The term gastritis refers to any condition that involves inflammation of the stomach lining. Eating certain foods, and avoiding others, can help people manage their symptoms of gastritis.
Gastritis often causes a burning stomach pain, which may be worse after eating fatty or spicy foods. Other symptoms, such as nausea, bloating, and belching, are also common.
When your gut is seriously out of whack, there’s nothing more miserable. From stomach aches to emergency trips to the bathroom, your digestive system is quick to let you know when something is off. And if you’re struggling with gastritis, it may impact more than just your gut. However, following a gut-friendly diet called the gastritis diet can often help ease your gastritis symptoms. Here’s everything you need to know about the gastritis diet.
One of the first changes you can make is following a gastritis diet, which can help you manage your symptoms and may even help prevent gastritis. The basic tenet of the gastritis diet is to avoid acidic, spicy foods in favor of low-acid, low sugar foods.
Gastritis can be acute or chronic. Acute gastritis comes on suddenly and severely, while chronic gastritis lasts for a longer duration.
Different types of gastritis are caused by different factors. Symptoms include indigestion, abdominal pain, nausea, and feeling full.
Rather than being a diet focused on weight loss, the gastritis diet, aims to help those with the medical condition subside their symptoms and live a more comfortable life. Much like the diverticulitis diet, there are certain things that you should incorporate more into your diet and others that will irritate your stomach lining.
he good news is gastritis often can be treated and even reversed through healthy lifestyle changes, beginning with your diet. Let’s take a look at how your diet influences gastritis along with how the gastritis diet treatment plan can help treat this uncomfortable, potentially dangerous condition.
For most people, gastritis is minor and will go away quickly after treatment. However, some forms of gastritis can produce ulcers or increase the risk of cancer.
What To Eat On A Gastritis Diet
Some foods may help manage your gastritis and lessen the symptoms.
Diet does not generally cause chronic gastritis, but eating some foods can make the symptoms worse. These may include fried, spicy, and highly acidic foods.
Some people find that the following foods and drinks help ease symptoms of gastritis:
- high-fiber foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans
- low-fat foods, such as fish, lean meats, and vegetables
- foods with low acidity, including vegetables and beans
- non-carbonated drinks
- caffeine-free drinks
Some studiesTrusted Source say that probiotics could help with stomach issues caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. These bacteria cause an infection in the digestive system which can lead to gastritis or stomach ulcers.
H. pylori is the most common cause of gastritis, accounting for 90 percentTrusted Source of cases.
Healthful probiotic foods could, therefore, help with gastritis. These include kombucha, yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can also help ease symptoms.
Some types of gastritis can make it more difficult for the body to absorb iron or vitamin B-12, leading to deficiencies. Talk to your doctor about taking supplements to prevent deficiencies.
Fruits and vegetables: Produce that is very acidic, especially citrus fruit and tomatoes, are best avoided if you have gastritis. Vegetables used to add spice or a lot of flavors, such as onions, can also be hard to tolerate if you have stomach irritation.
Instead, choose low-acid or more neutral (alkaline) fruits and veggies—preferably those that are good sources of fiber—such as apples, berries, pumpkin, and carrots.
Grains: For the most part you’ll want to choose whole grain bread, brown rice, pasta, and other grains. However, if you are having gastritis symptoms that are making it harder for you to eat, plain white rice or white potato can be easier to digest.
Oats, barley, and quinoa are other nutritious options. If you do not eat wheat, avoid pasta alternatives or bread made from corn, which is not approved for a gastritis diet.
Dairy: You’ll want to avoid full-fat dairy products, but low-fat yogurt that’s also low in sugar and packed with probiotics can be a healthy addition to a gastritis diet. Some hard cheeses that are low in salt may be tolerated in small portions. You’ll want to avoid any sauces, fillings, or puddings made with rich, heavy cream.
Protein: Eggs, egg whites, and egg substitutes can be an excellent source of protein. However, you will want to prepare them soft-boiled, poached, or scrambled rather than fried. Avoid pairing them with salty, processed, breakfast meat like sausage or ham, refrain from adding butter or milk, and avoid seasoning (even black pepper).
Red meat is not approved, but you may choose from lean cuts of turkey or chicken and some seafood (as long as it isn’t fried).
Nuts and nut butter, as well as beans and legumes, can be high in fat but they are versatile sources of protein to include in your diet. Start with smaller portions (without added sugar) and see what you are able to tolerate.
Desserts: Any food that is high in fat and sugar should be avoided on the gastritis diet. Baked goods, pastries, and ice cream or puddings tend to be rich and can irritate an inflamed stomach (especially if they are made with dairy). Chocolate is also not approved.
Beverages: Some people with mild gastritis can tolerate weak tea or coffee with a splash of low-fat milk or non-dairy creamer. Honey can also be added to tea. In general, though, these beverages are very acidic and not approved for a gastritis diet.
Cold drinks with a lot of sugar, such as soda and energy drinks, are also not approved. Acidic juices (such as orange juice or other citrus fruit, as well as tomato juice) are not approved. Some fruit juice may be OK, but choose varieties that are low in sugar.
Avoid alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer, and cocktails. If you drink alcohol, your doctor will likely advise you to stop if you have gastritis.
Foods to Avoid that Worsen Gastritis
- Citrus fruits and juices: Citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit, are high in natural acids that can normally be beneficial — however, for people with ulcers or gastritis they’re capable of causing pain. Research suggests that citrus fruits trigger the release of pain-causing chemical neurotransmitters in people with inflammation of the stomach.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are similar to citrus fruits in that they’re acidic and can irritate a sensitive stomach. A small amount might be OK for some people, but others feel best avoiding tomato products all together.
- Milk and other dairy products: For years, doctors used to tell gastritis and ulcer patients to drink milk in order to coat the stomach and help block the effects of acids — however, this advice is no longer believed to be helpful. Experts now believe that milk’s calcium and amino acids (proteins) actually stimulate the release of more acid production and can make gastritis symptoms worse. Test your personal reaction to dairy products, including yogurt, kefir, raw cheese and raw milk. If they don’t cause an increase in symptoms, then you can choose to keep consuming these foods, since otherwise they have many benefits to offer. For example, fermented probiotic yogurt has been shown to actually help soothe stomach irritation and reduce GI troubles since it’s a great source of probiotics. (5)
- Alcohol: Alcohol in excess can erode the stomach lining and make inflammation worse. Some people don’t notice an increase in gastritis symptoms when they drink moderately (about one drink per day or less), but others can’t consume alcohol at all without triggering symptoms. Alcohol doesn’t necessarily have to be eliminated all together in most cases; in fact, studies show moderate consumption might even offer protection against gastritis. (6)
- Coffee: Coffee won’t cause stomach troubles or ulcers in most cases, but it usually makes gastritis symptoms worse. In some instances, even when coffee is decaffeinated, it can still trigger pain. Coffee is acidic by nature and might increase feelings of burning — plus caffeine can worsen GI trouble in general for some people. However, several studies show that regular green tea consumption is associated with a 40 percent lower risk for gastritis because it’s anti-inflammatory and much lower in caffeine, helping you avoid caffeine overdose while helping heal the gut.
- Spicy foods: Spicy or hot foods won’t cause gastritis or ulcers, but they can worsen symptoms. These include hot peppers, chili, cayenne, red/black pepper, curry and hot sauce, all of which can cause exacerbation of gastritis symptoms. (7)
- Common allergens and inflammatory foods: Avoid refined and processed foods, such as white breads, pastas, products with added sugar, factory-farm meat, trans fats, refined vegetable oils, fried foods and pasteurized dairy products. These can all trigger food allergies, raise inflammation in the gut, slow healing and make you more prone to infection.
Home Remedies for Gastritis
- Follow an anti-inflammatory diet
- Take a garlic extract supplement
- Try probiotics
- Drink green tea with manuka honey
- Use essential oils
- Eat lighter meals
- Avoid smoking and overuse of painkillers
- Reduce stress