Once it was thought that you could only be infected by the helicobacter pylori bacteria if you had visited or lived in a developing country however, this is no longer the case. This nasty little bacteria is now endemic worldwide and most people are infected. But it is not all bad news. Whilst Helicobacter bacteria can live in your gut these microbes might never cause you any problems. However, in some, such an infection is known to be the cause certain types of stomach ulcers and stomach cancers. If you are one of the unlucky ones you need to identify the symptoms and start treating the infection without delay.
If you are suffering from acid reflux, burping, stomach cramps and the discomfort of a bloated stomach you need to seek the advice of your physician and be tested. If your test results are positive it is more than likely that you will be prescribed antibiotic treatment.
By now you are all probably aware that antibiotics are no longer the cure-all they once were. Bacteria are winning the fight, and anti-biotics are no longer able to fight bacterial infections effectively on their own.
It is also true that antibiotics attack bacteria in the body’s system so aggressively that anyone being treated with these therapies runs the risk of suffering even greater problems as a result.
For this reason sticking to a good and healthy diet at the same time as undergoing any type of antibiotic treatment, will help keep you healthy, lessen the side effects and in many cases, can be relied on to effect a cure with positive and long lasting results.
If you are wary of antibiotics or if you find that your system cannot tolerate antibiotic therapy then the good news is that if you are diagnosed with h.pylori early enough, you can opt for a completely natural cure and avoid antibiotics altogether.
Helicobacter Pylori and a healthy diet
Treatment of Helicobacter Pylori means a change in lifestyle from the perspective of diet and exercise. If you want to get beyond just the symptoms of your H.pylori infection and treat the cause, then adhering to a natural and healthy diet will do it for you.
Take a look at your diet right now and ask yourself the following questions.
- Am I eating too much salt?
The problem with salt is that it is hidden in a number of fast foods, and I am not just talking about the drive-thru and ‘pick up a meal’ type. Fast foods encompass many of the condiments you use on a daily basis: chutney, pickles, bottled sauces and sprinkle for meat and salads. Fast foods means anything that is either ready cooked and ready to eat, or ready for you to use straight from the jar.
Remember that all processed foods are ‘fast foods’ and all contain a lot of salt and as salt is often confused with flavour there is a lot of it in these food types. If you enjoy any of these it is important that you stop adding even more salt to your food. So cook with less and do not shake that salt cellar over your food. In other words reduce your salt intake right now.
- Am I eating too much sugar?
The nasty microbe that has attacked your stomach lining, just loves sugar, because it produces the acid environment in which h.pylori can thrive. So you need to cut down on sugar. Once again you must look for the sources of hidden sugar.
Bread, especially white bread contains a lot of sugar. So switch to a good quality whole grain or rye bread. It will take a little time for you to get used to it, but eventually you will wonder why you ever preferred to eat white bread in any of its many forms.
Cakes, biscuits, pastries and of course sweets are all to be avoided at all costs.
Alcohol is full of sugar, which is why so many people put on weight if they drink regularly.
Carbonated drinks all have extremely high sugar content and those which are considered ‘light’ or are marketed as containing no sugar, are still filled with gas inducing nitrogen gas, or carbon dioxide, so stay away from any sparkling drink and that includes sparkling mineral water.
The answers to these two simple questions provide you with a list of what foods to avoid. So here is a short list.
- Fast foods - Processed foods
- Fried food
- White bread
- Flavorings (salad and meat sprinkles)
- Alcohol (with the exception of a little red wine)
- Carbonated drinks
- Sweets, cakes, biscuits, pastries
Red Meat: If you are a great red-meat eater then now is the time to cut down. No, you don’t have to cut it out altogether, but cut down to a reasonable helping once a week, rather than large amounts every day. If you love your red meat with fat then you really have to re-educate your taste buds – red meat and particularly fatty meat means that you stomach will be hard at work trying to break down the protein and the fat will take longer to digest, so first of all there will be additional acidic activity and secondly your stomach will empty slowly which will add to the bloated feeling you are experiencing. Fatty meats also include sausages, salami, bacon and corned beef.
Fruit and Veg to avoid
There are fruit and veg that will help you fight the h.pylori bacteria but there are others which may add to your discomfort.
Citrus fruit – this type of fruit is very acidic and will inflame your stomach lining so better to avoid, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, limes etc.
Tomatoes and tomato sauce – Tomatoes are highly acidic and tomato sauce is not only acidic, but will have a high sugar content which your system will convert into more acid, so rather avoid both.
Potatoes are great if you eat them boiled or mashed but not if you eat them roasted/broiled in oil, or fried. This tends to make them difficult to digest and so, again, stay away from fried food and particularly French fries.
Dried peas or beans – these will add to your discomfort by producing more gas, so best to avoid dishes made with legumes.
What should you include in your diet?
You should take more care over the meat that you eat. You need protein so you do not have to become a vegetarian by any means, but as I said earlier, cut down on red meat. Poultry is high in protein, but you should remove the skin before cooking as it is usually full of fat and fat should be avoided particularly the fat from meat sources. Pork is also full of protein and minerals, but again, make sure that you eat lean pork cuts. Fish is a great source of protein but not fried fish. Fish should be either steamed, broiled, grilled or boiled.
Fruit and Vegetables
Make sure that you eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. There are many that have been proven to be very effective in fighting the first symptoms of helicobacter pylori induced ulcers and in fact, there are some which have the ability to fight off the infection altogether.
Fruit and veg as you know are full of fibre so the very first thing to do is to ensure that you have enough fibre in your diet. You can add to the amount of fibre by starting your day with a good fibre rich cereal, clearly not the flavoured or sugar-coated variety, but a straightforward healthy cereal such as oat porridge.
Broccoli contains a substance called sulforaphane. This substance acts on the h.pylori bacteria by inhibiting its ability to reproduce and effectively eradicating it. However, the more you cook broccoli the more likely you are to kill the good elements in the vegetable, so it is best to cook for only a short time, or include the vegetable raw in salads. A sprinkling of broccoli sprouts will add to the amount of sulforaphane in your diet and greatly assist in killing off the bacteria. There are many ways of serving broccoli as a tasty vegetable or vegetable soup.
- Blanch and sprinkle with sesame seeds and a little Apple Cider vinegar.
- Blanch and cover with grated cheese and bake just long enough to melt the cheese.
- Boil together with cauliflower and purée together for a delicious soup with spices to taste.
Naturally fermented vegetables – Sauerkraut, red cabbage. Both of these vegetables will help in your fight against h.pylori bacteria. These naturally fermented vegetables contain Lactobacillus essential to the health of the digestive tract and a great probiotic. Eating naturally fermented vegetables will help lessen the inflammation in your gut and help your stomach lining to heal.
Apart from changing to a healthy diet there are additional foods and spices you can introduce into your diet to ensure that you fight off a helicobacter pylori infection.
Foods to introduce into your diet
Mastic Gum: This is a substance taken from the specific types of acacia tree found in India and Sri Lanka and is used in the manufacture of chewing gum. As an addition to your diet however, you can purchase it in either powder form or in chewable wafers. If you choose the powder then this is easily sprinkled over food or mixed into a paste which you can take on a daily basis.
Mastic Gum powder dosage: 1gm per day for 2 weeks.
Mastic Gum wafers: These are intended to counteract the problem of acid reflux and are not a cure in themselves. Mastic gum wafers include a DGL (liquorice extract), and are pleasant tasting. You should not exceed the stated dosage (1 – 2 per day).
Manuka Honey: If you are diabetic you need to avoid honey of any kind so this is not for you. If you suffer from high blood pressure you need to be very careful of high blood sugar which can result from too much honey in your diet. However, for those of us who are not either diabetic or do not suffer with high blood pressure this will make for a delightful addition to our diet.
Add Manuka honey to your morning cereal, or your breakfast natural yogurt. Manuka honey can replace sugar in beverages and drinks as well adding a little more sweetness to fruits and desserts.
Aloe Vera: You can choose to take Aloe Vera in tablet form daily or drink Aloe Vera juice. Aloe Vera acts as an anti-inflammatory and will help to heal your stomach lining. But a word of caution. Do not overdo it as it also has a laxative effect, so stick to the recommended dosage – You may consider a daily dosage or opt to take a little a few times a week. Be aware it is not a cure in itself, it is an aid to curing you of an h.pylori bacterial infection.
Herbs and Spices: You can add flavour to dishes by adding Thyme, turmeric, oregano, curry leaves, cinnamon, garlic, cayenne pepper and ginger. Whilst much of the advice on what to eat and what not to eat if you suffer from gastric ulcer, warns you off eating spicy foods, many suffering with the symptoms of an h.pylori infection say that they feel great relief after eating a good curry. That is because a good curry contains many of the spices that fight h.pylori, however a good curry usually also contains chillies and those are not good for your stomach or stomach lining. Therefore rather than indulging in a good curry try adding the same herbs and spices to other dishes not just for their delicious flavours, but also to help you get rid of the infection.
Juices and fruits: Instead of heading off to boil the kettle for countless cups of coffee or black tea change the habit and substitute a good h.pylori fighter such as cranberry juice or you can liquidize a variety of H.pylori fighting fruits for a healthy juice to drink each day.
Fruits for your juicing
Berries, grapes, bananas, apples, peaches, pears, kiwi fruit, melons.
Of course you can also eat all of these whole, add them to your morning cereal, or with a little Manuka honey and full cream natural yogurt they make a delicious dessert. These fruits are not only delicious they are known killers of the helicobacter pylori bacteria.
Red wine contains resveratrol which is an antibacterial so why not enjoy a glass of red wine occasionally with your evening meal. You should not feel guilty as it has medicinal properties both in fighting the H.pylori bacteria but has the added benefit of being good for your heart and circulation. But of course do contain yourself and stick to one normal sized glass and one glass only.
Matula Tea: Matula tea is a very pleasant herbal tea made from a combination of the flowers, stems and leaves of curative plants. You may need to get used to its very different taste but it is a great replacement for that morning cuppa and will help you get rid of your h.pylori symptoms.
Green tea: Another pleasant replacement for black tea or coffee. Green tea is a known fighter of H.pylori infections so apart from affording you a relaxing and pleasing drink to replace coffee or black tea, you will be fighting off the h.pylori bacteria and healing yourself.
Suggested Diet Plan For H Pylori
Now that we have looked at all the natural, healthy ways in which your diet can help you conquer the microbe that is causing so much havoc in your system a few meal suggestions will help you to take the first step toward a healthy lifestyle and own your personal cure for that helicobacter pylori infection.
- A small bowl of oatmeal with nuts and blueberries with a drizzle of Manuka honey and a dash of cinnamon. Pour on your milk either hot or cold or mix with natural yogurt.
- Drink a cup of Green tea or Matula tea.
- Glass of cranberry juice to start
- 2 egg omelette with grated carrot (or fermented carrots), red peppers and broccoli sprouts. Garlic to taste.
- Serve with a slice of whole wheat or rye bread.
Tuna wrap: 1 whole-wheat wrap
Mix 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt with a teaspoon of virgin olive oil and a drizzle of Apple cider vinegar and juice from one crushed garlic clove. Add a small tin of tuna, 1 chopped celery stalk, sliced red peppers, a few baby spinach leaves and garnish with broccoli sprouts.
Chicken breasts stuffed with broccoli and cream cheese or feta cheese seasoned with chopped garlic and turmeric. Extra virgin olive oil to brown your chicken breasts.
Stuff the chicken breasts and brown on both sides. Cook slowly in a small amount of chicken broth until soft. Serve with salad drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Honeyed banana: Place a peeled banana in foil, drizzle with Manuka honey close and seal. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with natural yoghurt and additional honey and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Weekday evening meal
Seared Salmon fillet and Avocado Salad. Garnished with broccoli sprouts and sprinkled with chopped walnuts. Drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Thin slice of rye or whole wheat bread.
A glass red wine to accompany your meal.
Weekend evening meal
Veggie and Chicken Lasagne. For your filling add thinly sliced zucchini, grated carrots, and corn to thin slices of chicken breast. Use cottage cheese in the filling and top with mozzarella cheese. For added flavour a little chopped garlic, fresh basil and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Serve with a healthy salad and enjoy with a glass of red wine.
Dessert: crepes filled with heated berries topped with a spoon of natural yoghurt sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with Manuka honey.
These are just a few suggestions to whet your appetite and tickle your taste buds, but most importantly to show you that your new healthy eating plan will be delicious, and tempting and not at all the bland and tasteless meals you imagined.
Probiotics: remember to help you back to full health you can supplement your diet with Probiotics, taken daily these will boost your immune system and help you fight off the effects of you’re an H.pylori infection.
I have not included every individual food that will be of benefit to you in your fight against helicobacter pylori, as these are all listed on a separate page. However, I hope I have given you some useful tips and guidelines, and that you will now feel easier about embarking on your new lifestyle.
Wishing you bon appetite and good health!