Helicobacter Pylori Diet, Foods
Helicobacter pylori is a commonly found bacterium in our digestive tracts. Its presence may not throw up conspicuous symptoms, until it causes an infection in the lining of the stomach. The incidence of helicobacter pylori infection is more in developing countries where certain essential measures of sanitation are sometimes, compromised. The infection is contagious, albeit doctors are still unsure of the mode of transmission. It is believed that contact with an infected person’s feces, i.e., while doing the laundry or while cleaning the bathroom or changing a diaper, or by kissing, i.e., mouth to mouth contact, or with infected water or food can result in transmission of the bacteria.
A helicobacter pylori diet should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables have been found to be helpful in the reduction of helicobacter pylori in the gut. Foods rich in vitamins A and C should be increased in the diet. Carotenoids should also be included in abundance. Spinach, sweet potatoes, legumes, carrots, broccoli, and strawberries are rich in antioxidant nutrients. A diet for H pylori infection should also be rich in fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables and flavoniods from apples, cranberries, onions, and celery. Helicobacter pylori foods should be able to counter the acidity in the stomach and help to eradicate the bacteria colonies as well. Foods for helicobacter pylori include whole grains, fresh fruits, dark, leafy greens, antioxidant-rich foods like melons, watercress and sweet peppers, legumes, and dried fruits. Foods to eat with helicobacter pylori should be rich in vitamins A and C, iron, and carotenoids. Calcium and B-complex-rich foods should also be included and low fat foods should be chosen to lower acid levels in the stomach.
Foods To Avoid Helicobacter Pylori
Foods to avoid with helicobacter pylori are simple sugars and processed foods. Sugar is an ideal environment for the bacteria to thrive and hence, should be avoided. Chocolate, dairy, red meat, processed and fast foods, pickles, excess salt, and alcoholic beverages should be excluded from the diet. Foods that kill helicobacter pylori are more effective in alleviating the symptoms of the infection. Mastic gum, obtained from a tree resin Pistacia lentiscus, is believed to eradicate helicobacter pylori from the oral cavity and stomach. Sulforaphane, which is abundant in broccoli and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, is also considered effective against helicobacter pylori.
Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements For H Pylori
Nutrients for H pylori include a diet rich in vitamins A and C. They are found in abundance in fresh fruits, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, apricots, and parsley. These vitamins aid in preventing the H pylori bacteria from sticking to the walls of the stomach. Thus, the incidence of infection is greatly reduced. Increased intake of iron and B-complex is also essential to make up for their lowered absorption due to the presence of the H pylori bacteria in the stomach.
Vitamins for helicobacter pylori patients need to be supplemented as the presence of the bacteria hinders the absorption of essential nutrients. Vitamin C is believed to prevent the bacteria from sticking to the lining of the intestines. It is also considered effective in gut healing. Vitamin B12 deficiency is also seen in H pylori patients as the intestines cannot absorb the nutrient properly. Typically, the stomach produces the intrinsic factor to absorb vitamin B12 from the food. However, the H pylori bacteria hinder the production of this intrinsic factor. Hence, the patients suffer from the deficiency of B12 and need to be given supplements.
Supplements for helicobacter pylori sufferers include increased intake of carotenoids, vitamins A and C, and zinc. They are believed to increase the ability of the lining of the stomach to repair and regenerate. Probiotics supplements are also useful to increase the population of useful or friendly bacteria in the intestines. Multivitamins and mineral supplements make up for the deficiency due to poor absorption from food. Natural supplements for H pylori include those obtained from intake of certain foods. Garlic and citrus seeds are considered to have antibacterial properties, while mastic gum and berberine are believed to help in the eradication of the bacteria.
Oregano and thyme are considered effective herbs for helicobacter pylori. They aid in reduction of the bacterial count in the gut. Garlic is also believed to have antibacterial properties and work well against H pylori bacteria. Curcumin, which gives turmeric its yellow color, is considered to inhibit the bacteria as well as boost the body’s immunity. Licorice is one of the natural herbs for helicobacter pylori and is known for its bactericidal properties. Onions of the Allium family are also renowned for their antibacterial properties and should be part of an H pylori diet. Chinese herbs for H pylori are also in common use today. Dried ginger root tea, licorice extract, tendril leaf fritillary bulb, and notoginseng are used to relieve the symptoms of an H pylori infection.
Symptoms, Causes & Treatment For H Pylori
- Dull (sometimes shooting) abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Repeated burping and bloating
- Dark or tar colored stools
- Loss of appetite
- Significant weight loss
- Antibiotics along with proton pump inhibitors are administered to curtail the growth of the bacteria.
- A carefully chosen diet (devoid of fried and fatty foods, processed foods, and sugars) can be adopted to complement medical treatment.
For preventing helicobacter pylori, consider the following pointers:
- Ensure a hygienic environment that is free of germs as this helps to keep H pylori at bay.
- Avoid drinking water or eating food that has been may be contaminated.
- Wash your hands well with soap, both after using the rest room and before meals.
Helicobacter pylori diagnosis can be made through blood tests that reveal specific antibodies developed to counter the H pylori bacteria. At times, breath tests may also be taken to determine the presence of H pylori bacteria. A doctor may further advise stool tests to confirm the presence of H pylori proteins in the fecal matter.