Foods to avoid with an ulcer

Updated February 21, 2017

Ulcers are sores on the lining of your digestive tract. They are caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori. Acid and juices made by the stomach can lead to ulcers by burning the lining of your digestive tract, something that can happen if your body makes too much acid. That is why it is critical to lower the amount of acid your stomach makes, neutralise the acid that does get made, and protect the injured lining so it can heal. Treatment consists of taking antibiotics to kill the bacteria and H2 blockers (antacids) to reduce or neutralise the acid. Watching your diet, too, plays a critical role.

Foods to Eliminate

Since acid is a primary cause of ulcers, you want to completely avoid any foods with high acidic content. Among them: alcohol, black and red peppers, chilli powder and hot peppers, all of which irritate the stomach lining, and coffee, tea, colas, or chocolate, which can increase the amount of stomach acid.

Foods to Avoid

Also avoid or limit your intake of orange juice, lemonade or other citrus juices; oranges, lemons, and grapefruits; tomatoes and tomato juice; and fatty foods, particularly fried or greasy meats such as sausage, salami, ribs, pepperoni, bacon, ham and cold cuts.

Gas Relief

Since one of the side effects of ulcers is bloating, you also should avoid foods that might cause you to have extra gas, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, sauerkraut or other pickled vegetables, onions, garlic, milk, beans and peas, and some fruits.

Portion Control

In addition to avoiding certain foods, be gentle on your stomach by eating five or six small meals a day instead of two or three large ones. To reduce the number of times stomach acid is produced, eliminate snacking. And, by all means, do not eat just before bedtime, when a full stomach can often lead to a nighttime secretion of stomach acid.


If you have an ulcer, stop smoking immediately. The nicotine in cigarettes can cause the stomach to produce significantly more acid, increasing the likelihood of your ulcer hanging around for a long time.

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About the Author

Thomas K. Arnold is publisher and editorial director of "Home Media Magazine" and a regular contributor to "Variety." He is a former editorial writer for U-T San Diego. He also has written for "San Diego Magazine," "USA Today" and the Copley News Service. Arnold attended San Diego State University.