Foods to Avoid With H. Pylori Infection
The odds are, either you or someone you is infected with H. pylori: a bacteria that sets up shop in the stomach lining. A recent study from the National Institute of Health reported that 20 percent of people under 40 and more than half of people over 60 are infected. While many people may never even know they're infected, a significant minority will develop gastritis (inflammation in the stomach), ulcers, and in some cases stomach cancer.
The most common symptoms include a burning pain in the abdomen (often right below the ribs). Other symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Black stools
Foods to Avoid with H. Pylori
1. Spicy Foods
Avoid spices such as chili powder, black pepper, red pepper, mustard powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and mustard seeds. These spices can irritate your stomach, exacerbating the symptoms of H. pylori.
2. High-Fat and Fried Foods
Cut back on high-fat meat and dairy products. These foods may increase inflammation in the stomach lining and provide a perfect environment for H. pylori to thrive. Fatty foods slow down the emptying of the stomach, which can contribute to feelings of bloat or discomfort. Try to avoid red meats in your diet.
3. Refined, Sugary Foods
H. pylori bacteria love sugar and they need it to reproduce. So reducing your intake of foods with added sugar will in turn reduce the amount of H. pylori bacteria in your stomach. Also, processed foods are low in fiber, which helps regulate digestion.
Avoid beverages that can irritate the stomach lining including coffee, decaffeinated coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
5. Acidic Foods
Acid can make symptoms of H. pylori worse. So foods to avoid would include tomatoes, soft drinks, and citrus fruits. Replace any vinegar with apple cider vinegar instead. Also avoid any pickled foods, since those have a high vinegar content.
Foods to Combat H. Pylori
Rich in antioxidants and high in fiber, fruits help your body fight off infections, reduce ulcer pain, and combat gastritis. Fruits with lots of fiber include raspberries, pears, and prunes. Cranberries and apples are also highly recommended because they contain flavonoids—chemicals that prevent H. pylori from growing.
Veggies like artichokes, peas, spinach, and sweet potatoes contain high levels of fiber and lots of antioxidants. Garlic, celery, and onions also contain lots of flavonoids. Broccoli also comes highly recommended, since it contains selenium, diindolylmethan, and sulforaphane, which are anti-carcinogenic and can prevent peptic ulcers from becoming cancerous.
3. Green Tea
Green tea contains lots of polyphenols, which inhibit the growth and spread of H. pylori. Studies have shown that drinking green tea every day can effectively reduce the amount of H. pylori in your system.
Recent studies suggest that ginseng can help contain H. pylori infections by suppressing mRNA and protein levels. Studies also show that ginseng can help with the symptoms of gastritis.
5. Iron and B12
H. pylori can interfere with the absorption of iron and B12, leading to anemia. Usually once the infection clears up, the stomach can go back to easily absorbing those minerals. But in the meantime, your doctor may tell you to take supplements or eat foods rich in iron and B12 like poultry, kale, and beans.