Ulcer Protection And The Beneficial Role Of Bananas

  • Christina Weir MSc, Biotechnology, Bioprocessing & Business Management, University of Warwick, UK


Ulcers can be painful and affect anyone. They can occur in various parts of the body and have complex causes.1 If left untreated, they can lead to life-threatening complications and reduce quality of life.2 We understand how challenging it can be to deal with ulcers; therefore, in this article, we will explore the beneficial role of bananas and ways to protect yourself from ulcers.11 Diet and lifestyle changes is also crucial to help individuals reduce their risk and improve their quality of life.7,8,9

Understanding ulcers

Ulcers are sores that develop on the skin or mucous membranes and are often characterised by a loss of tissue that exposes underlying layers like muscles or bones.2 

Types of ulcers

It can be quite distressing to suffer from ulcers as they can be extremely painful, but what's important to remember is these wounds can occur in different parts of the body, including the skin, mouth, stomach lining (known as stomach ulcers), or even in the veins (known as venous ulcers).3,10,24 

Causes of ulcers

Ulcers may result from numerous causes, including infections, poor blood circulation, injuries, or issues with the digestive system.3 Therefore, seeking medical attention is essential if you suspect that you may be suffering from ulcers.2

Symptoms and complications

These sores can be a huge discomfort to the sufferer and it’s no joke – they can range from burning sensations and severe pain which can interfere with daily life.3 But it’s not just the immediate effect that we need to worry about, though. If left untreated or poorly managed, they can lead to life-threatening complications.3 And let’s not forget about the long-term effects of 

chronic ulcers, which can greatly reduce a person's quality of life and be expensive to treat as it can require taking lots of medications, using dressings, and frequent medical appointments.3 Protecting against ulcers is important to reduce the risk of infections and maintain overall well-being as can lead to work or productivity loss for affected individuals.3 Overall, it's clear that ulcer protection is vital not only for addressing immediate discomfort and pain but also for preventing complications and maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life.2

The role of diet in ulcer prevention

The impact of diet on ulcer development

Diet certainly plays a significant role in the development of ulcers, especially stomach ulcers.5,6 Spicy and acidic foods, caffeine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen, alcohol, H. pylori infection, a high salt intake, lack of fibre, and overeating or eating late at night are known to contribute to the development of an ulcer.3,5,6 So, adopting a balanced and stomach-friendly diet by limiting irritants and avoiding excessive NSAIDs and alcohol use can reduce the risk of developing ulcers.3,5,6 Consult a healthcare professional if you suspect you have an ulcer or someone at risk due to their diet or other factors.3,7

Tips on ulcer prevention

It is important to note that maintaining a healthy diet can make a big difference when it comes to preventing ulcers, especially stomach ulcers.4 Here are some simple ways you can adjust your diet to help prevent ulcers:

  1. Try to avoid foods that can irritate your stomach lining, like highly seasoned or acidic foods (such as citrus fruits and tomatoes).8
  2. Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can contribute to the development of stomach ulcers.7
  3. If you need to take NSAIDs for medical reasons, be sure to take them with food and monitor your use closely. Talk to your healthcare provider about alternatives.4
  4. Eating a balanced diet that's rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can promote overall digestive health and reduce the risk of ulcers. Foods that are rich in probiotics, like yoghurt, can also help promote a healthy gut.7,8
  5. Stay hydrated to prevent constipation, which can worsen certain types of ulcers.9
  6. You might want to consider limiting or abstaining from alcohol consumption, as regular alcohol consumption can damage the stomach lining.4
  7. Managing stress with relaxation exercises and mindfulness is also important, as high-stress levels can make ulcer symptoms worse.4
  8. For mouth ulcers, be sure to maintain good oral hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth to prevent infection.10

You should keep in mind that the role of diet in preventing ulcers can vary depending on your specific health condition and the type of ulcer.9 That's why it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to develop a personalised dietary plan that works for you.9 And don't forget that other lifestyle factors, like not smoking, are also crucial in preventing ulcers.7 

Bananas: a natural ulcer protector

How bananas promote ulcer protection

If you're struggling with ulcers, you may find relief by incorporating bananas into your diet.11 These fruits are packed with nutrients and properties that can be soothing to your stomach.14 Bananas contain vitamins like vitamin C, which can aid in the healing of your tissues, and vitamin B6, which is essential for maintaining healthy blood.15 Additionally, they're a great source of potassium, which helps regulate your blood pressure and fluid levels.11 Bananas also provide a good amount of dietary fibre, particularly soluble fibre, which can help maintain regular bowel movements and prevent constipation, which can cause discomfort with certain ulcers.17 Furthermore, bananas are easy to digest and are less likely to irritate your stomach lining, making them a good option for those with ulcers or sensitive digestive systems.13,14,16 The natural antacid effect of bananas can also help neutralise excess stomach acid, which is especially beneficial for those with peptic ulcers.13

Scientific evidence supporting banana's benefits for ulcers

Understandably, you would want to find a natural relief for ulcers with bananas; it is helpful to know that according to some scientific research, bananas may have a soothing effect on the stomach lining.13,14,16 An example is a study from 1984 in the "British Journal of Pharmacology", which discovered that banana extracts can safeguard the mucosa in rats. It's always encouraging to see how natural remedies can have such positive effects.14 The study claims that unripe plantain bananas have anti-ulcerogenic action due to their ability to stimulate the growth of gastric mucosa, which may have the ability to form a protective barrier on the stomach lining to help prevent additional irritation caused by stomach acid.14,16 Other studies suggest that bananas contain beneficial antioxidants like serotonin.13 These compounds are capable of inhibiting gastric secretion and stimulating the smooth muscle of the intestines, which is a crucial factor for promoting healing.13 

Dealing with ulcers can be challenging and exhausting; while bananas may offer some potential relief, it's important to note that they should not be relied upon as the sole treatment for ulcers.12 The best approach often involves a combination of medications, lifestyle adjustments, and dietary changes, all of which should be carefully supervised by a healthcare professional.3 It's worth noting that scientific studies on the specific impacts of bananas on ulcers are still limited, and more extensive clinical trials are needed to determine their effectiveness as a therapeutic option for ulcer treatment.12,13,14,16 If you're struggling with ulcers, I encourage you to seek guidance from your GP, who can help you create a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. 

Incorporating bananas into your diet

The recommended daily banana limit can vary depending on individual dietary needs and preferences.19 However, here is a general guideline for banana consumption based on typical serving sizes:

Age Group (years)20Recommended Daily Banana Limit 19
Children (2-6)1 small banana or 1/2 of a medium banana 20
Children (7-18)1 medium banana 20
Adults1-2 medium bananas 19

Keep in mind that these recommendations are approximate and can vary based on individual factors, such as overall calorie and carbohydrate intake, dietary preferences, and specific health conditions.20

However, if you're looking to include bananas in your diet to aid in ulcer treatment, here are some tips to help you incorporate bananas into your ulcer-friendly diet: 

  • Choose ripe bananas: They're easier to digest, provide fibre for healthy bowels and have a sweeter taste.22
  • Enjoy them as a snack or add them to smoothies.22
  • Avoid combining bananas with other acidic or spicy foods that might worsen ulcer symptoms.21

Again, if you have any concerns about your diet and ulcer treatment, it's best to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian for personalised recommendations and guidance.20 

Also, remember that while bananas can provide some relief and potential benefits, they shouldn't replace any prescribed medications or treatments for ulcers.12

Other lifestyle changes for ulcer prevention

Taking care of your health is important to prevent ulcers so, making some lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your risk.3 We understand it can be challenging to make changes, but some key changes you can make are: 

  1. Avoid smoking. We know it's not easy, but smoking can weaken the protective lining of your stomach, leading to peptic ulcers or worsening existing ones.7
  2. Limit alcohol consumption. We know how tempting it can be to have a drink after a long day, but excessive drinking can irritate your stomach lining and contribute to the development of ulcers.7
  3. Be cautious with medication. We know medication is sometimes necessary, but NSAIDs, including aspirin and ibuprofen, can irritate your stomach lining and increase the risk of ulcers.4 Consult your healthcare provider for alternatives or preventive measures if you need NSAIDs for medical reasons.3
  4. Practice good oral hygiene. We recommend regularly brushing and flossing your teeth to reduce the risk of infections and prevent mouth ulcers.10 
  5. Adopting a balanced diet is essential. We recommend eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to promote digestion and reduce the risk of ulcers.7 Avoid excessive consumption of spicy, acidic, or highly seasoned foods that may irritate your stomach.8
  6. Staying hydrated is important. We recommend drinking enough water to stay well-hydrated, as dehydration can contribute to the development of certain types of ulcers, such as mouth ulcers.22
  7. Limiting caffeine is necessary. We know how much you love your coffee, tea, or energy drink, but excessive caffeine intake can stimulate stomach acid production, potentially irritating your stomach lining.4
  8. Avoid overeating or eating late at night. We recommend consuming smaller, more frequent meals instead of large, heavy meals to prevent increased stomach acid production and exacerbation of ulcer symptoms.4,22
  9. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial. We understand it can be challenging, but excess body weight can increase your risk of developing ulcers. Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity.4 However, avoid vigorous exercise immediately after eating, as it may exacerbate stomach discomfort.23

I would also remind you that making lifestyle changes is most effective when combined with proper medical care and consultation with a healthcare provider like your GP.4 If you suspect you have an ulcer or are at risk due to your lifestyle or medical history, seek medical advice for a comprehensive evaluation and personalised guidance on prevention and management.3,4    


Preventing and managing ulcers can be a complex and overwhelming task, so take time to understand the causes, risk factors, and remedies available.2 See your GP if you're at risk or suspect that you have an ulcer.3 Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, good oral hygiene, and diet management can help.8 Bananas can also be helpful, but it is important to note that they don't replace prescribed treatments.13,14,16 Talk to a healthcare professional about how many to consume.19 Remember, you're not alone. Seek help from healthcare professionals to improve your well-being.2,3,19


This article explores the benefits of adding bananas to a diet for people with ulcers.13 Bananas can soothe excess stomach acid and have protective effects on the stomach lining.14,16 It also explores and recommends daily banana consumption based on age and offers tips for incorporating them into an ulcer-friendly diet.19,22 In addition, it emphasises the importance of a holistic approach to ulcer prevention that includes lifestyle changes and medical guidance.2,3,4


  1. Editors BD. Mucous membrane (Mucosa) - definition, function & examples [Internet]. Biology Dictionary. 2017 [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Available from: https://biologydictionary.net/mucous-membrane/.
  2. Staff familydoctor org editorial. familydoctor.org. 2023 [cited 2023 Oct 7]. What causes ulcers - stomach ulcer symptoms. Available from: https://familydoctor.org/condition/ulcers/.
  3. NHS.uk [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Stomach ulcer - Causes. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stomach-ulcer/causes/
  4. Stomach ulcer: causes, symptoms, and treatment [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Available from: https://patient.info/digestive-health/dyspepsia-indigestion/stomach-ulcer-gastric-ulcer.
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  6. Thomas DR. The role of nutrition in prevention and healing of pressure ulcers. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine [Internet]. 1997 Aug 1 [cited 2023 Oct 7];13(3):497–512. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749069018301563.
  7. Drugs.com [Internet]. [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Diet for ulcers and gastritis - foods to eat & avoid. Available from: https://www.drugs.com/cg/diet-for-stomach-ulcers-and-gastritis.html.
  8. What are the best foods to eat with a stomach ulcer? [Internet]. The OPA. [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Available from: https://opa.org.uk/what-are-the-best-foods-to-eat-with-a-stomach-ulcer/.
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  10. NHS.uk [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Mouth ulcers. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mouth-ulcers/.
  11. Kim TH, Yang PS, Yu HT, Jang E, Shin H, Kim HY, et al. Effect of hypertension duration and blood pressure level on ischaemic stroke risk in atrial fibrillation: nationwide data covering the entire Korean population. Eur Heart J. 2019 Mar 7;40(10):809–19.
  12. Gogola * D. Phytochemical screening, antioxidant and gastro-protective activity studies on the fruit peels of selected varieties of banana. Herbal Medicines Journal [Internet]. 2020 Aug 1 [cited 2023 Oct 7];5(2). Available from: http://hmj.lums.ac.ir/index.php/hmj/article/view/763.
  13. Kumar* KPS, Bhowmik D, S.Duraivel, M.Umadevi. Traditional and medicinal uses of banana. J Pharmacogn Phytochem [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2023 Oct 7];1(3):51–63. Available from: https://www.phytojournal.com/archives/2012.v1.i3.22/traditional-and-medicinal-uses-of-banana.
  14. Best R, Lewis DA, Nasser N. The anti-ulcerogenic activity of the unripe plantain banana (Musa species). Br J Pharmacol [Internet]. 1984 May [cited 2023 Oct 7];82(1):107–16. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1987262/.
  15. Avenue 677 Huntington, Boston, Ma 02115. The Nutrition Source. 2018 [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Bananas. Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/bananas/.
  16. Elliott RC, Heward GJF. The influence of a banana supplemented diet on gastric ulcers in mice. Pharmacological Research Communications [Internet]. 1976 Apr 1 [cited 2023 Oct 7];8(2):167–72. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0031698976900060.
  17. Balda S, Sharma A, Capalash N, Sharma P. Banana fibre: a natural and sustainable bioresource for eco-friendly applications. Clean Techn Environ Policy [Internet]. 2021 Jul 1 [cited 2023 Oct 7];23(5):1389–401. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10098-021-02041-y.
  18. Gogola * D. Phytochemical screening, antioxidant and gastro-protective activity studies on the fruit peels of selected varieties of banana. Herbal Medicines Journal [Internet]. 2020 Aug 1 [cited 2023 Oct 7];5(2). Available from: http://hmj.lums.ac.ir/index.php/hmj/article/view/763.
  19. British Heart Foundation [Internet]. [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Portion guide: Fruit. Available from: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/support/healthy-living/healthy-eating/healthy-eating-toolkit/food-portions/fruit.
  20. MedicineNet [Internet]. [cited 2023 Oct 7]. How many bananas should you eat per day? Available from: https://www.medicinenet.com/how_many_bananas_should_you_eat_per_day/article.htm
  21. Rider JA, Moeller HC, Puletti EJ. Bananas in the peptic ulcer diet. Med Times. 1967 Aug;95(8):889–93.
  22. What should I eat to help my pressure ulcer or wound heal? [Internet]. [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Available from: https://yourhealth.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/library/csi/dietetics/1161-what-should-i-eat-to-help-my-pressure-ulcer-or-wound-heal.
  23. Food for energy: before, during, and after exercise [Internet]. [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Available from: https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/food-for-exercise.
  24. NHS.uk [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Oct 7]. Venous leg ulcer. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leg-ulcer/.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Omoteniola Olufon

MPharm, IP, University of Hertfordshire, England

Teni Olufon is a seasoned clinical pharmacist and independent prescriber with several years of clinical and management roles across diverse healthcare settings. With years of experience in patient and public health advocacy, she has since carved a niche for herself in the realm of contributing to writing evidence-based informations and policies to support patient care.

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