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Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacteria affecting about two-thirds of the world’s population, can lead to troublesome symptoms if left untreated. Surprisingly, many individuals with an H. pylori infection remain unaware due to its asymptomatic nature.

Seeking treatment upon diagnosis is crucial. Modifying your diet can ease symptoms and manage the infection effectively. Here, we outline everything you need to know about dietary choices when dealing with an H. pylori infection.

What is H. Pylori?

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that infects the stomach. If it goes untreated it can lead to stomach ulcers or stomach cancer. Common symptoms of H. pylori bacteria include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Low appetite
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Weight loss without trying

If you have symptoms of a peptic ulcer, your doctor will probably want to test you for H. pylori to determine the best treatment approach. The standard medical treatment for H. pylori is antibiotics. However, eating the right foods can help keep symptoms from worsening and help to speed up infection healing. 

The Role of Diet in Managing H. Pylori

The food you eat has an effect on the symptoms and severity of an H. pylori infection. Adjusting your diet can help minimize the secretion of gastric acid and prevent irritation of the stomach lining. 

Beneficial Foods in an H. Pylori Diet

If you have H. pylori or are at higher risk of developing a stomach ulcer, it is important to pay close attention to the types of foods you’re incorporating into your diet. Some foods can increase stomach acid and feed the harmful bacteria, causing H. pylori symptoms to flare up and increasing your risk of developing complications.

On the contrary, other foods help to keep harmful bacteria at ease and reduce stomach acid, helping the infection clear up faster and prevent it from worsening. Below, we’re sharing the top foods you should eat if you have an H. pylori infection.


Probiotics help your gut’s healthy bacteria thrive. Probiotics are present in certain fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut. They can also be taken as a daily supplement as a capsule, powder or liquid. Because probiotics stimulate the good bacteria in the gut, they help to stimulate the production of healthy flora that fight bacteria and decrease the side effects of H. pylori infection. Some common foods that contain probiotics include:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Saurkraut
  • Kombucha
  • Cottage cheese

Omega-3 and Omega-6

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may be beneficial in reducing stomach inflammation which can help to prevent the growth of H. pylori. These healthy fats are found in fish oil, olive oil, carrot seed and grapefruit seed oil. 

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are always important to incorporate into your diet since they are rich in nutrients. It is important to focus on non-acidic fruits and vegetables such as berries and cruciferous vegetables. Some examples of fruits and vegetables that are okay to eat with H. pylori include:

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
  • Leafy greens
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage

White Meats and Fish

White meats and fish are a safe option for people with H. pylori since they have a lower fat content. This makes digestion easier and prevents food from sitting in the stomach for too long. It is best to prepare meats and fish by boiling or sauteeing them in olive oil. Avoid frying these meats since fried food is not ideal for people with H. pylori infection. 

Honey and Spices

Honey has been found to have anti-bacterial properties which can help your body fight off H. pylori. Incorporate honey into your diet by adding it to tea or foods such as yogurt. Some spices may also be helpful to incorporate such as turmeric. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties which may help to reduce inflammation in the gut caused by H. pylori. 

Foods to Consider Avoiding

Adding healthy foods into your diet is important when you have H. pylori but it is equally as important to avoid eating foods that will exacerbate the infection. Foods to avoid if you have an H. pylori infection are listed below.

  • Caffeine-containing foods and drinks. Food and beverages that contain caffeine increase digestion which causes more irritation. 
  • Sodas and other carbonated beverages. Carbonated beverages can cause the stomach to become distended causing pain and acid reflux. 
  • Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages like beer and wine increase stomach inflammation and worsen symptoms of H. Pylori infection. It is best to avoid alcohol entirely if you have an H. pylori infection or stomach ulcer. 
  • Acidic fruit. Citrus fruits such as lemons and pineapple can increase stomach acid and cause pain and heartburn. 
  • Spicy foods. Spicy or acidic foods like garlic, mustard and pepper can all have a negative effect on people with H. pylori infections so it is best to avoid them. 
  • High-fat foods. Fatty foods like fatty meats and fried foods can make digestion slow down, causing foods to stay in the stomach longer, worsening symptoms of H. pylori infection.
  • Processed foods. Processed foods like deli meats and canned foods often contain extra preservatives and additives which can irritate the stomach and increase inflammation. 

Sample H. Pylori Diet Menu

Maintaining a special diet rich in foods that manage H. pylori can be tricky if you’re not used to moderating the foods you eat. Any combination of H. pylori-friendly foods can be put together to create delicious and healthy meals that won’t further upset your digestive tract. See below some example meals that follow an H. pylori diet. 

  • Breakfast. Fresh berries with a scrambled egg and oats. 
  • Lunch. Rice with beans and white meat chicken with a side of cabbage.
  • Dinner. Salmon with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Side Effects of H. Pylori Treatment and How to Relieve Them

H. pylori is commonly treated with a combination of antibiotics. Antibiotics can have several side effects like a metallic taste in your mouth, nausea and diarrhea. Taking probiotics can help with reducing the side effects of antibiotics by helping to keep your “good” gut bacteria healthy. 


Managing H. pylori becomes easier when you make healthy lifestyle choices and collaborate closely with your healthcare provider to address the infection. Adopting specific dietary habits, like eating key beneficial foods and avoiding others, significantly contributes to symptom management. It’s essential to communicate openly with your doctor regarding potential treatment side effects and strategies for effective management. For personalized guidance, consider consulting with doctors specializing in lifestyle medicine at UCF Health.