The best H Pylori diet includes foods that support digestion and reduce inflammation. This post discusses how this bacteria affects several aspects of the digestion process and the best foods to eat that help with healing and recovery.
This post will be answering these questions:
- What are H Pylori symptoms
- How does H Pylori affect digestion
- What foods to eat for H Pylori
- What foods to avoid for H Pylori
- What NOT to do when following an H Pylori diet
I’m also sharing two common mistakes people make when searching for H Pylori diet advice so you can avoid them too.
Continue reading or watch this video to get the answer for these questions.
H Pylori Symptoms
H Pylori is a bacteria that infects the stomach and causes several digestive and non-digestive symptoms including:
- Stomach pain
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Nausea and vomiting
- Brain fog
- Mood swings
H Pylori has a spiral shape and is able to burrow through the lining of the stomach, causing it to thin out. As a result, sensitivities and intolerances for many foods develop. It can also be the root cause of inflammation, gastritis, ulcers, and sometimes (but not always) stomach cancer.
How Does H Pylori Affect Digestion
In order for it to survive, H Pylori reduces the amount of hydrochloric acid (HCl) produced by the parietal cells in the stomach. This interferes with every step of digestion that follows.
Without adequate HCl, the enzyme that starts the first step of protein digestion, pepsin, doesn’t get activated. As a result, protein maldigestion and malabsorption are likely to happen. Often, the mental and cognitive issues such as brain fog, depression, and anxiety that result after H Pylori infection are due to low levels of brain neurotransmitters. Amino acids, which we acquire from protein digestion and absorption, are the building blocks of these neurotransmitters. Amino acids are also essential for many key functions in the body, including enzyme production, hormone balance, immune strength, energy production, hair and skin health, and not just building muscles.
H Pylori can also delay gastric emptying. Gastric emptying refers to how fast your stomach empties its content to the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. When food sits in your stomach for too long, it can cause stomach pain and discomfort. People often describe this as “a rock stuck” in the upper part of their abdomen. Food can get fermented in the stomach, and the gasses produced can push on the muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus, causing reflux and heartburn.
Even though H Pylori is considered an upper gastrointestinal tract problem, it significantly affects the lower part of the gut. When food is released from the stomach to the duodenum, the pancreas and the gallbladder should release digestive enzymes and bile to continue the digestive process. The acidity of the food coming from the stomach is what signals these organs to release their content. Since H Pylori interferes with acid production, it also interferes with the pancreas and gallbladder, and the reduction of digestive enzymes and bile can lead to dysbiosis and gut infections. And finally, H Pylori can reduce enzyme production in the small intestine. One study found that people with H Pylori have lower lactase enzyme level, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, compared to people without the infection.
H Pylori significantly affects every step in digestion, so a proper H Pylori diet has to take all of these into consideration.
H Pylori Diet Tips
One: Eat cooked foods that are soft and moist
That includes meats like chicken, red meats, and fish, as well as vegetables. Make soups and stews, drink bone broth, and steam or simmer your proteins and vegetables. A dry, stringy, and chewy piece of grilled steak, chicken breast, or corn on the cob is going to make your stomach work harder, leading to more pain and indigestion.
Other meal suggestions include:
- Steamed carrots with slow cooked or pressure cooked shredded chicken (retain the liquid and drizzle over the chicken)
- Butternut squash soup with boiled eggs
- Chicken noodle soup with zucchini, carrots, celery, broccoli, and cabbage
- Baked fish. Add some oil, herbs, lemon, and water, and bake for 10-15 minutes covered with parchment paper
- Lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey cooked with added water or stock, veggies, and served on top of a baked or mashed sweet or white potatoes.
Two: Eat broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
These vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane that helps kill H Pylori and prevent its colonization in the stomach. Broccoli sprouts have a high concentration of this compound and are often used in herbal combinations that target H Pylori.
To best tolerate these vegetables, cook them fully by steaming or sauteing. Avoid eating them raw, except for juicing. Some people report great results with cabbage juice, especially for healing ulcers. If that helps you and doesn’t cause digestive upsets, you may continue to drink it.
If you experience gas and bloating from these cruciferous vegetables, limit the portion to 1/2 cup each per meal. Skip the cauliflower as it tends to be the hardest of them to digest.
Three: Eat Foods that are anti-inflammatory and contain lots of antioxidants
People following an H Pylori diet tend to feel better when eating smaller portions. That’s why every bite counts. Make sure you’re choosing foods that help reduce inflammation and provide your digestive tract with antioxidants needed for healing.
The best antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory foods for H Pylori are cranberry, blueberry, red grapes, pomegranate, turmeric and omega-3’s. Here are some more tips.
- If you’re going to have them in juice forms, get a product that’s 100% cranberry, blueberry, red grape, or pomegranate juice. These tend to come in small glass containers, and limit to ¼ – ½ cup per day.
- Turmeric: make golden milk with ground turmeric or turmeric root, boiled with low fat cow’s milk or dairy-free alternative. You can also boil turmeric peeled and chopped turmeric root pieces with ginger pieces. You may also add turmeric to your meals. Always add a dash of black pepper to absorb the active ingredient in turmeric.
- The Best omega-3 fish include salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, and anchovies. Chia, hemp, flaxseed and walnut have some omega-3 too.
- Some of these foods come in powders and supplements. Search for quality products.
Learn how to identify the REAL causes of your gut problems.
Four: Eat Foods that boost digestion
Some people feel worse during the treatment or even after eradicating the bacteria. That’s because no or very little attention was given to supporting digestion and motility.
The best H Pylori diet includes foods that support the release of enzymes, as well as the production of bile from the liver and its release from the gallbladder.
These foods include:
- Artichoke hearts
- Arugula (rocket)
- Beets and beet greens
- Bitter melon
- Broccoli and broccoli rabe
- Brussels sprouts
- Daikon radish
- Dandelion greens
- Endive (escarole)
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Lemon and lemon rind
- Lime and lime rind
- Mustard greens
- Orange peel
- Red leaf lettuce
- Rhubarb root
- Romaine lettuce
- Swiss chard
- Thistles (milk thistle)
- Turnips and turnip greens
- Water with the addition of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar;
- Wild lettuce
Here are a few more tips:
- Add them in the form of foods in meals. Cooking can actually make them more effective. You don’t have to eat them raw.
- Skip the citrus if you have acid reflux or heartburn. You may try these after you’ve healed the stomach lining.
- These also come in extract forms but be careful with quality and inactive ingredients.
- TOO many herbs can make you feel worse, especially if you have developed food sensitivities. More is not always better.
What Foods to Avoid on an h Pylori Diet
While there aren’t any specific “banned” foods, it’s helpful to avoid foods that provide no nutritional benefit and contribute to inflammation. This includes sugar and refined flours, vegetable oils, cured and processed meats, sugary beverages, and alcohol. If you have gas and bloating, avoid foods that are hard to digest like legumes, complex starches, raw cruciferous vegetables, and fermentable fibers. If you have acid reflux, avoid onion, garlic, coffee, tea, citrus foods, chocolate, and carbonated beverages.
Pylori Diet: What Not to Do?
Do Not Take Apple Cider Vinegar, HCl Pills, or Digestive Bitter Extracts
It’s NOT recommended to take raw apple cider vinegar, HCl pills, or digestive bitters in supplement forms if you have an active H Pylori infection. You may be tempted to try to boost acid production in the stomach in hopes of eradicating the bacteria and improving digestion, but this can actually backfire if the infection is still there. More acid will drive the bacteria to burrow deeper into the stomach lining, making it harder to eradicate. Many people have inflammation, gastritis, and ulcers as a result of the infection. Adding acid or acid-promoting supplements too early is like trying to get a massage while you have a sunburn. They’re helpful, but at the right time! You must get rid of the H Pylori first, and then slowly introduce digestive bitters supplements, apple cider vinegar, or HCL pills.
Do Not Count on the Diet Alone to Treat the Bacteria
While following these diet tips will make you feel better and help you break down and benefit from your food more, diet alone will not eradicate the H Pylori. You need a proper treatment plan.
Conventional gastrointestinal doctors use triple therapy which includes a proton pump inhibitor and two antibiotics. This is successful for some people but not everyone as the bacteria has become more resistant to antibiotics. In my practice, I use specific supplement protocols that target the H Pylori. Additionally, other coexisting infections or dysbiosis can make it difficult to eradicate H Pylori. A comprehensive approach that reduces inflammation, personalizes the diet, improves digestion, and supports the immune system is necessary for those stubborn cases. If you’d like to learn more about my approach and how it can help you overcome this difficult infection, read more about working with me and book an assessment session to get started.
And if you’ve tried a lot of things and you still have digestive discomforts, even after treating H Pylori and tests coming back negative, it’s possible that your symptoms are due to something else. Many people develop food sensitivities, leaky gut, gut infections, or dysbiosis as a result of the bacteria or the treatment itself. My comprehensive food sensitivities and gut repair approach has helped many people in your situation and it may be exactly what you need to overcome your digestive discomforts.