Stomach Ulcer Diet: Foods to eat and Foods to Avoid

Stomach ulcers are painful sores that develop in the lining of the stomach or small intestine. These ulcers are often caused by a bacterial infection, but can also be caused by excessive use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other factors such as stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, and an unhealthy diet.

One of the best ways to manage stomach ulcers is by adopting a healthy diet that includes foods that help to soothe the stomach lining and avoid foods that can aggravate the condition. In this article, we will discuss the foods to eat and foods to avoid when following a stomach ulcer diet.

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.

Foods to Eat on a Stomach Ulcer Diet

  1. High-Fiber Foods

Foods that are high in fiber can help to promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation, which can worsen ulcer symptoms. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. It is recommended to consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.

  1. Lean Proteins

Choose lean proteins such as skinless chicken, fish, turkey, tofu, and beans. These foods are easy to digest and will not irritate the stomach lining. Avoid high-fat meats such as bacon, sausage, and fried chicken.

  1. Low-Fat Dairy

Low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of calcium and can help to reduce stomach acid. However, it is important to choose low-fat options as high-fat dairy products can aggravate ulcer symptoms.

  1. Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help to boost the immune system and promote healing. Choose non-acidic options such as bananas, melons, apples, carrots, and green leafy vegetables.

  1. Healthy Fats

Healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseed, and nuts can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Olive oil and avocado are also good sources of healthy fats.

  1. Herbal Teas

Herbal teas such as chamomile, ginger, and licorice root can help to soothe the stomach lining and reduce inflammation. Drink these teas between meals or before bed.

Foods to Avoid on a Stomach Ulcer Diet

  1. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can irritate the stomach lining and make ulcer symptoms worse. Avoid hot peppers, chili powder, and other spicy seasonings.

  1. Acidic Foods

Acidic foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar can increase stomach acid and aggravate ulcer symptoms. Avoid these foods or eat them in small amounts.

  1. Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol can increase stomach acid and irritate the stomach lining. Avoid coffee, tea, soda, and alcoholic beverages.

  1. High-Fat Foods

High-fat foods such as fried foods, fatty meats, and full-fat dairy products can slow down digestion and increase the risk of acid reflux. Avoid these foods and choose lean proteins and low-fat dairy options instead.

  1. Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated beverages can increase gas in the stomach and cause bloating and discomfort. Avoid soda, sparkling water, and other carbonated beverages.

  1. Processed Foods

Processed foods such as chips, crackers, and fast food are often high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats that can worsen ulcer symptoms. Choose whole, nutrient-dense foods instead.


Following a stomach ulcer diet can help to reduce symptoms and promote healing. Choose high-fiber foods, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and herbal teas. Avoid spicy and acidic foods, caffeine and alcohol, high-fat foods, carbonated beverages, and processed foods