Diet

Gastritis Diet: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Stomach lining plays a significant role in maintaining your digestive health. It is responsible for generating acid and enzymes in your stomach that are required to break down the food so that your body can extract the nutrients it needs. The lining also secretes mucus to protect itself from acid damage. However, sometimes the lining gets inflamed and starts secreting less acid, enzymes, and mucus. This type of inflammation is known as gastritis, and it is often associated with pain and discomfort in the stomach.

Gastritis is defined as a condition in which the protective lining of the stomach gets inflamed. It is usually classified into two types – (i) acute gastritis and (ii) chronic gastritis. Acute gastritis involves sudden, severe inflammation of the lining. Whereas, Chronic gastritis is linked with long-term inflammation that may last for years; if left untreated, it may cause abdominal bleeding or may increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.

There’s one more classification of gastritis, known as Erosive Gastritis. It is a less common form of the condition that does not cause much inflammation, however, may lead to bleeding and ulcers in the lining of the stomach.

Table of contents

What are the Symptoms of Gastritis?
What is Gastritis Diet and Who Should Follow it?
What Food Items Should Be Included in a Gastritis Diet?
What Food Items Should Be Avoided in a Gastritis Diet?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the Symptoms of Gastritis?

Mentioned below are the most common symptoms of gastritis:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hiccups
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • A feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen

In the case of erosive gastritis, you might experience a few additional symptoms, such as

  • Black or tarry stool
  • Vomiting blood or black or tarry substance

What is Gastritis Diet and Who Should Follow it?

There’s no denying the fact that diet plays a vital role in maintaining your digestive system and overall health. In case you’re suffering from gastritis or experiencing indigestion, abdominal pain, nausea, and feeling of fullness, you should follow a gastritis diet. The prime aim of a gastritis diet is to control Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and ease gastritis symptoms. A gastritis diet should include the following food items:

1. High-fibre foods, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables

The dietary fibre that is left undigested produce short-chain fatty acids that have a beneficial effect on gut bacteria

2. Food that is high in lean protein, such as poultry meat, chicken and fatty fish

Proteins are known to repair the damaged stomach lining.

3. Food enriched with healthy fats, such as nuts and seeds 

Nuts and seeds

Food items that are rich in omega-3 (polyunsaturated) fatty acids help reduce stomach inflammation 

4. Enriched with probiotics

Research shows that probiotics or good bacteria promote a healthy gut. It helps eradicate H.pylori and reduce stomach inflammation.

5. Flavonoids rich food such as spices, herbs, and condiments 

Spices, herbs and condiments

Food items that are rich in flavonoid exhibit antibacterial properties that can eradicate H.pylori.

Two things to keep in mind while following a gastritis diet are:

Do not eat right before bedtime: Keep a gap of 2-3 hours between your meal and bedtime.

Eat small, frequent meals:If you’re suffering from gastritis, it’s easy for your stomach to tolerate small and frequent meals rather than large meals.

What Food Items Should be Included in a Gastritis Diet?

Following are a few food items that work best in managing the symptoms of gastritis:

#1 Green Tea with Manuka Honey

Studies show that drinking green or black tea at least once a week can significantly reduce the prevalence of H. pylori, a type of bacteria that commonly causes stomach ulcers and gastritis. Manuka honey contains antibacterial properties that help fight infection. Adding it in green tea may prove to be beneficial.

#2 Apples

Apples

Apples, being rich in flavonoids, exhibit antioxidant effects in the body. They are also enriched with fibre, which is beneficial for people with gastritis.

Other flavonoid-containing food items include onions, garlic and celery.

#3 Cranberries

cranberries

Just like apples, cranberries are also rich in flavonoids and fibre and thus helps improve the symptoms of gastritis.

#4 Yogurt

Yoghurt contains good bacteria such as Streptococcus thermophilus and L. bulgaricus. These bacteria are known to promote a healthy gut by reducing the prevalence of H. pylori and infection-causing bacteria in the stomach.

Some other food items that should be included in a gastritis diet are:

  • Low-fat food
  • Low sugar food
  • Low acid-food
  • Caffeine-free drinks
  • Non-carbonated drinks

What Food Items Should be Avoided in a Gastritis Diet?

Following are a few food items that are considered worst for managing the symptoms of gastritis:

#1 Coffee

coffee

While coffee might help you get moving in the morning, it also compels the stomach to secrete gastric acid in large amounts, which may increase the existing irritation. In case you are suffering from mild gastritis, you may be able to tolerate a cup of coffee in a day but, more than that can trigger discomfort. Also, please note that decaf coffee may not be a great substitute, either. 

#2 Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer and mixed drinks are known to irritate the lining of the stomach and worsen the symptoms of gastritis. In fact, a study in 2002 revealed physical symptoms of gastritis in people who consumed alcohol chronically over five years or more.

#3 Soda

soda

Like coffee and alcohol, soda is also known to worsen the symptoms of gastritis. Try replacing soda with unsweetened lemonade that may soothe your stomach.

#4 Milk

Research shows that ingesting milk multiplies the production of stomach acid, which may worsen gastritis symptoms. Any relief experienced after drinking a glass of milk is likely to be temporary, and within a couple of hours, symptoms may worsen.

#5 Fried Foods

Fried food

No matter how tempting it is to reach for chips or fries, they may irritate your already inflamed stomach. Also, since they are difficult to digest, the symptoms of gastritis may worsen.

There’s no specific diet that can treat gastritis, however, consuming certain foods and avoiding others may help improve the symptoms or keep them from getting worse. To sum up, you need to follow a diet that is not high in fat and ensures your stomach is not additionally burdened with food that is relatively more difficult to digest.

Disclaimer: The above-mentioned food may only help to manage your gastritis or lessen the symptoms. Therefore, it is important to get the right treatment for an underlying cause of gastritis.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can I eat eggs if I am suffering from gastritis?

A. Yes, you can eat eggs if suffering from gastritis. Food items such as eggs, lean meats, poultry (chicken and turkey), fish, beans, and nuts are known to be rich in protein. Thus, these food items help repair the damaged stomach.

Q. How do I heal gastritis?

A. Following are a few home remedies to treat gastritis:

  • Follow an anti-inflammatory diet
  • Include garlic in your diet
  • Try probiotics
  • Include green tea in your diet with manuka honey
  • Eat lighter meals
  • Avoid longer gaps between two meals
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking 
  • Limit the intake of milk
  • Avoid painkillers
  • Reduce stress
Q. Is milk bad for gastritis?

A. Yes, in case you are experiencing any symptoms of gastritis milk should be avoided.
Milk might provide temporary relief, but in the long run, it can increase the production of stomach acid, thereby worsening the symptoms.

Q. Is diet enough to cure gastritis?

A. No, diet is not enough to treat chronic gastritis. Following a healthy diet may relieve the symptoms but for proper treatment, a doctor should be consulted to alleviate the underlying cause.

Q. Does gastritis go away on its own?

A. Acute gastritis often clears up by itself. However, if the symptoms last for more than a week you should consult a doctor. Also, it becomes imperative to see a doctor immediately if the symptoms include vomiting blood or black and tarry substance.

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