Gastritis is a common condition that may cause digestive symptoms and pain. Avoiding foods and drinks that trigger symptoms may help people manage this condition.
Gastritis is usually a minor health issue that often improves after treatment. However, some types of gastritis can lead to serious complications, such as ulcers or increased risk of cancer.
A person can try following a gastritis diet to avoid foods that irritate the stomach and to relieve symptoms of the condition.
In this article, we will examine foods to eat and foods to avoid during gastritis. We will also look at recipe ideas and how to prevent gastritis.
Gastritis refers to the inflammation of the stomach lining. The inflammation is a result of damage to the lining of the stomach.
Gut inflammation can be due to diet and lifestyle factors, some diseases, and infections.
Gastritis is a common condition. If left untreated, it may have severe health effects.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it is unclear whether diet and nutrition play an important role in causing gastritis.
However, a person can try eating a diet that supports gut health and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Gastritis is an inflammatory condition, so following an anti-inflammatory diet may help manage symptoms. People can try eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as:
- leafy green vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, spinach, and arugula
- oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines
- nuts, including almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts
- fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and raspberries
- olive oil
According to a 2014 review, eating probiotic foods, such as natural yogurt, may prevent Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). However, research is not conclusive. Also, probiotics may help maintain gut health.
Foods that contain beneficial probiotic bacteria include:
The following are examples of how people can combine foods beneficial for gastritis in healthful meals.
People with gastritis should avoid foods and drinks that irritate the stomach lining, such as:
It may also be helpful to avoid inflammatory foods. These include:
Gastritis has several different causes. Below, we list some of them.
H. pylori infection
According to a 2015 study, the most common cause of gastritis worldwide is H. pylori.
H. pylori are bacteria that infect the stomach. They usually pass from person to person via direct contact with saliva, vomit, or stool.
Dietary and lifestyle habits that may cause gastritis include:
- eating spicy foods
- drinking too much alcohol
- taking aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) long term
Diseases that may cause gastritis include:
- autoimmune disorders, which cause the immune system to attack healthy tissue in the body
- pernicious anemia, which occurs when the stomach is unable to digest vitamin B12
- chronic bile reflux, a condition where bile backs up into the throat
Sometimes, gastritis occurs after major surgery or traumatic burns and injuries.
Gastritis may also be due to stress. Neurotransmitters stimulate hormones and histamine to produce more stomach acid. The acid causes damage to the cells lining the stomach. This in turn causes symptoms of gastritis.
Symptoms characteristic of gastritis may include:
- pain or discomfort in the abdomen
- constant pain between the navel and lower ribs
- decreased appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- belching, bloating, or a feeling of fullness that worsens after eating
In extreme cases, chronic gastritis may destroy cells in the stomach lining and cause an acid-free stomach. This may increase a person’s risk of cancer and peptic ulcers and prevent them from absorbing essential nutrients, such as vitamin B12.
A doctor may advise that a person avoid gastritis triggers, such as alcohol, smoking, or certain foods. Keeping a food diary may help a person discover potential triggers.
If a person is taking medication that may worsen gastritis symptoms, a doctor may prescribe an alternative medicine.
If a doctor suspects H. pylori, they can perform tests to confirm their diagnosis. Tests may include a blood test, stool test, or breath test.
Sometimes, a doctor may need to carry out an upper endoscopy. This involves inserting a camera on a tube into the throat and down into the stomach.
Several medications decrease stomach acid and help relieve symptoms of gastritis. These medications include:
- over-the-counter antacids, such as TUMS and Pepto Bismol
- H2 blockers, also known as acid reducers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet) and famotidine (Pepcid)
- proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium), and lansoprazole (Prevacid)
People can help avoid gastritis by not consuming products that irritate the stomach lining. These include alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine.
If a person is taking aspirin or NSAIDs, they should speak with their doctor about alternative medications or ways they can manage their symptoms.
Self-care strategies for relieving stress may help avoid stress-induced gastritis.
People may prevent H. pylori infection, which can lead to gastritis, by practicing proper hygiene, such as:
- washing the hands with soap and water, particularly before meals and after using the bathroom
- making sure all food is clean and cooked safely
- ensuring drinking water is safe and clean
A person experiencing symptoms of gastritis should consult a doctor. Severe gastritis may lead to erosion of the stomach lining and painful ulcers. Black stool may be a sign of bleeding in the stomach.
H. pylori is the leading cause of gastritis, so a doctor will likely perform tests to determine whether a person has an infection. H. pylori is the primary cause of peptic ulcers and gastric cancer, according to a 2014 review.
People with gastritis may help manage their symptoms by avoiding certain foods, including spicy, acidic, and fatty foods. They can also try avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet and including probiotic foods may also help support the gut and reduce symptoms.
Without treatment, gastritis may lead to complications. This is why a person with gastritis symptoms should seek guidance from a doctor.
People can avoid H. pylori infection by maintaining proper hygiene habits and cooking food safely.