Peptic Ulcer and Non-ulcer Dyspepsia

Peptic ulcers are the sores that develop inside the stomach, esophagus or small intestine and are caused by Helicobacter pylori infection, alcohol use, and some medications.1

Non-ulcer dyspepsia: Also called functional dyspepsia, non-ulcer dyspepsia is a painful feeling in the upper abdomen due to an unknown cause.2 Gastroscopy or endoscopy tests show no apparent signs of inflammation in the stomach or intestines.

Patients who suffer from peptic ulcer and non-ulcer dyspepsia should be careful about their diet as certain foods may worsen the symptoms. Some diets can aggravate stomach acid secretion, which causes further ulceration and delays the healing process.


Diets to Avoid

The following foods should be avoided, as these are commonly associated with aggravating peptic ulcers and non-ulcer dyspepsia.

  • Tomatoes
  • Spicy foods
  • Hot drinks
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Peppermint
  • Cream soups
  • Citrus fruits
  • Processed meats like sausages, hotdogs, and salami

How to Eat with Stomach Ulcers

Some people think an empty stomach is best and they quit eating early. This is the wrong instinct. An empty stomach may actually worsen the symptoms. Eating the appropriate alkaline foods help buffer the acidic environment in the stomach.3

Special Considerations

All foods that are associated with gastric comfort should be avoided. Foods that worsen the symptoms by excessive acid production like red pepper, black pepper, caffeine, chili powder, tea, chocolate, cocoa, juices, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and cola beverages should be kept to a minimum.4 If these foods are necessary, try to make adjustments with the help of a physician.

  • Chew food slowly and thoroughly.
  • Do not swallow food in a hurry. Be calm and relaxed and eat peacefully.
  • Quit smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid eating just before going to bed. Eat at least 2 hours before lying down.
  • Omit any food that causes stomach discomfort.
  • Do not take aspirin, NSAIDs, and arthritis medications.
  • Antacids help neutralize stomach acid. However, you should avoid antacids that contain magnesium as they may cause diarrhea.
Sample Menu
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • apple juice 1/2 cup
  • oatmeal 1/2 cup
  • toast 1 slice
  • skim milk 1 cup
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • sugar 1 tsp
  • jelly 1 tsp
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • cream of potato soup 3/4 cup
  • broiled chicken patty 3 oz
  • bun
  • tossed salad
  • low-fat dressing
  • mustard 1 tsp
  • peaches 1/2 cup
  • skim milk 1 cup
  • salt 1/4 tsp
  • apricot nectar 1/2 cup
  • baked fish 3 oz
  • mashed potatoes 1/2 cup
  • green beans 1/2 cup
  • bread 1 slice
  • vanilla pudding 1/2 cup
  • margarine 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp
This sample diet provides the following:
Calories 1,934 Fat 70 gm
Protein 84 g Sodium 3,762 mg
Carbohydrates 249 g Potassium 2,968 mg


  1. Malik TF, Gnanapandithan K, Singh K. Peptic Ulcer Disease. Mayo Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol Board Rev. Published online June 11, 2022:49-56. doi:10.1201/b16120-13
  2. Francis P, Zavala SR. Functional Dyspepsia. Gastroenterology. Published online April 21, 2022:160-169. doi:10.1002/9781118932759.ch16
  3. Vomero ND, Colpo E. Nutritional care in peptic ulcer. Arq Bras Cir Dig. 2014;27(4):298. doi:10.1590/S0102-67202014000400017
  4. Marotta RB, Floch MH. Diet and nutrition in ulcer disease. Med Clin North Am. 1991;75(4):967-979. doi:10.1016/S0025-7125(16)30424-2

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