20/04/2023 / Digestive Disease & Gastroenterology

Stomach Ulcer Diet: Foods to eat and Foods to Avoid

Stomach Ulcer Diet: Discover how to prevent stomach ulcers through a healthy and balanced diet. Also, Learn the foods to eat and avoid with an ulcer.

Stomach Ulcer Diet Foods to eat and Foods to Avoid
Dr. Jilas PaingeeriDr. Jilas Paingeeri
Dr. Jilas Paingeeri
Dental Surgeon, Research Associate
Medically Cited
Fact Checked

Table of Content


Stomach ulcers can cause significant discomfort and pain, making it difficult to go about our daily lives. They occur when the lining of the stomach or small intestine gets damaged, leading to sores or open wounds. While there are various causes of stomach ulcers, diet plays a crucial role. Fortunately, with the right stomach ulcer diet, we can help alleviate symptoms and prevent future occurrences.

In this blog, we will explore the causes of stomach ulcers, the foods to avoid with an ulcer, and how to prevent stomach ulcers through diet and lifestyle changes. By understanding the importance of a stomach ulcer diet and making smart choices regarding our food intake, we can take proactive steps to promote good digestive health and avoid the discomfort and pain associated with stomach ulcers. So, let's dive in and learn how to care for our stomachs!

What is an Ulcer?

Peptic ulcers refer to the localized erosion of the mucosal lining in parts of the digestive system that come into contact with acidic gastric juice. Stomach ulcers may also occur in other parts of the digestive system, including the food pipe, stomach, or jejunum, the second part of the small intestine. In rare cases, peptic ulcers may even develop in the mouth or on the tongue.

How are ulcers formed?

Ulcers are formed when the protective layer of the digestive tract, known as the mucosa, becomes damaged or compromised. The mucosa helps to protect the digestive tract from the strong stomach acid and digestive enzymes produced during the digestive process. However, when the mucosa becomes damaged, it can no longer provide this protection, and the stomach acid and digestive enzymes can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to the formation of an ulcer.

Stomach ulcer Causes

Various causes of stomach ulcers can damage the protective mucus layer. Some common factors contributing to the formation of stomach ulcers include spicy and irritant foods, persistent intake of extremely hot beverages, alcohol, drugs such as aspirin, steroids, certain antibiotics, and painkillers, and excessive caffeine consumption. Additionally, bacterial infection by Helicobacter pylori is a significant cause of stomach ulcers.

Now, the question arises of whether psychological stress can cause ulcers. It is essential to note that stress can be of two types: physical and psychological. Physical stress, such as chronic illnesses, major surgery, head injury or brain injury, burns and accidents, stroke, pregnancy, and childbirth, can trigger stress ulcers.

While the link between psychological stress and ulcers is still under debate, some studies suggest that mental stress can affect the immune system and lead to ulcer formation. However, further research and scientific literature are necessary to establish a clear relationship between psychological stress and the causes of stomach ulcers.

Symptoms and possible complications of Peptic ulcers

Symptoms and possible complications of Peptic ulcers

Peptic ulcers are a common digestive disorder that can cause various symptoms and complications. In the early stages, peptic ulcer symptoms may not be present, but patients may experience various symptoms as the condition progresses.

One of the most common symptoms of peptic ulcers is upper abdominal pain, which may be described as dull, piercing, burning, or gnawing. This pain is usually relieved by taking food or antacids. Heartburn due to reflux, discomfort, bloating, and gas are common peptic ulcer symptoms. Nausea and vomiting may also occur, particularly if the ulcer is in the stomach.

Weight loss is another potential symptom of peptic ulcers, especially if the person avoids food due to pain and discomfort. In addition, people with peptic ulcers may experience an increased incidence of mouth ulcers and sores.

A complicated ulcer can sometimes develop, leading to more severe symptoms and complications. For example, a hemorrhage (bleeding) may be the first indication of an ulcer and require surgical intervention. This is known as a complicated ulcer and presents with blood in vomiting, which is dark reddish or brownish, also called coffee-ground vomitus. Other life-threatening complications such as obstruction, perforation, or bleeding ulcers may also require surgical treatment.

In rare cases, a persistent ulcer may become cancerous, presenting with weight loss, loss of appetite, weakness, anemia, and early satiety due to reduced gastric capacity. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the potential peptic ulcer symptoms and seek medical attention promptly if any symptoms occur.

Stomach Ulcer Diet

When it comes to managing stomach ulcers, one of the key aspects is following a suitable stomach ulcer diet. It is often recommended to incorporate a bland diet, which is mechanically, chemically, and thermally non-irritating. Let’s look at the foods to add and avoid in a stomach ulcer diet, to promote proper healing and avoid symptoms.

Stomach Ulcer Diet

To begin with, adding fiber-rich foods to a stomach ulcer diet is essential. A fiber-rich diet can also help lower the risk of peptic ulcers. Foods like apples, carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, cauliflower, and various fruits and vegetables are all good options.

Antioxidant-rich foods are also great additions to a stomach ulcer diet. These foods can help eradicate the H. Pylori bacteria, which is often responsible for causing ulcers. Some antioxidant-rich foods include spinach, beets, beans, red cabbage, kale, raspberries, goji berries, artichokes, blueberries, strawberries, dark chocolate, and purple or red grapes.

Vitamin C is another important nutrient to incorporate into a stomach ulcer diet, as it is an excellent source of antioxidants and helps with wound healing. Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, but their acidity cannot cause ulcers directly. However, for individuals who experience discomfort with citrus fruits, alternatives like strawberries, potatoes, and broccoli could be added to the stomach ulcer diet.

Vitamin A-rich foods are also great options to include in a stomach ulcer diet, as they help rebuild the damaged inner mucus lining of ulcers. Vitamin A-rich foods include carrots, broccoli, spinach, eggs, and sweet potatoes.

Flavonoids are another group of food substances that are rich in antioxidants and can help prevent the damaging action of H. Pylori on the stomach lining. Foods like strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, red cabbage, onions, kale, parsley, tea, red wine, dark chocolate, soybeans, and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit are all good options to consider.

Moderate amounts of fat can also benefit thin patients, as they help suppress gastric secretion. Healthy fat sources like unsalted butter, cream, and olive oil can be incorporated into a stomach ulcer diet.

Overall, it's essential to maintain a balanced diet composed of all the major nutrient groups when following a stomach ulcer diet. This will help ensure proper nutrition and assist in proper healing. Remember, the key to a successful stomach ulcer diet is tailoring it to avoid symptoms based on individual needs and food tolerances.

Foods to avoid with an ulcer

When managing an ulcer, being mindful of your food is crucial. Some foods can worsen your symptoms, while others can promote healing. Here are some key foods to avoid with ulcers that you should be aware of.

Firstly, very hot foods can be particularly problematic for people with ulcers, as they can affect wound healing. Consuming too hot foods can cause inflammation and irritation, slowing the healing process. Therefore, avoiding extremely hot foods and beverages is best if you have an ulcer.

Spicy foods are another type of foods to avoid with ulcers. While they do not cause ulcers, they can irritate existing ulcers and cause abdominal pain. Hot peppers, chili powder, and curry are all foods that are too spicy and should be avoided if you have an ulcer.

Fried or fatty foods should also be avoided as they can cause bloating and gas, which can aggravate your ulcer symptoms. High-fat foods like fried chicken, fast food, and processed snacks are all examples of foods to avoid with ulcers.

Processed foods containing synthetic additives or preservatives can also be problematic for people with ulcers. These foods can cause inflammation and irritate the lining of the stomach, worsening your symptoms. Therefore, it's important to read food labels carefully and avoid foods that contain artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors if you have an ulcer.

When it comes to dairy products, it's important to know that they can be classified into two types: fermented and non-fermented. Fermented dairy products like yogurt, cheese, curd, and kefir help improve gut health and reduce the risk of developing ulcers. These foods contain healthy bacteria that promote gut health and protect the stomach lining. However, non-fermented dairy, like milk, can worsen ulcers and should be avoided.

Alcohol is another type of food to avoid ulcers. It's a well-known irritant for people with ulcers and has the same action as gastric acid, which erodes the protective mucus lining of the stomach. Therefore, it's best to avoid alcohol completely or limit your intake as much as possible.

Finally, caffeine is another substance that can aggravate ulcers.

Caffeine in coffee, teas, and some chocolates can increase gastric acid production, worsening symptoms. So if you have an ulcer, it's important to avoid caffeine in your diet and stick to other beverages instead.

What to eat with stomach ulcer?

Knowing what to eat can significantly affect the healing process if you suffer from a stomach ulcer. "What to eat with stomach ulcer?" is a crucial question that needs to be answered to avoid aggravating the condition.

What to eat with stomach ulcer

One of the essential things to consider when choosing foods to eat with a stomach ulcer is their ability to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are high in fiber and can help reduce inflammation while promoting healthy gut bacteria growth, aiding healing. Incorporating lean protein sources, such as fish, poultry, and tofu, can also be beneficial, as they are low in fat and help repair and build tissues in the body.

Foods that contain probiotics, like yogurt and kefir, are also great choices for those with stomach ulcers. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can help to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and protect the stomach lining.

When it comes to drinks, avoiding alcohol and caffeinated beverages is crucial, as they can irritate the stomach lining and worsen ulcer symptoms.

Herbal teas such as chamomile are a great option as they can help to soothe the stomach and reduce inflammation.

To manage stomach ulcers, it's also important to avoid foods that can aggravate ulcer symptoms, such as spicy foods, fatty or fried foods, and processed foods with high amounts of sugar or preservatives. These foods can cause inflammation and irritation, slowing the healing and worsening ulcer symptoms.

How to Prevent Stomach Ulcers?

Here are some tips on preventing stomach ulcers:

  • Avoid NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen can irritate the lining of the stomach and increase the risk of developing ulcers. If you need to take NSAIDs for a prolonged period, consult your doctor and ask for alternatives or ways to minimize their impact.

  • Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can irritate the stomach lining, increasing the risk of developing ulcers. If you drink alcohol, limit your intake to moderate levels.

  • Quit smoking: Smoking can also increase the risk of developing stomach ulcers. Smoking can impair the healing of existing ulcers and damage the stomach lining. Therefore, quitting smoking is important in preventing stomach ulcers.

  • Manage stress: Stress has been linked to the development of stomach ulcers. Therefore, managing stress through relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga is important.

  • Maintain a healthy diet: A healthy diet can prevent the development of stomach ulcers. Focus on consuming a diet rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, and low in fat. Avoid foods high in sugar, caffeine, and spicy, as they irritate the stomach lining.

  • Practice good hygiene: Bacterial infections can cause stomach ulcers. Practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly, properly storing and cooking food, and avoiding sharing utensils, is important.

  • Get regular check-ups: Regular check-ups can help detect early signs of stomach ulcers. If you experience persistent abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Home remedies for stomach ulcer

If you have a stomach ulcer, you can try some home remedies to relieve the pain and discomfort.

  • Eat a Healthy Diet: Eating a healthy diet can help prevent and heal stomach ulcers. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats. Avoid spicy, fatty, fried foods, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods with high amounts of sugar or preservatives.

  • Probiotics: Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can help to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and protect the stomach lining. Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi can benefit those with stomach ulcers.

  • Honey: Honey has natural antibacterial properties that can help to kill the H. pylori bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. Mix a tablespoon of honey on an empty stomach with warm water or tea every morning.

  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing in the stomach lining. Drink a quarter cup of aloe vera juice daily or take aloe vera supplements.

  • Licorice Root: Licorice root has been used for centuries to treat stomach ulcers. It has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. You can take licorice root supplements or drink licorice tea.

  • Garlic: Garlic has antibacterial properties that can help to kill the H. pylori bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. Include garlic in your diet or take garlic supplements.

  • Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce inflammation and soothe the stomach lining. Drink a cup of chamomile tea after meals or before bed.

  • Stress Reduction: Stress can aggravate stomach ulcers, so it's essential to practice stress reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.

While these home remedies can help relieve stomach ulcer symptoms, consulting with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is important. Severe or untreated stomach ulcers can lead to serious complications, such as bleeding and perforation.

Diet for bleeding ulcer

A bleeding ulcer is a serious medical condition that requires immediate treatment. In addition to medical treatment, a specific diet can help promote healing and prevent further complications.

Generally, a diet for a bleeding ulcer should be bland, low in fat, and high in fiber. It should consist of small, frequent meals rather than large ones to avoid putting too much stress on the stomach. Here are some recommended foods:

  • Lean proteins: Choose lean proteins such as chicken, fish, and tofu. These foods are easy to digest and low in fat, which makes them ideal for a bleeding ulcer diet.

  • Complex carbohydrates: Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat pasta, are high in fiber and provide sustained energy. They can help to regulate digestion and prevent constipation.

  • Fruits and vegetables: Opt for cooked vegetables instead of raw, as they are easier to digest. Fruits low in acid, such as bananas, pears, and applesauce, can be included.

  • Dairy products: Low-fat dairy products like skim milk, plain yogurt, and low-fat cheese can provide important nutrients like calcium and protein without exacerbating ulcer symptoms.

  • Herbal teas: Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and black tea should be avoided, as they irritate the stomach lining. Instead, opt for non-caffeinated herbal teas like chamomile, which can help to soothe the stomach.

In addition to these dietary recommendations, it's important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other non-caffeinated fluids. Eating slowly and chewing food properly is also recommended, as this can aid digestion and prevent further irritation to the stomach lining.

Warning signs for stomach ulcers

Prompt medical attention may be necessary if you observe any of the following symptoms, which could indicate a peptic ulcer:

  • Vomiting blood that appears red or black

  • Dark or tarry stools

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Changes in appetite

  • Early satiety

If you encounter any of these warning signs, it's crucial to seek immediate medical attention at a hospital to receive timely management.

Take-Home Points

  • A stomach ulcer is a sore on the stomach lining causing discomfort and pain, with symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and burning pain. 

  • Ulcers can result in bleeding in the digestive tract, which can cause vomiting of blood or dark stools. The causes of ulcers include stress, bacteria, and certain medications. 

  • To manage and prevent ulcers, following a stomach ulcer diet is recommended. Certain foods should be avoided, such as spicy or acidic foods, fried and fatty foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Instead, whole, nutritious foods that reduce inflammation and promote healing should be consumed. High-fiber foods, lean protein sources, and probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir are beneficial. 

  • Preventing ulcers involves avoiding known risk factors like excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, limiting NSAID use, managing stress levels, and following a healthy, whole-food diet.


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