Is pap (akamu) good for ulcer patient?

What tastes better than pap with hot beans or bread, and Akara balls on a cold, rainy morning? Nothing comes close to the delicious taste and warmth you get after taking such food combinations. But, if you have a health condition like a stomach ulcer, you can't help but worry about your symptoms will worsen after eating such foods.

a plate of pap and akara balls, popular Nigerian meals

Key takeaways:

  • Pap (akamu) is good for ulcer patients because it is easier to digest, may soothe ulcer symptoms, and promote stomach ulcer wound healing. However, it's not a primary cure for ulcers.
  • Pap is a common Nigerian food processed from corn, millet, or sorghum, which are carbohydrates. It is often paired with foods like beans, which contain substantial amounts of fiber, carbohydrates, and protein.
  • There's not enough evidence to show pap directly treats ulcers; however, combining it with healthy additives like honey and soybeans can help relieve ulcer symptoms and promote healing. Regular milk may not be ideal for people with ulcer. Instead, lactose-free milk and soy milk are the best types of milk to take with your pap if you have stomach ulcer.
  • While akamu is considered good for health, excess consumption of akamu can cause side effects such as a spike in blood sugar level and slow down of digestion

If you have visited a Nigerian home before, chances are that they have introduced you to pap, especially for breakfast. This is because pap is mostly used for breakfast in Nigeria and some parts of Africa.

Because pap is a common Nigerian food, people with conditions like stomach ulcers are concerned about how the food can affect their health.

Pap is an affordable and easy-to-prepare meal. It is also digested quickly, so doctors recommend it for some patients who require energy or cannot digest certain foods quickly. Pap is also good for ulcer patients. It is generally safe for everyone-both young and old.

If you have a stomach ulcer, it is understandable if you are worried about what to eat and what not to eat, as certain foods can worsen ulcer symptoms.

In this article, we will discuss pap and its effectiveness in relieving ulcer symptoms. Reading further, you will find out why pap is considered good for ulcer patients, if it can help treat ulcer patients, as well as other foods that can help relieve ulcer symptoms.

What is pap?

Pap, commonly known as Akamu, Koko, and Eko, is a fermented cereal meal made from maize, sorghum, or millet. It is processed locally in most places in Nigeria.

Processing pap involves fermenting maize, sorghum, or millet for 2-3 days, followed by wetting and sieving. It is then left to sediment before the water is filtered out.

Akamu is popularly used as breakfast and can be combined with many things like plantains, bread, beans, puff puff, Akara, and fried yam.

Pap has many nutritional contents, like carbohydrates, magnesium, potassium, selenium, chromium, folic acid, vitamins A, B5, B3, B1, riboflavin, and vitamin C. Pap also contains some amino acids like leucine, lysine, valine, isoleucine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine.

Can pap cure stomach ulcers?

Some foods can help treat stomach ulcers. However, there is no research stating that pap can cure stomach ulcers. Pap is good for ulcer patients as it does not worsen their symptoms. When mixed with honey, pap can help heal stomach ulcers.

Millet food derivatives, such as pap, can be beneficial in treating stomach ulcers. Polyphenols, which are found in millet, have been shown to help heal stomach ulcers. Polyphenols can improve cytoprotection and angiogenesis, increase tissue growth factors and prostaglandins, and suppress oxidative stress that can damage the inner walls of the stomach.

Pap also has numerous health benefits, making it a great food choice for most people, including those with stomach ulcers. Some of the health benefits of consuming pap include:

  • Pap helps to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol that causes the deposition of fatty plaques on arteries) in the body.
  • Pap is a good source of potassium, and it is devoid of sodium. This makes it beneficial for maintaining normal blood pressure.
  • Pap contains carbohydrates, so it can be a good source of energy.

How to treat stomach ulcers with pap

No research says pap can directly treat ulcers. However, pap is a healthy food to take, and when combined with food additives like honey and soybeans, it can help relieve or treat ulcers.

1. Add honey to your pap

One effective way of treating stomach ulcers with pap is by adding honey to your pap. Honey contains essential nutrients like proteins, amino acids, organic acids, minerals, phenolic acids, and flavonoids, which benefit health.

These flavonoids in honey can help prevent gastric acid secretion and increase gastric mucus and bicarbonate secretion. Flavonoids also have antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.This means they can prevent inflammation and can help fight bacteria. These properties of flavonoids make them suitable for treating stomach ulcers.

If you have a stomach ulcer and love taking pap, you should consider adding a type of honey called Manuka honey to your pap. Manuka honey is obtained from bees that pollinate the native tea tree, Leptospermum scoparium bush. Studies have shown that Manuka honey has anti-ulcer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects when used on rat models.

Another way pap can be used to treat stomach ulcers is by combining pap with boiled fish. Fish oil can be used to treat stomach ulcers because it reduces oxidative stress and unpleasant stomach mucosal factors.

2. Avoid milk that contains lactose

The best milk for people with ulcers is lactose-free milk or soy milk. When added to pap, soy milk or lactose-free milk may help treat or reduce stomach ulcer symptoms. Soy milk has a high nutritional profile with an abundance of flavonoids which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Lactose-free milk is the milk of choice for people with stomach ulcers because this type of milk that contains lactase, an enzyme that helps break down lactose (a sugar present in milk). Regular milk does not contain lactase enzyme, and people with stomach ulcers who are lactose-intolerant may experience worse symptoms and increased irritation of their ulcer.

Also, while regular milk only offers temporary relief from ulcer pain, it can end up worsening stomach ulcers as it causes the stomach to produce more gastric acid and digestive juices. So, it is best for people with stomach ulcers to avoid adding milk to their pap, as it can worsen the condition.

Avoid serving your pap with excessively spicy akara balls or fried fish. This is because spicy and fried foods may aggravate stomach ulcer symptoms.

Can people with ulcers take raw pap?

There is no research on whether raw pap is good for your health or whether it can help treat stomach ulcers. And for that, there is no information regarding its safety. Taking uncooked pap may have side effects. To be on the safe side, you should ask your doctor to help you with your meal choices.

Some people take raw pap to treat conditions like diarrhea, while others take it after pregnancy to reduce belly fat. But, there is little research on the effectiveness of raw pap in treating diarrhea or inducing weight loss, either.

Side effects akamu

Akamu is considered healthy, especially when consumed with other nutritious foods like beans, moi-moi, and okpa. However, when consumed excessively, for an extended period, and alone, akamu can cause side effects such as:

  • A spike in blood glucose (when it is consumed regularly with an excess amount of sugar)
  • Slow digestion due to high fiber content
  • Risk of developing cancer, skin lesions, and cardiovascular diseases due to the presence of arsenic in some corns

Foods that can help treat ulcer

People with stomach ulcers often find it hard to select foods that are good for them because some foods make ulcer symptoms worse for some people. But, you can try different food options until you find the ones that soothe your stomach or do not worsen your symptoms.

Avoid foods that are highly acidic, like citrus, as they can worsen ulcer symptoms. Also, alcohol and milk will cause you more harm than good.

Foods that are good for ulcer patients and can help treat stomach ulcers include:


Fish is highly nutritious and good for everyone, including those with ulcers. If you have a stomach ulcer, you should eat your fish boiled and not fried, because fried fish can irritate the lining of your stomach.

Fish oil can help inhibit oxidative stress. It can also reduce gastric ulceration and help maintain the integrity of the gastric mucosa, making it suitable for treating stomach ulcers.


Okra is also called okro. Because okra is alkaline, it can help neutralize the acid in your stomach. Consuming okra regularly can help relieve stomach ulcer pain. Okro can be prepared as a soup too, and it is one of the best soups for people with stomach ulcer. However, you should avoid making your okro soup spicy or adding spicy stew to it, as this can worsen the pain.

Okro is affordable and can be commonly found in various places in Nigeria. Okra is also good for people with health conditions like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes because of its phytochemical properties.


Vegetables are great sources of vitamins and fiber. They also contain antioxidants, which makes them useful in protecting the body against oxidative stress.

Vegetables are good for people with stomach ulcers, even when consumed with other healthy meals.

Garden Egg

Ulcer patients can eat garden eggs because they contain some nutrients like minerals, fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamins. This nutritional content makes them highly beneficial for healthy living.

People with stomach ulcers can also eat garden eggs because they facilitate fast digestion of food, prevent constipation, and control bowel movements.

Garden eggs have some protective properties against ulcers, so they can benefit you if you have a stomach ulcer.

Unripe plantain

Unripe plantains are good for stomach ulcer patients and can help treat stomach ulcers as they contain leucocyanidin, a natural flavonoid that aids in protecting the gastric mucosa. Unripe plantains contain some nutritional content, like vitamins, calcium, and potassium.


Cabbage can be beneficial for people with stomach ulcers because of its properties. Cabbage has a high vitamin C content, which makes it a good source of antioxidants. Due to its antioxidant properties, it can be beneficial in treating infections caused by H. pylori bacteria.

Cabbage is also considered beneficial for stomach ulcers because of its anti-inflammatory property.

Other home remedies for stomach ulcer

Aside from food, other natural ingredients and home remedies can help treat stomach ulcers. These include:

  • Adding chili pepper to your food
  • Ingesting aloe vera gel
  • Consuming garlic
  • Adding turmeric to your food
  • Taking probiotics that can be found in foods like yogurt and other fermented foods
  • Taking coconut oil and oil from scent leave (also called nchu anwu or ahinji in some parts of Nigeria)

Wrap up

Pap is a popular meal in Nigeria that is good for everyone, even those with stomach ulcers. It can be made from corn, millet, or sorghum. Pap may help soothe stomach ulcers, depending on the additives or the food you are taking it with.

While pap is generally safe for consumption, people allergic to corn, millet, or sorghum should avoid taking it. Also, you should avoid taking pap with excessive sugar, as refined sugar is unhealthy for everyone, especially people with diabetes. You can replace sugar with honey instead.

When honey is added to pap, it makes it healthier and can help calm the stomach and ease ulcer pain.

If you have a stomach ulcer and are concerned about what to eat, read our article on healthy Nigerian foods for ulcer patients to find some foods that may be ideal for you.