I’d like to point out that I am not claiming that all H pylori infections can be cured by the foods listed in this article. However there is evidence in the research literature to support their use.
I’d also like to mention that parts of this article are excerpts taken straight from from my book, The H Pylori Diet.
As you may have read in some of our other articles, Triple Therapy antibiotics that are used in standard H pylori treatment are declining in their efficacy.
Whereas treatments used to yield 80-90% success rates, some studies published in the journal Helicobacter have revealed cure rates of only 50-70%. It appears as though the H pylori bacteria are becoming resistant to the antibiotics and treatment effectiveness is very ‘hit and miss’.
Some studies have shown that some foods and spices may help to inhibit the growth of H pylori and, in some cases, may even assist in killing the H pylori bacteria:
I have read many studies regarding foods that may “kill” H pylori. Whilst I certainly believe that chemicals in these foods can have an antibiotic effect, I am not completely convinced that, on their own, they are powerful enough to eradicate the infection.
Let’s take a look at some of these potentially beneficial antimicrobial foods in detail.
Cranberries may help to inhibit the growth of H pylori. A 2008 study on a group of 271 children with H pylori showed very interesting results. Children who consumed cranberry juice showed an eradication rate of 16.9%, versus an eradication rate of only 1.5% in the control group.
In 2007, a group of researchers in Israel reported that cranberry juice may enhance the ability of antibiotics to clear H pylori from infected patients. Results from the trial involving 177 patients with H pylori infection, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, suggested that drinking cranberry juice during and after a weeklong antibiotic course enhanced the eradication of the bacteria by about 10 per cent.
2. Broccoli & Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli contains a compound known as sulforaphane. Broccoli sprouts are known to contain the highest amount of sulforaphane, which has been studied and shown to inhibit H pylori growth in both mice and humans.
Sulphorafane is also contained in cabbage, turnips, Brussels sprouts, radish and several other foods. Consumption of these foods may assist in inhibiting H pylori growth, but I am do not think eating these foods is likely to result in complete H pylori eradication.
3. Olive oil
Olive oil can be used as the base for salad dressings but I recommend against cooking with it too much because it is not very stable at high temperatures. If you do want to add it to sauces, add it at the end of your meal preparation once the food has started to cool down. In other words, do not expose olive oil to high temperatures for long periods of time.
A recent study conducted by researchers from the Spanish Institute de la Grasa showed that chemicals called polyphenols contained within olive oil exhibited antibacterial activity against eight strains of H pylori. Three of the H pylori strains were said to be resistant to antibiotic treatment. Olive oil is a health promoting oil so, irrespective of whether it does kill H pylori in vivo, it is still good to consume it on a regular basis.
Garlic contains allicin, which has strong antibacterial properties. Juicing one half of a fresh clove of garlic with vegetable or fruit juice consumed with a meal, or even eaten raw on its own, may help to kill unwanted organisms in your digestive tract. Be careful with garlic because too much can certainly cause unwanted bad breath and body odour as well as having the potential to irritate your digestive lining. One clove per day ought to be enough. Please avoid using a lot of garlic if you are taking blood thinning medications.
Although garlic has been shown to exhibit antimicrobial properties, its use against H pylori remains controversial. Some studies have failed to reveal beneficial effects on H pylori in people who have taken garlic in an attempt to clear the infection.
5. Green Tea
A recent study showed that certain components in green tea have been shown to inhibit H pylori and H felis in vitro. The green tea also helped to reduce the development of inflammation in the stomach of mice. As with other foods, the study did not indicate that green tea can eradicate H pylori.
6. Cabbage Juice / Vitamin U
In the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, Cheney conducted extensive research on the ability of cabbage juice to heal stomach ulcers. He found that stomach ulcers and damaged stomach tissue responded very well to the administration of cabbage juice.
The ingredient that is believed to be responsible for this healing effect is called vitamin U (it is called a vitamin, but is not actually considered a true vitamin by the scientific community).
Despite its effectiveness, it may not be that cabbage juice actually kills H pylori bacteria but, instead, simply has anti-inflammatory and healing properties that allow the gastric mucosa to regenerate.
Caution – Don’t Believe Everything You Read In The H Pylori Studies!
If you read a study, or some information on the Internet, stating that a food inhibits H pylori this does not necessarily mean that the food is capable of eradicating it. The two words inhibit and eradicate have completely different meanings.
An additional problem when reading studies is that many of them report the effects of foods in vitro. In vitro means “outside the body” and studies conducted in this manner usually involve growing H pylori in cultures and then exposing them to a certain food or herb to see if that substance has any effect on the bacteria. Even if the food or herb inhibits or kills the bacteria in vitro, there is no guarantee that the same effect will occur inside the stomach or intestine.
A third problem is that although certain foods have been shown to inhibit or kill H pylori both in vitro and in vivo, we still do not know how much of each food needs to be eaten, how often it needs to be eaten, or for how long we need to eat it!
The reason I wrote The H Pylori Diet was very simple: to give you an easy-to-follow programme, presented in a step-by step manner, to help you ensure that any H pylori treatment you take works more effectively.
Eating foods that may help in H pylori eradication is only one reason to adjust your diet.
Perhaps even more important is the fact that many common foods actually cause the same or similar symptoms as H pylori in many people.
For example, gluten, cow’s milk, soy, sugar and even the nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc) have the ability to cause an enormous amount of irritation to the lining of your stomach and intestines, so in the book, I teach you how to avoid these foods as well as how to replace them with tasty and convenient alternatives.
I highly recommend that you take a look at The H Pylori Diet byclicking here.
H Pylori Diet & Supermarket Foods Research
Kockar, C et al. 2001. Helicobacter pylori eradication with beta-carotene, ascorbic acid and allicin. Acta Medica. 44(3):97-100.
C. Romero et al. In vitro activity of olive oil polyphenols against Helicobacter pylori. J Agric Food Chem: 55: 680-686.
O’Mahony, R et al. Bactericidal & Anti-adhesive Properties of Spices Against Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter 2004 (A11.03); 9: 487-604.
Stoicova, C. 2008. Green Tea Inhibits Helicobacter Growth in vivo and in vitro. Int J Antimicrob Agents.
Chatterjee, A. et al. 2004. Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori in vitro by various berry extracts, with enhanced susceptibility to Clarithromycin. Journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 265:1-2, 19-26.
Matshushima et al. The Growth Inhibitory Effects of Cranberry Extract on Helicobacter pylori – In Vitro analysis. Helicobacter 2005 (A01.15); 10: 458-556.
Lin YT et al. Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori and associated urease by oregano and cranberry phytochemical synergies. App Env Microb. 2005; 71(12): 8558-64.
Fahey, J et al. 2002. Sulforaphane inhibits extracellular, intracellular, and anti-biotic resistant strains of Helicobacter pylori and prevents benzo[a]pyrene-induced stomach tumours. PNAS: 99:11, 7610-7615.
Cheney G. Rapid healing of peptic ulcers in patients receiving fresh cabbage juice. Calif Med. 1949 Jan; 70(1):10–15. 219
Cheney G. Vitamin U therapy of peptic ulcer. Calif Med. 1952 Oct; 77(4):248–252.
Cheney G. The nature of the antipepticulcer dietary factor. Stanford Med Bull. 1950 Aug; 8(3):144–161.