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7 Foods That Can Cause Ulcers

February 17, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

The sores that you may have noticed that appear inside your lips or under your tongue are known as ulcers. They are also formed in the lining of your stomach, your small intestines, and even your throat. Ulcers in the stomach, small intestines, and throat are also called gastric, duodenal, and esophageal, respectively. Out of these three, the duodenal ulcer is the most common.

What Causes an Ulcer?

There are several common triggers for ulcers. The primary trigger is a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which enters the body through contaminated food. Some foods can also contain acids that may cause pain and discomfort for ulcer patients.

Other factors that can contribute to ulcers include long-term use of certain medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. While diet plays a significant role in ulcer aggravation, other factors, including stress and genetics, can also contribute to their formation. However, diet is generally considered the main contributing factor. It's important to be aware of the foods that can aggravate ulcers to avoid complications.   This blog will inform you about seven foods that can potentially aggravate ulcers:

1. Alcohol

Alcohol irritates the stomach lining and increases stomach acid production, which can worsen ulcer symptoms. To minimize discomfort, it is recommended to avoid or limit alcohol consumption if you have an ulcer. 

2. Coffee and Tea

Coffee and tea can stimulate acid production and potentially worsen ulcer symptoms. It is recommended to consume these beverages in moderation, especially if you have a sensitive stomach or opt for decaffeinated versions. 

3. Fatty Foods

Consuming high-fat foods, such as fast food and oily dishes, can delay stomach emptying and increase the risk of acid reflux, which can irritate ulcers. It is advisable to consume fatty foods in moderation and opt for healthier cooking methods like grilling or baking. 

4. Spicy Foods

While the relationship between spicy foods and stomach ulcers is not well-established by studies, some individuals may find that consuming spicy foods exacerbates their ulcer symptoms. It is recommended to avoid or limit the intake of spicy foods if you experience pain or discomfort.

5. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits such as oranges and limes have been reported to cause ulcers in some patients. However, the evidence linking citrus fruits to ulcers is mixed, and individual experiences may vary. It is recommended to consider personal tolerance and preferences when consuming citrus fruits.

6. Chocolates

While chocolate is known to cause stomach discomfort and may increase acidity, its impact on ulcers is not well-established. Consumption of chocolate depends on individual tolerance and how the body reacts to it.Consuming it in moderation and paying attention to any adverse effects is advisable. 

7. Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated drinks, including soda and sparkling water, can contribute to the production of stomach acid and potentially aggravate ulcers. It is advisable to limit or avoid carbonated beverages if you have an ulcer. Opt for non-carbonated alternatives like still water or herbal teas. 

Nutritional Considerations

To manage the pain and discomfort caused by ulcers, incorporating certain foods into your diet can be beneficial. Consider the following:

  • Probiotics: Foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, can help promote a healthy gut microbiome and aid in ulcer healing.

  • Fiber-rich Foods: Including fiber in your diet can support digestive health. Opt for fiber-rich foods like whole grains, oats, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Examples include oatmeal, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and bell peppers.

  • Healthy Fats: Incorporate sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds, which can provide essential nutrients and support overall well-being.

Last Word

Managing ulcers involves understanding potential triggers and making informed dietary choices. While certain foods may aggravate ulcer symptoms in some individuals, it is important to consider personal tolerances and preferences. Limiting or avoiding alcohol, coffee, fatty foods, spicy foods, citrus fruits, chocolates, and carbonated beverages may help alleviate discomfort. Additionally, incorporating probiotic-rich foods and fiber into your diet can promote digestive health.

Remember, if you experience persistent pain, it is recommended to consult a doctor who can provide an accurate diagnosis and create an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr. Tayyab Saeed Akhter on June 12th, 2023.



Peptic ulcer - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic- https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peptic-ulcer/symptoms-causes/syc-20354223

Stomach (Peptic) Ulcers: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment- https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-peptic-ulcer-disease

Helicobacter pylori infection and peptic ulcers - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1357303919300489

Pathophysiology of Peptic Ulcer Disease - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2405799121000475

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