Ulcer is mostly caused by the action of a particular microbe that makes its way into the body through the mouth and hides in the stomach lining. Helicobacter pylori is a kind of bacteria that can be transmitted from person to person, water and or food. It can be transmitted from person to person through kissing because it is seen in the saliva of a person that carries it. They are also present in the plaque on teeth, utensils and poop. That is why you should always brush very effectively and frequently, and always wash your hand thoroughly. Some also believe they are actively present in the sweat and body fluids of those carrying Helicobacter Pylori.
How H. Pylori hurts our digestive system
After H. Pylori has successfully made its way into our mouth and GI system either through kissing or eating from infected plates or hands, it goes ahead to attach itself unto the stomach wall lining. Although the stomach is an acidic environment because of the digestive enzyme (Hydrochloric acid) that helps to digest carbohydrate foods, H. Pylori can still find a way to escape death quickly. How does it do this? It quickly attaches itself to the stomach wall and multiplies. It also secretes some enzymes that lead to the production of ammonia which in turn protects the bacteria from being attacked by the stomach acid. As the bacteria multiply further, it eats deeper into the stomach tissues thereby causing soreness and redness. This is how ulcer is formed in the stomach and duodenum (the top area of the intestine). Ulcers occur in the stomach as gastric ulcers, and in the top region of the small intestine as peptic ulcers.
It is interesting to know that those who are heavy on taking painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen are more at risk of developing soreness (injury) in their gut lining by the compounds in the drug.
Here are some common facts about H. Pylori and ulcers
H. pylori bacterial infection is mostly in children and some adults of most developing countries.
About 50-70% of the world population has H. Pylori in them but never cause an illness.
Many children with H.Pylori never show any symptoms.
Diseases caused by the action of H.pylori (ulcers) is dependent on the strain of H. Pylori.
Most ulcers in women are caused by medication.
Ulcers are not caused by eating peppery or spicy foods. However, eating excess spiced foods and stress can aggravate the symptoms of ulcers.
But since spicy foods and acidic foods can aggravate the pain and symptoms of ulcer, what then should ulcer patients eat?
There are a variety of foods that a person living with ulcer should eat or not eat in order to heal fast even when taking medication for the same. Firstly let us discuss the range of foods that will trigger more pain and increase symptoms.
Ulcer patients should avoid the following because they will trigger more erosion of the stomach lining;
fried foods or foods with excess fat contents
acidic foods like lemon and orange juices
drinking alcohol of any volume.
any form of dairy because it will increase the production of stomach acid and cause some more pains later.
animal foods because animal foods are the major carriers of such bacteria, and the pro-inflammatory compounds released from them will also cause more damage.
What should I be eating if I have an Ulcer?
Plant foods offer a wide range of protection to the stomach and the body as a whole. Foods that you should enjoy freely and more likely daily are base-forming plant-based foods. healing. "Plant-eaters enjoys a whole package of protection of their guts due to the protective compounds present in whole plant foods", says Dr Michael Gregor, founder of Nutrifact.org. Plant foods that are fibre-rich are already seen to prevent the development of ulcers in those that eat them, and they are also seen to alleviate the pain and bring about healing. Some of the foods will be
1. Fibre-Rich Foods: such as oats, brown rice, nuts, vegetables and fruits like apples, carrots, beetroot, pear, psyllium husk, barley, avocado
2. Vitamin-rich foods: Vitamin-rich foods contain antioxidants that help to improve the body's immune system. The immune system will be able to fight the bacteria and heal the sores from within. These foods would include a variety of plant foods like cabbage, broccoli, bell peppers, cherries, turmeric, cloves, bay leaf, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, etc.
3. Cranberries and other berries: Cranberries have some great antibiotics ability. The phytochemical in them, tannins, help to lock the bacteria down, prevent its further multiplication and reduces the pain inflicted on their host.
4. Fermented foods and probiotics: They offer a variety of protection to the body as well as supply the GI system with some healthy bacteria and trigger a displacement of the ulcer-causing bacteria. Foods in this category are miso, pickles, kimchi, green vegetables, yoghurts (not milk).
Guideline for Ulcer patients
Drink more water
Eat small frequent foods rather than having only three main meals daily.
Eat more plant-based food
Relax for few minutes after each meal
Eat your last meal for the day a few hours before you lay in bed.
Make sure you do not rush your food at mealtimes. Eat slowly.