Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori for short, is a bacteria that attacks your stomach lining and leads to 90% of duodenal ulcers and 80% of gastric ulcers. Is there some sort of H. pylori natural treatment you can use? In this article, we’ll explore a Helicobacter pylori diet, including H. pylori foods to eat and H. pylori foods to avoid.
The consequences of H. pylori infection can be severe. The spiral-shaped bacterium has also been known to increase the risk of stomach cancer. Symptoms of infection include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, black stool, and abdominal pain. All of which, most people want to avoid. By the time you are done reading this article, you will hopefully have basic knowledge of a diet that can help set you on the road to a H. pylori natural cure.
Helicobacter Pylori Diet: Foods to Eat
As with many stomach issues, if you are dealing with H. pylori, there are foods that you should eat and foods you should not eat. It should be noted that the foods that we mention here are directly linked to H. pylori. If you have ulcers caused by H. pylori, you may want to check with a doctor to be sure the following foods are right for your particular condition. You could also take a look at our other recommendations for stomach ulcers. With that in mind, here are some foods that are not only good for an H. pylori diet, but also healthy for you in general.
Cranberries have a number of benefits that could make them ideal for a Helicobacter. pylori diet. A 2007 study done by researchers in Israel (published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research journal) discovered that cranberry juice may be able to help antibiotics fight H. pylori bacteria in your stomach, and there is also evidence that cranberries may inhibit the growth of H. pylori bacteria.
2. Broccoli and Cabbage (and Other Brassica Vegetables)
This family of vegetables includes broccoli, cabbage, turnips, cauliflower, kale, and radishes, and is a very good source of an isothiocyanate called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane could help kill H. pylori bacteria. While most brassica vegetables contain sulforaphane (and are worth adding to the diet), broccoli, cabbage, and broccoli sprouts hold the highest amounts.
3. Manuka Honey
Honey is an ingredient often listed as part of many home remedies and food products that are great for your health. But, in the case of an H. pylori diet, we want to focus on Manuka honey. Manuka honey comes from Australia and New Zealand, where bees pollinate the Manuka bush and then make honey using that pollen. Manuka honey has antibacterial and antiseptic properties due to the fact that it contains a form of natural hydrogen peroxide that can help clear the H. pylori bacteria from your stomach.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil has long been used as a healthy food product, but in this case, it may have great implications for those dealing with H. pylori bacteria. The oil contains polyphenols, which are antibacterial agents that are not only good for fighting traditional H. pylori, but may also be good at fighting antibiotic-resistant H. pylori strains.
5. Green Tea
Used for centuries as a home remedy for stomach issues, green tea is thought to reduce stomach inflammation, and due to a number of polyphenols available in green tea, it may also be able to fight off the H. pylori bacteria.
6. Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano contains a plant chemical called carvacrol. Carvacrol is great because not only will it fight bacteria in your stomach like H. pylori, but it will also allow the good bacteria in your stomach to survive, which promotes the good health of your stomach.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family of plants, and using the ground up version of it as a spice in foods could potentially help you with H. pylori bacteria. Essentially, the turmeric works by blocking the shikimate pathway, which is required for metabolic production in bacteria. The bacteria can’t reproduce and eventually go away.
Ginger holds some of the same properties as turmeric does (although not to the same extent) when it comes to inhibiting the production of H. pylori. It also has the added benefit of its ability to help generate gastric mucus for the stomach, protecting the stomach from the harmful bacteria.
9. Licorice Root
Licorice root may help, but not in a manner you might find typical. The root can’t affect the bacteria directly, but what it can do is prevent the bacteria from sticking to the cells of the stomach lining, making them ineffective.
Probiotics can also be used to help take care of H. pylori bacteria, but you should do so cautiously, as the probiotics may also harm the good bacteria in your stomach that help with digestion.
Adding any these foods to your diet may help treat or relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of H. pylori infection. If you need a quick guide, use the chart below.
|Helicobacter Pylori Diet|
|Food to Eat||How It Works|
|Cranberries||Can help medications fight H. pylori and possibly prevent the bacteria from growing|
|Broccoli and Cabbage (And Other Brassica Vegetables)||Helps kill H. pylori bacteria|
|Manuka Honey||Antiseptic qualities can fight and get rid of H. pylori bacteria|
|Olive Oil||Helps fight off H. pylori bacteria, including those that are resistant to antibiotics|
|Green Tea||Reduces symptoms of H. pylori bacteria|
|Oil of Oregano||Fights H. pylori bacteria|
|Turmeric||Prevents H. pylori bacteria from regenerating/reproducing|
|Ginger||Inhibits H. pylori production|
|Licorice Root||Stops the bacteria from sticking to the stomach lining|
Helicobacter Pylori Diet: Foods to Avoid
With the good also comes the bad, and while there are numerous good foods to eat when dealing with H. pylori, there are also lots of foods that you should avoid.
Carbs are in bread, pasta, soft drinks, and various other foods. They may be the hardest foods to avoid, and in many ways, you won’t ever be able to avoid them completely as they also come in foods that are good for you like fruits. That being said, bacteria need to eat to be able to reproduce and H. pylori bacteria love to feed on carbs. Reducing your carbohydrate intake could help reduce the amount of bacteria produced.
2. Spicy Foods
Spicy foods can irritate your stomach at even the best of times. What you don’t want is for your stomach to become inflamed, exacerbating the symptoms that you are already dealing with—especially if you have ulcers brought on by the bacteria.
Caffeine can irritate the lining of the stomach—the same lining that the H. pylori bacteria are attacking. Avoid the usual suspects like coffee, soft drinks, and most teas.
4. Processed Pickled Foods
There is a bit of a difference here, so bear with us. Naturally pickled foods are not bad for you, and in fact, they may contain some probiotics that could help your battle with H. pylori. However, processed pickled foods tend to have a lot of salt and vinegar, which is a combination that can easily irritate your stomach and make some of your symptoms worse.
5. Acidic Foods and Drinks
Acidic foods and drinks can churn up stomach acid and aggravate the bacteria and any damage it has created. Citrus fruits, coffee, tomatoes, and items of that ilk should be avoided.
6. Soft Drinks
Soft drinks, for the most part, are filled with sugar, carbohydrates, acid, and caffeine. They are a liquid “no go” as far as H. pylori bacteria is concerned.
Alcohol of any sort tends to increase acid production in your stomach, which can aggravate H. pylori and any of its stomach-based symptoms like ulcers.
8. High Fat and Fried Foods
High fat and fried foods tend to irritate the stomach lining, which is where the bacteria lives and attacks. It also can cause excessive gas in your intestinal system, which can exaggerate symptoms and cause added discomfort. Avoid products like fast food, fried food, junk food, milk above 1%, and other food of that nature.
9. Dairy Products
For some of us, dairy products can be pretty hard to digest. This may be an occasional problem for some, but for those who are lactose intolerant, dairy can cause many issues. Dairy products on a whole can help increase the amount of acid being produced in your stomach. None of this is good to deal with when dealing with H. pylori bacteria and the problems that it brings with it.
One of the things to avoid that isn’t really diet-based is smoking. Smoking can irritate your stomach and cause issues with the stomach acid, H. pylori bacteria, and its symptoms.
In case you need a quick reference guide for what you should avoid for a helicobacter pylori diet, use the chart that we’ve included below.
|Helicobacter Pylori Diet|
|Foods to Avoid||Why They Should Be Avoided|
|Carbohydrates||Carbs feed the H. pylori, which allows it to reproduce|
|Spicy Foods||Can irritate the stomach and exacerbate symptoms|
|Caffeine||Irritates stomach lining|
|Processed Pickled Foods||Irritates stomach lining and can make symptoms worse|
|Acidic Foods and Drinks||Creates and aggravates excess stomach acid.|
|Soft Drinks||Feeds H. pylori bacteria and aggravates symptoms|
|Alcohol||Increases stomach acid production|
|High Fat and Fried Foods||Aggravates stomach lining|
|Dairy Products||Creates excess stomach acid and can irritate the stomach.|
Helicobacter Pylori Diet: Dietary Changes Can Help
Helicobacter pylori can cause a lot of issues with your stomach. Left untreated, the bacteria can create ulcers and may even lead to cancer. However, you can help yourself with simple changes in your diet. In some cases, it may help clear the H. pylori from your system completely. In other cases where it’s a more severe issue, you may have to get medication. But the diet can still aid the medication in getting the job done and your helicobacter pylori eradicated.
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Faick, S., “Natural Treatment for H. pylori: What Works?” Healthline, August 10, 2016; http://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/h-pylori-natural-treatment#overview1, last access July 21, 2017.
McLaughlin, A., “List of Foods to Eat When You Have H. Pylori,” Livestrong, December 18, 2013; http://www.livestrong.com/article/347146-what-to-eat-not-to-eat-when-you-have-an-ulcer/, last accessed July 21, 2017.
Wittschiera, N., et al., “Aqueous extracts and polysaccharides from Liquorice roots (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) inhibit adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric mucosa,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, September 2009; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874109004371, last accessed July 21, 2017.