Ulcer Diet Addendum
Updated 6/30/09


The Swedish Study of Spinach
Some people are reading the study and imagining that it says that spinach and some other vegetables are good for ulcers. What the study says is that spinach and some other vegetables contain compounds that might make the linings of stomachs stronger and thus better able to resist ulcers. They are not saying that after you have an ulcer you should eat high fiber foods like spinach. That's like recommending putting on a bullet proof vest after you have been shot. 

The potential (it's not proven yet) nutritional benefits are outweighed by the detrimental effects that fiber has on existing ulcers. Spinach juice ought to be fine, because that has no fiber. But the fiber in spinach is a problem for most ulcers.

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Chewing gum
Studies show that chewing gum after a meal can significantly reduce the severity of heartburn.

Heartburn, or reflux, is fluids in the stomach traveling up into the esophagus. The saliva stimulated by chewing neutralizes acid and drives fluids back to the stomach.

In 2005 The Journal of Dental Research published a study in which researchers fed 31 people heartburn-inducing meals and then had certain random ones of them chew sugar-free gum for 30 minutes. Acid levels in them were lower compared to the control subjects.

In 2001 a similar study found the beneficial effects last up to three hours.

A study published in 2002, by scientists at the non-profit Oklahoma Foundation for Digestive Research, found that chewing antacid gum was more effective than chewable antacid tablets after eating.

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Since an ulcer is an open sore, it allows direct access to your bloodstream for organisms you ingest. That is why raw seafood, like oysters or sushi, it more dangerous for people with ulcers.

According to CDC, nearly all seafood-related deaths in the United States are caused by a bacterium called Vibrio vulnificus. It is a tissue-destroying disease, actually a flesh-eating bacteria. People can be infected by contaminated seafood. Raw shellfish, particularly oysters, pose the greatest risk, the agency says, especially if it comes from the Gulf of Mexico during the summer months.

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Bile Reflux

Bile is an alkali that is released intermittently into the duodenum to digest fat. When it refluxes into the stomach, the symptoms are similar to heartburn, but treatment with acid-suppressing drugs tends to be ineffective because it is not an acid.

Misdiagnosis is common and can be serious, but many doctors either do not believe it exists or mistakenly believe that nothing can be done about it.

The information I am putting on the web specifically is about the effects food can have on acid reflux. Since bile reflux is not acid and often is not effected by diet, it falls outside the scope of this page. So for more about it, I suggest doing a search on the web where, for instance, the Mayo Clinic has posted information at this link:

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Find a Registered Dietitian

Go to:
and click on
“For the Public”
There is a link to help find a dietitian in your area you can work with in person. To save you some searching, here is the link:


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Site Updated October 24, 2011