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What Are the Best Tips for a Gastric Ulcer Diet?

By R. Britton
Updated Jan 23, 2024
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Gastric ulcers are located in the lining of the stomach. Symptoms are made worse with excess acid present in the stomach. A gastric ulcer diet is a plan to minimize the intake of food and beverages which can aggravate or worsen the ulcer. There are some common items which are more likely to induce symptoms such as caffeine, fat, and spicy foods, but each individual will find different items which he or she can or cannot eat. Positive lifestyle changes can also reduce the symptoms of a gastric ulcer and can help it to heal.

A gastric ulcer is an open wound or sore located in the stomach lining often caused by an infection of the Heliobacter pylori bacteria. Long-term use of certain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin can also damage the stomach lining sufficiently for an ulcer to develop. Once an ulcer has formed, excess acid in the stomach can aggravate the wound, thereby causing unpleasant symptoms and increasing the size of the ulcer by causing further erosion to the stomach wall around the existing ulcer.

The key to a gastric ulcer diet is to identify and eliminate foods and beverages which damage the digestive tract and cause more excess acids to be present in the stomach. This causes less irritation and can give the ulcer a greater chance of healing. Keeping a food diary is an easy and effective way of identifying which foods worsen symptoms. Once identified, these items can be eliminated from a gastric ulcer diet. A diary is also an effective way of forming a gastric ulcer diet plan because each patient will find a wide variety of different foods and beverages which either worsen or reduce symptoms.

There are some items which are more likely to worsen symptoms in the majority of patients, and the amount consumed should be reduced or eliminated from a gastric ulcer diet plan. Caffeine is known to stimulate and increase the production of stomach acids, particularly if consumed on an empty stomach. Intake of fatty foods should be reduced because larger amounts of acid are produced to digest the fat. Fruits particularly high in acid, such as citrus, should be avoided as they introduce excess acid into the stomach. Avoiding foods which cause heartburn or indigestion, such as spicy foods, is simple because they are easily identified, and the presence of heartburn indicates excess stomach acid that will make ulcer symptom more severe.

It is important to avoid overeating because the level of acid in the stomach increases with larger amounts of food. Many people suffering from both gastric and duodenal ulcers find it beneficial to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. When following a gastric ulcer diet, it is also advisable to use reduced fat substitutes including milk and cheese.

Other lifestyle changes can also help to relieve gastric ulcer symptoms. Reducing stress and anxiety has been shown to alleviate ulcer symptoms. Smoking cessation will also reduce symptoms. It is recommended to avoid taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs because these medications can cause further damage to the stomach lining and the existing ulcer.

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Discussion Comments
By anon331691 — On Apr 24, 2013

Can alcohol have an effect in getting a stomach ulcer?

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