What are Ulcers?
One of the basic components of the digestive process is the breaking down of nutrients by acid in the stomach. When the digestive system is functioning properly, there are cells in the stomach that serve to protect the stomach wall from the acid. Whether due to bacterial infection, excessive use of anti-inflammatory medication like aspirin, smoking, alcohol, or stress, these special cells in the stomach can fail to function, which allows for the acid to burn away the stomach wall. The remnants of this burning are what is known as an ulcer. Ulcers may occur in the stomach itself or just below the stomach in the duodenum, which is part of the small intestine. When one has an ulcer, they may experience abdominal pain, bloating, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, excessive salivation, vomiting of blood, and a black tar-like stool. If the pain fades upon eating but gets worse an hour later, the ulcer is likely in the duodenum, but if the pain is at its peak while eating, then the ulcer is probably in the stomach. It is estimated that there are 5 million people with ulcers in America today.
How can I treat Ulcers?
Traditional Chinese medicine considers an ulcer to be disharmony between the stomach and liver networks, and treatment focuses on realigning these networks and healing the lining of the digestive tract. This process can be aided by improving one’s diet, eating more frequently in smaller amounts, and eating breakfast. Foods to be included in this treatment plan include whole grains and potatoes, legumes such as lentils and split peas, fruits such as papaya and figs, and vegetables such as spinach, kale, cabbage, mustard greens, zucchini, carrots, and yams. Other remedies include eating a tablespoon of honey on an empty stomach several times throughout the day and having a shake of banana, raw potato, blueberries, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, honey, rice milk, and plain yogurt. Digestion and absorption can also be improved by walking.
What should I avoid in my lifestyle for Ulcers?
When treating an ulcer, it is important to avoid overeating, skipped meals, late-night eating, fried and greasy foods, spicy and acidic foods including tomato and citrus fruits, vinegar, chili pepper, coffee, alcohol, smoking, stress, anxiety, and excessive use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin.
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