhere in the stomach and may lead to widespread gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach. Dietary changes help to minimize pain and decrease the risk of ulcers. Occasionally, people will have intolerance to certain foods that exacerbate pain from gastric ulcers.

Medical Management

The primary cause of gastric ulcers is H. pylori bacteria and symptoms include abdominal pain and discomfort, anorexia, weight loss and vomiting. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics, antacids and acid secretion suppressors, such as proton pump inhibitors or H2 receptors antagonists. These medications are administered to stop the ulcer from bleeding. Food intake rarely affects the amount of bleeding.

Dietary Effects

Certain diets may stimulate gastric secretions and exacerbate gastric ulcer symptoms. Consuming alcohol causes stomach lining damage. Coffee and caffeine stimulate gastric secretions, which does not cause gastric ulcers but may irritate and cause excess pain. Certain spices also increase gastric secretion and may cause small erosions. The spices that irritate gastric ulcers most often are chili, cayenne pepper and black pepper.

Diet Recommendations

Small and frequent meals improve comfort by decreasing chance for acid reflux and stimulating gastric blood flow. Avoid large meals, because they may increase gastric output. Avoiding food 4 hours before sleep decreases the chance of acid backflow into the esophagus. It may be beneficial to increase omega fatty acids in the diet. Omega fats help to decrease inflammation around the ulcer. Omega fats are found in fish, flax seeds and omega fat fortified foods.

Diet Goals

The purpose of this diet is to obtain adequate nutrient intake and have high intakes of fruits, vegetables and fiber. Achieving this can reduce the risk of ulcer complications, as malnutrition may interfere with gastrointestinal wound healing. A multivitamin supplement may be beneficial.

Misconceptions

It is a common misconception that the pH or acidity of foods can lead to gastric ulcers. The pH of foods has very little effect in the cause of gastric ulcers, but may cause pain to already in inflamed areas. Foods with an acidic pH include oranges, tomatoes and lemon juice. It's a myth that milk and dairy products relieve gastric ulcers. Protein is essential to maintaining good nutrition, but excess protein foods increase gastric output and cause more pain and therefore are not recommended.

Sample Menu

An example of a one-day menu following a gastric ulcer diet includes two eggs on whole wheat toast for breakfast, along with 1 tbsp. margarine, 1 cup milk and an apple. Lunch could consist of a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, vegetable soup and a banana. For a snack, try 1 oz. cheese or nuts and crackers or a fruit, and for dinner, serve baked fish (with limited spices), mixed vegetables and a small potato. An alternative snack could be a half tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread and a half cup of milk.

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