This fact will probably surprise you: ulcers cause more deaths in Nigeria than suicide or liver cancer. Interestingly, this stat suggests Nigerian parents are right: Stomach ulcers—open sores within the stomach lining—are fairly common. But contrary to old tales about ulcers, lifestyle choices are rarely the cause of stomach ulcers.
Instead, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria is the main culprit. The excessive and long use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, is another leading cause. In both cases, they damage the protective layer in the stomach, causing the stomach acid to penetrate its sensitive lining.
Although food choices don’t trigger stomach ulcers, they can make your symptoms worse. This is why we compiled a list of healthy, ulcer-friendly Nigerian fruits you should include in your diet.
Top 3 healthy Nigerian fruits for ulcers
You can rarely go wrong with fruits. They’re packed with natural nutrients that nourish the body. Fruits also help you fight against ulcer pain. In this sense, non-acidic, fiber-rich fruits with high antibacterial properties are what your body needs.
Dietary fiber reduces the concentration of stomach acid. Likewise, the alkaline levels of the fruits provide relief from pain by reducing the acidic levels in the stomach.
It’s a rich source of fiber and water. The nutrients promote healthy guts, prevent constipation, and regulate bowel movements. Its rich water content also keeps you hydrated and helps the digestion process.
It’s also rich in vitamins A and C. In particular, vitamin C heals the inner lining of the stomach and may prevent bleeding.
Microbial infections like H. pylori cause stress ulcers in the stomach. But watermelon contains lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant that reduces ulcer-inducing inflammation and removes free radicals (unstable compounds in the body that cause illness).
Watermelons also have low acidity. Non-acidic fruits regulate the acid content in the stomach to prevent it from bleeding. They also make ulcer-related pain bearable.
P.S: Lycopene is one of the pigments that give watermelon its red color. The redder the watermelon, the higher the lycopene content.
Berries make up for their tiny size with rich nutrients. One such nutrient is polyphenols, which protect the stomach lining and kill H. pylori bacteria. They also protect the stomach from ulcer-induced inflammation.
Like watermelon, berries are packed with antioxidants that protect the stomach against cancer. Specifically, berries (such as cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries) are useful against stomach ulcers.
Pears and bananas also have similar anti-ulcer nutrients; therefore, you should include them in your diet.
Health tip: Red apples are better for ulcer patients because they contain less acid. Green apples, on the other hand, are more acidic, which may worsen your ulcer symptoms.
You can shop for all these fruits in bulk or in retail quantities on PricePally, the online grocery store that delivers farm-fresh food to your doorstep.
Frequently Asked Questions about ulcer-friendly fruits
Do spicy foods cause stomach ulcers?
Spicy foods, and foods in general, don’t cause stomach ulcers. But they can make your symptoms worse. As a result, watch how your body reacts to spicy foods and consult your doctor.
What foods should I avoid as an ulcer patient?
You should speak to your doctor for recommendations on the foods you should eat and avoid. But the foods listed below are usually not recommended for ulcer patients.
- Acidic fruits, such as pineapples.
- Citrus fruits, such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits.
- Carbonated beverages.
- High-sodium condiments.
- Fried or fatty foods.
- Chocolate (it’s rich in caffeine).
- Processed meats, e.g., hotdogs and sausages.
How do I know I have a stomach ulcer?
Speaking to a medical professional is the best way to diagnose ulcers, as symptoms vary with people. But general symptoms include:
- Indigestion-like pain around the belly button or breastbone area.
- Weight loss.
- Appetite loss.
Apart from fruits, what ulcer-friendly food should I eat?
You should include the following in your diet.
- Leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach.
- Spices, like garlic and turmeric
Is zobo drink safe for ulcer patients?
Yes, there are no negative repercussions from taking zobo.
Can ulcer patients eat instant noodles?
Instant noodles usually contain spicy seasonings, which may make your stomach lining sore. But you can still enjoy the delicacy if you limit the seasoning. Instead, fill it with leafy vegetables like broccoli and carrots. However, if your body reacts negatively, speak to your doctor or cut it out of your diet.