Microbial infection and long term usage of certain medications causes the formation of open sores or abrasions on the lining of the small intestine or stomach. These sores are known as peptic ulcers. A patient usually has to suffer from a lot of discomfort and pain. The most common symptom is abdominal pain with a burning sensation, which often aggravates after eating. Pain is felt even in an empty stomach, probably due to the presence of gastric juice, which can be brought down with the intake of antacids and milk. Other signs and symptoms are heartburn, belching, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, and loss of appetite and weight.
Many people suffering from peptic ulcers, can eat everything with no significant discomfort. However, there are some who develop excessive acid production, heartburn, and irritation after eating certain foods. If you happen to be among these unfortunate patients, you need to know about the foods that are safe for you.
Diet: Dos and Don’ts
Following are some peptic ulcer diet ‘do and don’t’ guidelines.
- Do not eat food in bulk. They add extra workload on your digestive system. Try to eat 5-6 times a day and keep the amount of food small. This will avoid the periods of hunger and will also curb overeating.
- Rest and relax, both before and after every meal. Try to eat slowly and chew the food well. This will ease their digestion.
- Include a rich source of protein at each meal. Such foodstuffs can be milk, eggs, meat, and cheese.
- Do not eat anything at least three hours before bedtime.
- Avoid foods that are fried and spicy. Also, decrease the intake amount of caffeine containing drinks, like coffee and tea.
- Do not take carbonated drinks, chocolate, and tomato based products, as they work towards increasing acidity.
- Quit smoking and cut down on the consumption of alcohol.
- Take the antacids as recommended by the doctor. Generally, they are taken 1-3 hours after every meal and prior to bedtime.
- Avoid magnesium containing antacids as they may cause diarrhea.
Diet Compatible Foods
Whole grain cereals are mostly safe to eat with peptic ulcers. Generally, whole-grain, seedless breads, tortillas, bagels, English muffins, and hot dog buns form a part of the diet. You may also take enriched rice, noodles, pastas, and spaghetti macaroni without any discomfort. You may have French toasts, pancakes, muffins, and waffles with a low fat content once a while. Their increased amount may cause some uneasiness. Very coarse cereals such as bran, wild rice, breads with seeds and bread products with nuts and dried fruits are not meant to be included in this diet.
2-3 daily servings of fresh, frozen, or canned fruits are tolerated to some extent. Fruits like papaya, watermelon, and apples can be eaten on a regular basis. Citrus fruits such as grapes, pineapples, oranges, and tangerines are not advisable for patients, as they increase the acidity and thus further worsen the condition.
3-4 daily servings of fresh, canned, or frozen vegetables except tomato, can be taken without much concern. If you feel some discomfort with the intake of a particular vegetable, omit that from your diet. Some vegetables are gas forming in nature. Hence, they are not included in this diet. A few examples of such vegetables are cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onion, cauliflower, cucumber, and sauerkraut.
Milk causes a neutralization effect during the initial hours of its intake. Therefore, it is good for patients with peptic ulcers. Various dairy products like plain mild cheese, low fat cottage cheese, and no fat yogurt are recommended for intake. Certain flavors of milk and its products are a big no-no. These are chocolate milk, buttermilk, evaporated whole milk and cream, and strong flavored cheese.
Meat and its Substitutes
All lean, tender pork, beef, lamb, and poultry without the skin can be taken safely. Even fresh, canned and frozen fish packed in water are considered safe for consumption. 3-5 egg yolks can be taken each week. Highly seasoned and heavily marbled meat, poultry, and fish are not meant to be included in peptic ulcer diet.
The dietary approach given above has helped a number of patients to recover from both acute and chronic ulcers. Therefore, construct your daily meals from the foodstuffs suggested above, to help your body recover from peptic ulcers. Make sure that whatever you eat, you take approximately 80 grams of proteins, 250 grams of carbohydrates, and 65 grams of fat, with about 3245 mg of sodium and 3000 mg of potassium. Your daily calorie intake should not exceed 2000 calories. Follow this peptic ulcer diet strictly, to quicken the recovery process.