The gut wrenching pain and constant hunger of a stomach ulcer can stop you in your tracks. Ulcers affect millions of people on a regular basis, but they are easy to treat. Common foods and herbs found in most kitchens can naturally soothe the pain of a stomach ulcer and heal your stomach lining without the side effects of modern pharmaceuticals.
What is an ulcer?
A normally functioning stomach produces digestive acids to break down the food we eat. These powerful acids can eat away at our stomach lining, causing a sore spot or hole called an ulcer. Our bodies protect the stomach lining by producing a thick mucosal layer that shields it from the acids. If that layer is weakened, digestive acids can damage the sensitive tissues of our stomach lining. This mucosal layer also protects our stomachs from infection by the Helicobacter pylori (H-pylori) bacteria. This bacteria is present in many people, but only causes a problem when it is allowed to infect our tissues.
The mucosal layer is so important to our stomach health, but there are factors that can compromise it. These include excessive amounts of digestive acid, overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), too much alcohol, and high levels of stress.
If you are diagnosed with a stomach ulcer, you may be prescribed a proton pump inhibitor, or a drug which lowers stomach acid production. Antibiotics can also be prescribed to control the H-pylori bacteria. Extended use of acid reducing drugs can cause a heartburn sensation once discontinued, while antibiotics can cause their own side effects. But natural foods and herbs can heal your stomach without the risk of these side effects.
Natural Stomach Ulcer Treatments
Natural stomach ulcer treatments can help to soothe stomach pain, while reducing acid production and the bacteria population. They are safe enough to be taken with or without prescription acid reducers and antibiotics. Using these simple teas and foods can help you to heal, and prevent the condition from recurring.
- Chamomile – Drinking chamomile tea daily can soothe the irritated mucus membranes and stomach lining. The anti-inflammatory properties it contains reduces the pain and discomfort associated with ulcers. Chamomile is also a calming agent, and can help to reduce feelings of stress or anxiety.
- Green Tea – Green tea contains antibacterial compounds called catechins which fight against the H-pylori bacteria. Green tea also helps to boost your natural immune defenses when consumed on a regular basis.
- Bananas – This yummy fruit stimulates the growth of the mucosal lining in the stomach and intestinal tract, especially when still unripe. Some prescription ulcer medications contain the same water soluble compounds called polysaccharides found in bananas. Because of these, bananas help to soothe the stomach lining and reduce discomfort.
- Almonds – These naturally alkaline nuts are acid reducers. Eating a handful of almonds, or drinking a cup of almond milk, can help reduce stomach acid during recovery. Almonds can also help reduce any acid reflux that occurs after discontinuing acid reducing medications.
- Oats – This soothing, fiber rich food can help to heal ulcers by promoting tissue repair and reducing acid production. Eating a bowl of oatmeal can also stop the pain and discomfort of an aching stomach.
- Garlic – The flavonoids in garlic can reduce stomach acid production. They also exhibit specific antimicrobial activity against the H-pylori bacteria, hindering its growth. H-pylori may serve a function in our bodies. Garlic has been praised for controlling H-pylori levels without eliminating it completely.
- Honey– An enzyme in honey, glucose oxidase, produces hydrogen peroxide that kills the H-pylori bacteria. Honey also contains other antibacterial properties, and seems to be most successful in its raw and unprocessed form.
Maintaining good stomach health and reducing your risk of another ulcer can be as easy as including these foods into your diet regularly. It is extremely important to identify the factors that caused the ulcer in the first place, and make any lifestyle changes needed to ensure your stomach remains strong and healthy.