Helicobacter Pylori (or H. Pylori) is a type of bacteria that infects the stomach and can cause ulcers and other problems.
Often caused when it spreads through contact with someone who is infected, H. Pylori can also be passed on when someone comes into contact with bodily fluids of an infected person.
Unbeknownst to most, the bacteria can be easily spread through contact of an infected person while handling food and water too. Additionally, certain types of food have increased risk of spreading due to the manner in which they are kept or prepared.
In this article, we will be exploring the types of food that can cause H. Pylori infection and also explore what are alternatives that can help you manage this condition.
What Is Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori)?
H.Pylori is a relatively common bacterium that can infect the stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). While most people who are infected with the bacteria never experience any symptoms, some may develop gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) or peptic ulcers (sores in the lining of the stomach or duodenum).
In rare cases, H.Pylori infection can lead to more serious problems such as gastrointestinal bleeding or perforation of the stomach. If you are infected with H. Pylori, you will usually experience symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, burping, nausea, vomiting and weight loss. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so that they can prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Treatment for H. Pylori usually involves a combination of antibiotics and acid-suppressing medication. The good news is that H.Pylori can usually be treated with antibiotics.
To prevent H. Pylori infection, it is important to practice good hygiene. This includes washing your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and before eating.
What Foods Cause H. Pylori?
There are a number of foods that can increase your risk of H. Pylori infection due to the nature of which they are handled and also because of the manner in which they are prepared.
- Raw vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, spinach etc., which may contain traces of faecal matter if not washed thoroughly
- Unwashed fruit like berries, grapes, apples which may also contain traces of faecal matter
- Undercooked or raw meat and poultry
- Shellfish like oysters, clams, mussels which may contain harmful bacteria
- Contaminated water
Fruits and vegetables that are not washed thoroughly have an increased risk of carrying H. Pylori. Faecal matter or bodily fluids from infected individuals which may have come into contact during the preparation process may have resulted in transmission of the bacteria to unsuspecting individuals.
Avoiding raw or undercooked meat, shellfish and poultry can also help reduce your risk of H. Pylori infection. As the H. Pylori bacteria can survive up to 15 minutes in high heat (95 degrees and above), consider opting for food that is thoroughly cooked to reduce the chance of bacteria survival in cooked food.
If you are travelling to an area where H. Pylori is common, it is advisable to drink only bottled or boiled water to reduce your risk of infection.
Does Sugar Make H. Pylori Worse?
While there is no clear evidence that sugar makes H. Pylori infection worse, it is possible that eating a lot of sugary foods can increase your risk of getting infected because sugar can weaken your immune system.
Additionally, sugary foods can also contribute to weight gain, which is a known risk factor for H. Pylori infection. So if you are trying to avoid H. Pylori infection, it may be a good idea to limit your intake of sugary foods and sweets.
What Foods Help With H. Pylori?
Some foods have been known to help with managing and inhibiting H.Pylori infection, they are:
Probiotics: Probiotics play a crucial role in maintaining gut health. They introduce beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract, which can compete with H. Pylori, potentially reducing its numbers. The best probiotic for H. Pylori infection may vary from person to person. However, some probiotics that have been shown to be effective against the H. Pylori infection include Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Bifidum, and Saccharomyces Boulardii.
Broccoli Sprouts are rich in sulforaphane, a compound shown to have antibacterial properties against H. Pylori. Regular consumption can help in reducing the bacterial load in the stomach.
Cranberries: Cranberries, especially in juice form, have been shown to inhibit the adhesion of H. Pylori to the stomach lining, potentially preventing infections.
Honey: Known for its natural antibacterial properties, honey can be effective against H. Pylori. Consuming a spoonful daily can aid in suppressing the growth of the bacteria.
Green Tea: Rich in polyphenols, green tea can inhibit the growth of H. Pylori bacteria. Drinking a cup daily can offer protective effects against infections.
H. Pylori can be commonly caused by contaminated food and water. While we recommend avoiding foods that are known to aggravate H. Pylori, consider incorporating probiotics into your diet if they are recommended by your doctor to improve your gut bacteria.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with H. Pylori, consider contacting G&L Surgical Clinic for a consultation. We can help you get to the bottom of what is causing your discomfort and work with you to develop a treatment plan that will make you feel like yourself again in no time.