Do you find yourself complaining about frequent stomach upsets? Is your appetite dipping slowly? Do you feel frequent pain and irritation in your stomach? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you may have gastritis.
Gastritis is the inflammation of your stomach lining and can be divided into two types– acute gastritis and chronic gastritis. Generally, the following are the symptoms of gastritis:1
- Burning stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling full after eating
If the stomach lining is damaged severely, the symptoms may also include pain, bleeding, or a stomach ulcer.
Food plays a role in preventing the symptoms of gastritis as well as aggravating it. Also, the lifestyle you follow, to an extent, affects the symptoms. Let’s find out what foods to consume and what to avoid when you have gastritis. You can bring down the irritation or uneasiness that you feel in your stomach significantly by eating the right food and leading an appropriate lifestyle.
Foods To Eat When You Have Gastritis
Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These have anti-inflammatory properties that are good for those suffering from gastritis. You will have to consume a considerable amount of fish for effective results, which means you’ll have to include them in your regular diet.
It is also said that fish oil – omega-3 fatty acid supplement – may also help reduce the stomach inflammation. However, it is advised to consult a doctor first if you plan to take the supplement, especially those who take aspirin or other anticoagulants.2
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains are rich in fiber. It is recommended to have a fiber-rich food to reduce inflammation.3 Fiber also helps with digestion.
Fiber-rich foods also reduce ulcers. There is a study that showed how the soluble component of fiber significantly decreased the risk of duodenal ulcer.4
Whole grains include oats, quinoa, wild rice, buckwheat, and amaranth.
Green leafy vegetables are rich sources of various nutrients including dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium. These are all good for treating gastritis.
Other green leafy vegetables include broccoli, kale, and collard greens. There is a study that shows how eating broccoli sprouts can reduce gastritis caused due to the bacteria Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori.5
Apples are rich in flavonoids and these inhibit the growth of H. Pylori – a bacterium that causes infection leading to gastritis. They have anti-inflammatory properties and will help reduce the symptoms of gastritis. It also promotes good digestion. Apples are also rich in fiber, which helps in reducing inflammation.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. For this reason, it can be used to treat gastritis. It can reduce inflammation and reduce symptoms of gastritis like stomach pain, gas, indigestion, nausea, and bloating.6
You can add chopped ginger to a cup of boiling water and continue to boil the water for 10 minutes. Strain the water and add honey to the water. This will relieve stomach irritations caused due to gastritis.
Yogurt is a good addition to your diet, especially when suffering from gastritis. Yogurt has probiotics that help protect the lining of the stomach from H. pylori bacteria – bacteria that causes gastritis. Yogurt also boosts the immune system to help fight infections more effectively.
Peppermint is a herb known to treat gastritis due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antispasmodic properties. Its soothing properties can reduce inflammation of the stomach lining. It can also reduce symptoms of gastritis like nausea, indigestion, and heartburn.7 Peppermint is also known to inhibit the growth of H. pylori.
Do not overeat peppermint as it may have adverse effects when consumed in large amounts.
Garlic has anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. Animal studies have proved that garlic extract may prevent H. pylori-induced gastritis.8 Garlic is mainly effective for acute gastritis.9
Foods To Avoid When You Have Gastritis
Following are the foods you need to avoid when you have gastritis.
- White Bread – It is important to avoid refined foods like white bread and pasta. These may cause irritation in the stomach and can aggravate the symptoms of gastritis, especially inflammation.10
- Coffee – Avoid acidic beverages that can cause damage to the stomach lining. This also includes carbonated drinks, sodas, citrus juices like orange juice.
- Spicy Food – Avoid spicy foods like cayenne, chili, hot peppers, red/black peppers, and hot sauce. These will increase the burning sensation in the stomach.
- Alcohol – Alcohol facilitates the development of superficial gastritis and chronic atrophic gastritis. Nondistilled and fermented alcoholic beverages increase gastrin levels and acid secretion.11
- Cookies – These contain trans fatty acids which are not good for the stomach. They are usually found in commercially-baked foods like cakes, donuts, french fries, and processed foods.12
Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Symptoms Of Gastritis
You can make the following changed to your lifestyle to combat the symptoms of gastritis.13
- Avoid Tobacco And Alcohol – Alcohol is one of the leading causes of gastritis. It erodes the stomach lining. Therefore, it is advised to slowly avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. Smoking cigarettes is also another cause of irritation in your stomach. There is a study that shows that smoking promotes atrophic gastritis in Helicobacter pylori-positive subjects.14
- Eat Smaller Meals – If you experience stomach pain or digestion problems, you can ease them by having several small meals instead of three large meals. Try to eat meals every two to three hours in a day. Do not eat within an hour of bedtime.
- Eat Healthy Proteins – Lean meats, fish, and tofu are good sources of protein that will you maintain digestive health. Lean meats include chicken (without skin), beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin, and others.
- Manage Your Stress Level – Stress has been shown to increase inflammation and stomach acid, both of which harm the stomach and may worsen the symptoms of gastritis. It is important to manage and reduce stress levels to lower stomach irritations.
- Get Enough Sleep – It is important to get enough sleep. This is important because it helps with digestion and reduces stress levels. Ideally, adults should have at least seven to eight hours of sleep. Children and teenagers should sleep at least for ten hours.
If you experience stomach irritations and uneasiness in spite of following these simple dietary and lifestyle changes, make sure you consult a doctor. Also, before making any changes to your diet, consult a doctor and then add or eliminate the food.
|↑1||Gastritis. National Health Services (NHS) Choices.|
|↑2, ↑3, ↑10, ↑12||Gastritis. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑4||Aldoori, Walid H., Edward L. Giovannucci, Meir J. Stampfer, Eric B. Rimm, Alvin L. Wing, and Walter C. Willett. “Prospective study of diet and the risk of duodenal ulcer in men.” American journal of epidemiology 145, no. 1 (1997): 42-50.|
|↑5||Yanaka, Akinori, Jed W. Fahey, Atsushi Fukumoto, Mari Nakayama, Souta Inoue, Songhua Zhang, Masafumi Tauchi, Hideo Suzuki, Ichinosuke Hyodo, and Masayuki Yamamoto. “Dietary sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts reduce colonization and attenuate gastritis in Helicobacter pylori–infected mice and humans.” Cancer Prevention Research 2, no. 4 (2009): 353-360.|
|↑6, ↑7||Malik, Sumaira, and Hina Akhtar. “A Review On Use Of Herbal Medicines In Acute Gastritis.”|
|↑8||Iimuro, Masaki, Hideyuki Shibata, Toshihiko Kawamori, Takayuki Matsumoto, Tetsuo Arakawa, Takashi Sugimura, and Keiji Wakabayashi. “Suppressive effects of garlic extract on Helicobacter pylori-induced gastritis in Mongolian gerbils.” Cancer letters 187, no. 1 (2002): 61-68.|
|↑9||De Vries, Jan. Stomach and Bowel Disorders. Random House, 2011.|
|↑11||Bujanda, Luis. “The effects of alcohol consumption upon the gastrointestinal tract.” The American journal of gastroenterology 95, no. 12 (2000): 3374-3382.|
|↑13||Gomez, Kathy. A Nutritional Approach to Healing Acid Reflux & Gastritis: 75+Recipes Specially Designed to Prevent & Control Your Symptoms With Smart Dietary Choices. Anita D.Parekh, 2017.|
|↑14||Nakamura, Masaru, Ken Haruma, Tomoari Kamada, Mitsuhiro Mihara, Masaharu Yoshihara, Masaaki Sumioka, Toshiyuki Fukuhara, and Kazuaki Chayama. “Cigarette smoking promotes atrophic gastritis in Helicobacter pylori-positive subjects.” Digestive diseases and sciences 47, no. 3 (2002): 675-681.|