Inside This Article
- 1 What is an Ulcer?
- 2 Here are ways to keep people living with ulcer healthy and out of troubles or attacks.
- 2.1 1. They Should Not Starve
- 2.2 2. Watermelons…Lots of Watermelon
- 2.3 3. Bananas
- 2.4 4. Limit Spicy and Oily Food
- 2.5 5. Cut Off Carbonated & Caffeinated Drinks
- 2.6 6. Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
- 2.7 7. Stay Off NSAIDs
- 2.8 8. Take More Vitamin A Foods
- 2.9 9. Lots of Water and Honey
- 2.10 10. Cabbage
- 2.11 11. Acidic Food
- 2.12 12. Milk
Almost every household —either nuclear or within the extended— have people who are patients of ulcer. As someone who grew up around these patients, a lot of adjusting and getting-used-to in our kitchen menu was something that was inculcated into me at quite a young age. For instance, we could not be using chili pepper (attarugu) for soups or stew and even with other options, we had to ensure the meal prepared doesn’t come out pepperish in any way.
When it’s Ramadan time of the year, pap is the constant while ‘kunun tsamiya‘ was a limited variety. This is all because the body system of people with Ulcer does not react to situations the same way as ordinary people. They can’t wake up and decide they want to eat anything and everything out there. Even if they want to, their stomach would not grant them that liberty. Some food options are always a gamble for them.
Usually, this set of people come out surprisingly stubborn to their predicament because living with ulcer means giving up on a lot of things that make eating food interesting (pepper for instance). So you’ll find them bending and breaking all the necessary actions that are supposed to keep them off triggering their wounds.
What is an Ulcer?
Ulcer medically means a wound that does not heal and becomes ulcerated. It is a sore that forms in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine and it is researched to be majorly caused by helicobacter pylori (H. pylori); a bacteria that attacks these linings.
This bacteria however is not the only thing that can cause an ulcer. Chronic use of NSAIDs is an agent to ulcer. Forgetfulness and negligence can also lead to ulcer. How? People tend to get so busy that they forget to respect their food on time. This forgetfulness gives birth to a habit of neglect for food, balanced diet in general. The stomach has hydrochloric acid to enable digestion and it follows a chain pattern to get realized at some certain time. Now when there is no food in the stomach, it ends up burning the stomach lining, creating a path for ulcer.
Ulcercan be classified under two categories:
- Esophageal ulcers are ulcers that develop in the esophagus. Peptic Ulcer develops in the stomach lining or small intestine.
- Duodenal Ulcer is a type under peptic ulcer and it is formed in the upper small intestine.
The ulcer can heal but the rate at which its victims do not enjoy following doctor’s orders —and the above tips on living with ulcer— makes it a healing process close to the impossible mission.
The most common symptom of an ulcer is a burning or gnawing pain in the stomach (between breastbone and bellybutton) then nausea and a lack of appetite.
Here are ways to keep people living with ulcer healthy and out of troubles or attacks.
1. They Should Not Starve
This should be the first commandment. One of the many reasons people end up with Ulcer is that they get so busy they forget about food. Naturally, if you take long hours without food, at some point you’ll hear your stomach growling with the pangs joining later. You should always make sure they stay away from angering their predicament by making them eat three times daily; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And it should also follow a healthy timing because some people will eat breakfast at 9 then lunch at 5.
For ulcer patients, their eating timetable should be; breakfast within 7-9 am, lunch should be around 2 pm and dinner should follow at 7-8 pm. Snacking can happen in between the mealtimes but it’s of importance you try to adhere to these timings especially when living with ulcer patients. You are sure to witness improvement.
2. Watermelons…Lots of Watermelon
Fruits are naturally good monitors of our health but when it comes to ulcer patients, nothing can beat a sweet ripened watermelon. So, if they end up staying too long in a meeting, the market, etc. and they miss the appointed time lunch, watermelon is a great thing to have before the main deal. It makes peace with the stomach first, then the main food can stomp in without causing any harm.
Also, if it’s time for fasting, the second thing they should eat immediately after breaking their fast is watermelon, water being the first. It’ll healthier for them to make watermelon a daily habit. My momma never makes the mistakes of breaking her fast without watermelon for she knows the kind of consequences that follows are something she does not enjoy.
Sitoindosides in dried, unripe banana increases mucus in the digestive tract which provides a strong coating to help prevent and heal the ulcer. There was a time in my life I made the habit of getting my mom watermelons and banana each time I was out. You should do the same with your beloved patients.
4. Limit Spicy and Oily Food
Have you experienced what it is like to add salt to open wounds? Pepper has the same effect on ulcer which is why you’ll hear people living with ulcers complain of explicit pains each time they eat their food peppery. Always take out the seeds of every agent of pepper before making their food. This will in turn reduce the rate at which pepper becomes pronounced in the final meal. Fried food or food with too many ulcers should not be their average reality. Living with ulcers means no pepper and less vegetable oil.
5. Cut Off Carbonated & Caffeinated Drinks
Sodas and Carbonated drinks irritate the stomach, this is because of the phosphoric acids in them. Drinks like coca-cola, sprite, caffeinated coffee should be kept out of their sight. I’ve heard countless doctors tell their patients during consultations to stay away from soft drinks for it does more harm than good.
6. Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
Whether it’s weed or shisha or even cardboard, an ulcer patient should stay away from smoking completely. Smoking is naturally a harmful thing to our human bodies then imagine smoking when you’re already not 100% percent healthy.
Meanwhile, alcohol increases acid production and exacerbate symptoms in individuals. Alcohol erodes the protective mucosal lining along the gastrointestinal tract which leads to further inflammation. So alcohol and smoking are no for people living with ulcers.
7. Stay Off NSAIDs
Ibuprofen, diclofenac amongst others can cause damage to gastroduodenal mucus, reduction to gastric mucosal blood flows, and causes interference with the repair of superficial injury and impairment of the barrier properties of the mucus. NSAIDs translate to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and you shouldn’t give it to an ulcer patient for temporal relief because it does more harm than good. Doctors’ advice is to be seen before any drug prescription.
8. Take More Vitamin A Foods
Foods with vitamin A increases the production of mucus in the gastrointestinal tract. So, vitamin A carriers like broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes are a must as a diet rich in vitamin A reduces the development of ulcers.
Related: Carrots in Northern Nigeria
9. Lots of Water and Honey
Warm water has a soothing effect on the wound this why its consumption is encouraged, likewise honey.
My sister used to have these funny cravings for honey. She uses it to butter her bread instead of normal butter/cheese, she fetches a spoonful and just throws into her mouth, and sometimes, she dilutes honey into lukewarm water before drinking. For someone who doesn’t fancy honey, I find her actions weird. But apparently, she knows what works well for her body and predicament.
Scientists think that it may be the amino acid gluten that gives cabbage it anti-ulcer punch because it does not just prevent healing, it speeds healing. So, get those cabbage and start making them salads and juices.
11. Acidic Food
Fruits like lemons and pineapple do more harm than they are beneficial to the ulcer. Food that has a sour taste should be regulated. For instance ‘kunun tsamiya‘, you either break down the amount of tamarind to be used while making it or you don‘t allow them to drink it.
This only provides a temporal relief of symptoms because it coats the stomach lining temporarily also, it slight alkaline gives it antacid property. In the long run, however, milk and milk products increase acid secretion, digestive enzymes which aggravate ulcers, making symptoms worse. It is a rich source of protein after all so it’s best if its intake is kept on the low level (say once daily). Yogurt however is believed to be good for ulcer patients.
Food like garri and yam causes heartburns and take a longer time to digest due to their dryness. So it’s either you serve people living with ulcer overcooked yam while refilling their glass of water every minute or, you don’t serve that to them at all.