Ulcers and Milk – Should Milk Be Part of A Stomach Ulcer Diet?
Since the dawn of the discovery of peptic ulcers, many homegrown remedies have traditionally involved the recommendation of adding milk to the diet in order to coat the stomach and soothe the ulcer.
However, does modern science support that notion? Not at all. Below, you will find out why milk is no longer advised as part of a stomach ulcer diet.
Cause of Ulcers
Back when milk was recommended as a remedy for ulcers (circa de 1940-1970), doctors initially attributed this to lifestyle (smoking, stress, drinking) and diet (spicy and fatty foods). The idea was that milk was a wholesome, healthy, food that would coat the lining of the stomach and protect it from acid. Milk was also a popular heartburn remedy at this time.
However, since the early days of ulcers, our understanding of what causes ulcers has rapidly changed. We now know that the vast majority of ulcers are caused by H pylori infection (a bacteria which lives in the stomach and small intestines) rather than diet or lifestyle choices. The vast minority of remaining ulcers is related to the regular use of NSAIDs (aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen).
Milk does nothing to battle H pylori, and certainly cannot reverse the harmful effects of NSAIDs, and as such it is not effective as an ulcer remedy. It turns out that milk and ulcers have no real relationship and milk is not even effective at reducing stomach ulcer symptoms.
Does Diet Have Any Influence on Ulcer Healing?
While milk and ulcers have no real relationship, now that we better understand what causes ulcers, there are a few things we can do to help out ulcers via diet.
In particular, people should aim to eat real food and a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and protein. Antioxidants in vegetables and fruits help minimize inflammation in the stomach, and protein is needed to provide the raw materials for the body to use to repair the stomach lining.
However, these are only mild aids to ulcer recovery. The medications used to treat H pylori are necessary. These medications, collectively known as triple therapy, include two antibiotics to fight H pylori and either a proton-pump inhibitor or H2-blocker to reduce acid production and promote ulcer healing.
One further supplement you might considering adding to your stomach ulcer diet is some sort of probiotic, particularly after triple therapy is finished. The antibiotics used to treat H pylori are extremely harsh and wipe out much of the beneficial flora in the gut. Adding in a simple probiotic can help restore these bacteria which become the victim of collateral damage. This may help improve digestion and speed ulcer healing times as well, but is again not a substitute for medical treatment.
Milk and Ulcers Conclusion
Using milk for ulcers is just an old home remedy that has been passed down from generation to generation and is simply not current with our modern understanding of ulcers. Medical treatment is necessary for the healing of ulcers.
A diet consisting of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and some solid sources of protein may help bolster ulcer healing, but is no replacement for triple therapy.