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Gastritis is a digestive condition that involves inflammation of the stomach lining. Symptoms include indigestion, burning stomach pain, nausea, and frequent burping. For some people, dietary changes can help.
There are different types and causes of gastritis. A common cause is infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. Other causes include the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a high consumption of alcohol, and some inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease.
Some foods may increase the risk of H. pylori infection, and certain dietary habits can trigger stomach lining erosion or otherwise worsen gastritis symptoms.
A person with gastritis may find it difficult to eat, resulting in a loss of appetite and unwanted weight loss.
In this article, find out how certain dietary and lifestyle changes may help reduce gastritis symptoms.
Learn more about gastritis here.
No specific diet can treat gastritis, but consuming certain foods may help improve symptoms or keep them from getting worse.
Dietary changes may, for example, help protect the stomach lining and manage inflammation.
Foods to help prevent gastritis
Green tea and fresh fruits and vegetables may help protect the body from gastritis. These are good sources of antioxidants, which can help ward off cell damage and disease by reducing levels of unstable compounds called free radicals in the body.
Foods that may help inhibit the growth of H. pylori and reduce gastritis and ulcer formation include:
- cauliflower, swede, cabbage, radishes, and other Brassica vegetables
- berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries
- turmeric, a mild spice that may have anti-inflammatory properties
Foods to help prevent symptoms
Gastritis involves inflammation of the stomach lining. For this reason, an anti-inflammatory diet may help some people.
There is no single best anti-inflammatory diet. To combat inflammation, eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods, which are rich in antioxidants. It is also important to avoid processed foods and any containing unhealthful fats and added salt or sugar.
Learn more about an anti-inflammatory diet here.
Foods to help treat gastritis
Two foods that may help treat gastritis are broccoli and yogurt.
Broccoli contains a chemical called sulforaphane, which has antibacterial properties. It also contains antioxidants, which can help protect against cancer. For this reason, eating broccoli sprouts may help relieve or prevent gastritis and decrease the risk of stomach cancer.
Authors of an older study, published in 2009, found that participants with H. pylori infection who ate 70 grams — more than half a cup — of broccoli sprouts per day for 8 weeks had lower levels of infection and inflammation than those who did not eat broccoli.
In 2006, another team investigated whether eating about 2 cups of probiotic yogurt daily before using a combination of antibiotics could boost the ability of the medication to combat drug resistant H. pylori infection.
After 4 weeks, the researchers found that the participants who consumed the yogurt and antibiotics tended to eliminate the infection more effectively than those who only took antibiotics.
The results may have stemmed from the yogurt’s active cultures of beneficial bacteria that help improve the body’s ability to combat infection.
The following dietary changes may help prevent or manage gastritis:
Eat little but frequently: Eating five or six smaller meals throughout the day — rather than three large meals — can help reduce the production of stomach acid.
Manage weight: Overweight and obesity increase the risk of developing gastritis. A doctor can help develop a weight loss plan to reduce the risk of gastritis and other associated health issues.
Use antacids: A doctor can also advise about medications to reduce symptoms.
Ask a doctor about supplements: Some dietary supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics, may lessen the impact of gastritis.
Omega-3 supplements and probiotic supplements are available for purchase online. However, speak with a doctor before trying these or other supplements, as they may interfere with treatments for other issues.
Also, some supplements, such as iron, may increase the risk of gastritis.
Which other home remedies may help with gastritis? Find out here.
Foods that can make symptoms worse include:
- spicy foods
- acidic foods
- fried foods
Sometimes, an allergen can trigger inflammation. In this case, a doctor may recommend an elimination diet, which involves excluding certain food groups from the diet to see whether it affects symptoms.
For example, one team of doctors reported that dairy and eggs caused a type of gastritis in one person. The team had also investigated wheat, nuts, soy, seafood, and rice.
Anyone who is considering an elimination diet should speak to a doctor first, as it can cause nutritional deficiency.
Foods that increase the risk of gastritis
A person may be more likely to develop gastritis if they consume:
- red meats
- processed meats
- foods that are pickled, dried, salted, or smoked
- salty foods
- fatty foods
Studies have shown that salty and fatty foods, for example, can change the stomach lining. High-salt diets can alter the cells within the stomach, making them more prone to H. pylori infection.
A high intake of alcohol can also contribute to stomach inflammation and make symptoms worse. It can also cause erosion of the stomach lining.
To help prevent or manage gastritis, try:
Quitting smoking: Smoking increases the risk of inflammation and mouth, esophageal, and stomach cancers.
Reducing stress: High levels of stress can trigger stomach acid production, which can worsen symptoms and inflammation.
Checking any medications: Regularly using NSAIDs can increase the risk of damage to the stomach lining, which can trigger or worsen symptoms of gastritis. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are all examples of NSAIDs.
Gastritis is a common digestive problem. Dietary changes may help prevent it and reduce symptoms, though there is no evidence that any specific diet can help.
It may be beneficial to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods and others high in added fat and salt.
Is a bland diet helpful for a person with gastritis?
It may be beneficial for a person with severe gastritis to eat a bland diet for a short period of time.Saurabh (Seth) Sethi, M.D., MPH Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.