Gastritis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the stomach linings. Although it can be caused by numerous factors, excessive consumption of alcohol and prolonged use of various types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are considered to be two of the major causes behind gastritis. In some cases, gastritis may develop even after a major surgery, burns, traumatic injury or severe infections. The condition may also develop after an individual had gone through a weight loss surgery, as this may result in reconstruction or banding of digestive tract. Chronic gastritis can occur from infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, stress, chronic bile reflux, as well as certain other autoimmune disorders. Common symptoms of gastritis include upsetting abdominal pain as well as indigestion, nausea, vomiting, gas, abdominal bloating and pernicious anemia. Diagnosis of gastritis is done by a gastroscopy test, blood test, a complete blood count or CBC test and a stool test. Treatment involves consumption of antacids and other medications, like antibiotics proton pump inhibitors and following a strict diet.
A diet for gastritis involves eating food items that are not hot or spicy, are mildly flavored and easily digested. Although there is no such diet that can fit the requirements of all gastritis patients, certain recommendations can be made that will help an individual with this condition to prevent the symptoms from aggravating. Patients of gastritis, ulcers, stomach pain, gas, acidity and nausea can follow these dietary recommendations to have a better health condition.
Diet Menu for Gastritis Sufferers
The following dietary tips can help in keeping the symptoms of gastritis in check.
Food items to eat
- Foods that contain flavonoids, such as celery, apples, cranberries, cranberry juice, garlic, onions and tea can prevent the growth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
- Foods that are rich in antioxidants should be consumed by gastritis patients. These include fruits such as cherries, tomatoes and blueberries as well as vegetables such as bell peppers and squash.
- Food items those are high in calcium and vitamin B, such as beans, almonds, sea vegetables, and dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are highly recommended for gastritis patients. Whole grains may also be consumed if a patient is not allergic to them.
- Food items such as cold water fish, lean meats, tofu, soy and beans can be consumed for protein.
- Coconut water is a great remedy for gastritis patients as it is not only light for the stomach but also provides the patient with the necessary vitamins and minerals.
- Healthy oils like olive oil can be consumed.
- Chicken, tender meat, turkey, seafood, cottage cheese, peanut butter, rice gruel, potatoes, and scrambled or soft boiled eggs are some of the foods that are recommended for gastritis patients as they can be easily digested and provide the patient with the necessary nutrients.
- High fiber foods like cooked dried beans, whole grains and vegetables and fruits having peels go well with most patients of gastritis. However an individual should stop consuming these food items if he or she is allergic to them or finds them upsetting to his or her stomach.
- The herbs that are recommended for a patient of gastritis include cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) and Peppermint (Mentha piperita).
- The patient should also consume 6 to 8 glasses of filtered water on a daily basis.
Food items to avoid
- The amount of trans fatty acids should be reduced or eliminated from one’s diet if he or she is a patient of gastritis. Trans fatty acids are most commonly found in several commercially baked products such as cakes, cookies, crackers, onion rings, French fries, donuts, margarine and processed foods.
- Beverages such as coffee (both regular and decaf), alcohol, carbonated drinks and colas should be avoided as this may increase the production of acids or cause irritation of the stomach lining. Apart from coffee, consumption of tea and chocolates should also be avoided as far as possible as they can cause irritation and pain.
- Food items such as broccoli and cabbage should be avoided as they may upset the stomach.
- One should also avoid refined foods like pastas, white breads and sugar.
- Consumption of milk and other dairy products should be kept as minimum as possible. Instead, one should opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products, as this will help to lower stomach acid production.
- Spicy food items such as chilies, hot peppers, chili powder, pickles, red and black pepper should be avoided as they can easily cause irritation of the stomach lining.
- Food items like citrus juices, tomato juices, tomatoes and peppermint should be avoided if they cause pain in the esophagus or heartburn.
- Heavily seasoned foods should be avoided along with seasoning agents such as garlic, onions, cloves and cinnamon.
Health supplements for gastritis patients
Apart from the food items, certain dietary supplements may also help in reducing the symptoms of gastritis. Some of these supplements are mentioned below:
- Daily dosage of the vitamins A, B, C and E as well as trace minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium and selenium should be taken.
- Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids which, if taken in doses of 1 tablespoon 2 to 3 times a day or 1 or 2 capsules daily, helps in reducing inflammations. However, a medical practitioner should be consulted before consuming fish oil as it may increase the chances of bleeding. Individuals taking aspirin or any other anticoagulants should avoid fish oil or ask a doctor before consumption.
- Probiotic supplements which include Lactobacillus acidophilus can reduce the chances of infections caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
Apart from following the above mentioned dietary recommendations, the patient should also keep a notice of the foods that might cause stomach problems or irritation. The patient should avoid a particular food item in case it causes him or her problems, even though that food item is recommended for gastritis patients. The patient should control long-term habits such as smoking and stay away from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Pregnant women should consult a doctor before taking in any medications or herbs. Whether one is a patient of chronic gastritis, antral gastritis or acute gastritis, fruits like grapes, pineapples, peaches, melons, grapefruits, apples and oranges are great for their stomach. Care should also be taken so as not to combine too many different varieties of edibles in the same meal. The patient should not also consume their meals in a rush; instead should eat his or her meal in a relaxing mood.