Research suggests that more than half of the world’s population may have a Helicobacter pylori infection. The bacteria can cause gastro intestinal problems, including gastritis and other stomach complaints. Risk factors for contracting the H. pylori bacteria include contaminated food and water supplies, along with poor hygiene. A special diet for Helicobacter pylori can help ease some of the symptoms, particularly for those with gastritis. Dietary recommendations for gastro intestinal problems include plenty of fiber, fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, along with legumes and beans.
Gastro Intestinal Problems
Quite a few gastro intestinal problems, including gastritis, can be linked to a Helicobacter pylori infection. Studies have shown that H. pylori is responsible for 99% of duodenal ulcers. Around 60% of gastric ulcers and up to 80% of stomach cancers are also associated with the bacteria. An H. pylori infection can be chronic and last for decades, affecting a person’s health and their nutritional balance, which is why a special diet for Helicobacter pylori is particularly important.
Getting good levels of nutrients is vital for anyone infected with Helicobacter pylori. Vitamin C can help the body get rid of the bacteria and fight infection. Good sources of vitamin C include fruit and vegetables, in particular oranges, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Studies have shown that 5g of vitamin C a day can rid around 30% of H. pylori sufferers of the bacteria. Fiber is also particularly important for the digestive system to work properly. Again, fruit and vegetables are the best sources. Other dietary recommendations include avoiding sugar in any form. This includes chocolate, candy, high fructose corn syrup and hidden sugars found in many processed foods.
Diet for Helicobacter Pylori
- Get plenty of vitamin C from fresh fruit and vegetables, including red and orange peppers, kiwi fruit, oranges, strawberries.
- Foods rich in iron are also important. Include lots of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, watercress and kale.
- Increase your intake of beta-carotene from colored vegetables such as carrots, dark green leafy vegetables, peppers and mango.
- Get enough soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet. Good sources include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Avoid eating sugar and sugar derivatives. These include, cakes, biscuits, pastries and many processed foods.
- Avoid eating picked, spicy and smoked foods.
Aldoori WH, Giovannucci EL, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB, Wing AL, Willett WC, Prospective Study of Diet and the Risk of Duodenal Ulcer inMen. Am J Epidemiology 1997 145: 1 42-50.
Tayomago A et al Epidemiological Study on Food Intake and Helicobacter pylori infection Kurumo Med J 2000 47: 1 25-30.
Jarosz M, et al Effects of high dose vitamin C treatment on Helicobacter pylori infection and total vitamin C concentration in Gastric Juice. Eur J Cancer Prev. 1998 7: 6 449-454.
Photo: Scott Liddell