What Food to Eat and Avoid in Acid Peptic Disease?
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Role of Food in Acid Peptic Disease

Published on Oct 04, 2019 and last reviewed on Aug 29, 2022   -  4 min read


Diet plays a vital role in the management of acid peptic diseases. Read this article to know what food to avoid and eat for acid peptic disease.

Role of Food in Acid Peptic Disease

What Is Acid Peptic Disease?

The acid peptic disease is a collective term that includes various conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis, esophageal ulcer, gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, Zollinger Ellison Syndrome (ZES), and Meckel's diverticular ulcer.

Most people with acid peptic diseases do not experience any symptoms; but the common symptoms are pain, nausea, diarrhea, or bloating. The acid peptic disease results from either a lowered gastric mucosal defense or excessive acid production.

What Causes Acid Peptic Disease?

The acid peptic disease can have many causes, such as:

  • Helicobacter Pylori: H.pylori is one of the most common causes of acid peptic diseases and is responsible for about 60 % to 90 % of all gastric and duodenal ulcers.

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Prostaglandins shield the stomach's mucus lining. NSAIDs such as Aspirin, Diclofenac, and Naproxen block the cyclo-oxygenase enzyme leading to ulceration and bleeding, preventing the production of these prostaglandins.

  • Smoking, Alcohol, and Tobacco: They cause instant and intense acid production.

  • Heredity: People with peptic ulcer diseases generally have a family history of the disease, especially the development of duodenal ulcers, which may occur below the age of 20.

  • Medications: Drugs such as corticosteroids, anticoagulants like Warfarin and Niacin, some chemotherapy medicines, and spironolactone can cause or exacerbate stomach ulcers.

  • Diet: Low fiber diet, caffeinated drinks, and fatty foods are associated with peptic ulcers.

  • Other Diseases: Chronic lung, liver, and kidney disorders, especially tumors of the acid-producing cells, all predispose to peptic ulcers. Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (ZES) is a rare pre-cancerous disease that causes peptic ulcers. Endocrine disorders like hyperparathyroidism are also involved in developing acid peptic ulcer diseases.

  • Stress: It can also be linked to Cushing syndrome and peptic ulcers.

What Are the Symptoms of Acid Peptic Disease?

The common symptoms of the acid peptic disease include:

  • Pain or burning sensation in the upper abdomen or chest.

  • Regurgitation of food into the mouth.

  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth.

  • Feeling of fullness after meals.

  • Flatulence (gas).

  • Nausea and vomiting.

What Are the Best Foods to Eat In Acid Peptic Disease?

Although food does not directly cause or treat ulcers, some can worsen the pain, while others may help them heal faster. Dietary therapy involves avoiding spicy and oily foods that increase acid production and are hard to digest. In addition to taking any prescription medications, a person can include the following food types in their diet:

  • Foods With Probiotics: Foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and tempeh contain "good" bacteria called probiotics. They help ulcers by fighting an H. pylori infection or assisting treatments to work better. They also restore the natural balance of bacteria.

  • Fiber-Rich Foods: Pears, apples, oatmeal, and other fiber-rich foods help lower the amount of acid in the stomach while relieving bloating and pain. Research suggests that a diet rich in fiber can help prevent ulcers.

  • Sweet Potato: It has a good dose of vitamin A, can help shrink stomach ulcers, and can prevent them. Other foods high in vitamin A are spinach, carrots, and cantaloupe.

  • Red Bell Pepper: It is high in vitamin C, which can help protect from ulcers in several ways. Firstly, vitamin C plays a vital role in wound healing. People who do not get enough vitamin C are also more prone to ulcers. Vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, and broccoli.

  • Honey: It is a natural antimicrobial, and research suggests that consuming honey helps decrease the presence of H. pylori infection.

  • Olive oil: A few studies have concluded that olive oil can be moderately effective in treating H. pylori infection.

What Are the Foods to Avoid With an Acid Peptic Disease?

Certain foods and beverages can increase acid production and increase stomach ulcer risk. Therefore, it is best to avoid the following food items:

  • Alcohol: Drinking alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, and liquor can inflame and irritate the stomach lining. Heavy alcoholism is associated with having symptoms of stomach ulcers.

  • Fried Foods: Potato chips, fries, onion rings, fried chicken, and other fried foods can exacerbate stomach ulcers and upset the digestive tract's natural layer of protection.

  • Acidic Foods: Naturally acidic may have many health benefits, but they should be avoided as they create an acidic environment in the body which can cause stomach ulcers.

  • Other foods to limit:

  • Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee.

  • Chocolates.

  • Sugary and fatty meals.

  • Raw onions, tomatoes, and ketchup.

  • Butter or cheese.

Apart from avoiding these foods, some other lifestyle modifications can help alleviate the symptoms:

The following lifestyle modifications can benefit people with acid peptic diseases:

  • Regular exercise or walk at least 30 minutes daily for five days a week.

  • Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Avoid smoking.

  • Avoid late-night snacks.

  • Keep an interval of at least 3 to 4 hours between your dinner and going to bed.

  • Keep the head end of the bed elevated at around 30 degrees by placing a wedge under the pillow or blocks under the head end. It prevents acid and food regurgitation into the esophagus while sleeping.

  • Wear loose-fitted clothes and avoid tight-fitting clothes and belts, as it increases pressure over the stomach, causing regurgitation of food.

  • Avoid excessive painkiller medications that can decrease the protective mechanism of the stomach against acid.

Although long-term medications are necessary for treating acid peptic disease, by adopting a healthy lifestyle and avoiding certain foods, the disease symptoms can be reduced to a much lower level.


The acid peptic disease is a collective term that includes conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis, esophageal ulcer, gastric ulcer, and duodenal ulcer. Research suggests that certain dietary interventions can help prevent and treat acid peptic diseases. Certain dietary modifications can help relieve symptoms, keep the body healthy, and help reduce the risk of developing these diseases. A balanced and nutritious diet is vital for those with acid peptic diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Can I Eat With Acid Peptic Disease?

A good diet is crucial in the case of the peptic disease to relieve symptoms and prevent its progression. It is vital to avoid foods that are fried and spicy, as they may aggravate the symptoms. Foods like yogurt, honey, fiber-rich vegetables, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes may help in relieving the pain and other symptoms of the acid peptic disease.


Can I Eat Food to Relieve Pain in Peptic Ulcers?

In peptic ulcers, the acid secreted in the stomach may lead to pain and cause other symptoms like heartburn, nausea, etc. In addition, if there is no food intake, the stomach acid secreted may irritate the stomach lining and worsen the situation. Therefore, eating food that helps to buffer stomach acid is essential to prevent the worsening of symptoms.


Which Are the Best Foods for Peptic Ulcers?

It is essential to follow a good diet for peptic ulcers, and it includes:
- Foods rich in vitamins A and C, such as sweet potato, bell peppers, etc.
- Honey; top the fruit bowl with a teaspoon of honey.
- Fiber-rich vegetables and other foods.
- Yogurt and other probiotics.


What Are the Ways to Reduce Peptic Acid?

Proper diet and lifestyle changes may help with reducing peptic acid. It also includes the following:
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco use.
- Maintain proper weight.
- Certain medications, such as Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, etc., may help reduce peptic acid.
- Eat food three hours before going to bed


Do Ulcers Worsen With Foods?

Foods that are listed below may worsen the ulcers:
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Spicy food.
- Caffeine.
- Chocolate.
- Acidic fruits and vegetables like lemon, tomatoes, etc.


Do Home Remedies Work for Ulcers?

In the case of mild peptic ulcers, a change in diet and lifestyle may help in improvement. It is vital to include the following foods in the diet to heal mild ulcers:
- Ginger.
- Probiotics.
- Honey.
- Avoid dairy products.
- Flavonoid-containing fruits and vegetables.
- Follow regular exercise.
- Stay away from alcohol and tobacco products.


Can I Drink Milk for Ulcers?

With ulcers, certain foods must be avoided to prevent the worsening of symptoms. In addition, milk and other dairy products like cheese, butter, etc., may increase or stimulate stomach acid, rupturing the stomach’s lining and gradually worsening the condition. But, for a few individuals drinking milk may soothe the acidic pain, while the symptoms increase over time.


How to Heal Ulcers Fast?

There are several medications available to treat ulcers fast, such as:
- Proton pump inhibitors - Omeprazole, Rabeprazole, etc.
- Antacids - Magnesium carbonate, aluminum hydroxide, etc.
- H2-receptor antagonist (Cimetidine, Ranitidine, etc.).
- However, a good diet with a proper lifestyle is also essential to healing ulcers and medications.


How to Diagnose Acid Peptic Disease?

The doctor may ask for the symptoms and order the following test to diagnose acid peptic disease.
- Blood examination to evaluate any infections, especially the Helicobacter pylori infection.
- Barium swallow also aids in visualizing the ulcer through radiographic imaging.
- Endoscopy is a standard technique that allows evaluation of the upper part of the digestive system.


How to Cure Acidic Peptic Disease?

Doctors may suggest a few medications to relieve pain and reduce acid secretion in the stomach. In case of infection, antibiotics such as Clarithromycin, Metronidazole, etc.,  may be recommended to work against Helicobacter pylori. Other medications to reduce and buffer or neutralize stomach acid, including Omeprazole, Cimetidine, Rabeprazole, antacids, etc., are suggested. The doctor may also suggest healthier lifestyle options to prevent the recurrence of the acidic peptic disease.


Do Proteins Work Well for Ulcers?

Certain foods can be included in the diet if someone has peptic ulcers. Especially including proteins in the diet may aid in buffering the acid, as it binds well with the stomach acid. Therefore, a daily protein intake, that is, 1.2 g per kg body weight, is essential. In addition, foods rich in fiber, vitamins A and C, and a low-fat diet may help heal ulcers.


Does Ulcer Occur Due to Skipping Meals?

Factors like infections, medications, etc., are said to cause peptic ulcers. At the same time, specific elements such as alcohol, stress, smoking, and skipping meals may worsen the condition. In addition, not maintaining proper intervals between each meal and having spicy and unhealthy foods may aggravate the ulcer and delay its healing. Therefore, eating healthy foods on time and without skipping them is better.


What Medications Are Suggested for Acidity and Gas?

The most commonly suggested medications for acidity and gas issues are:
- Proton pump inhibitors - Rabeprazole, Omeprazole, etc.
- H2 blockers - Famotidine, Cimetidine, etc.
- Antacids.
- Prostaglandins such as Misoprostol.
- Sucralfate.


How Do Acid Peptic Disease and Peptic Ulcers Differ?

The acid peptic disease most commonly occurs due to excess production of stomach acid or the inability of the stomach’s mucosal lining to defend against acid secretion. In addition, it may lead to nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, etc. Peptic ulcers are characterized by the damage of the stomach’s lining due to any infection, medications, etc., and they cause burning pain, bloating, nausea, etc.

Last reviewed at:
29 Aug 2022  -  4 min read




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