Gastritis Diet: Best Food and Drinks

Gastritis Diet: Best Food and Drinks


Gastritis is the clinical term for stomach inflammation, which occurs when the lining of your stomach becomes red and swollen. While many different conditions and other factors can cause gastritis, dietary changes are typically necessary and important for reducing its symptoms, treating it, and preventing it from reoccurring.

Gastritis can occur due to many reasons, including infection, regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil (ibuprofen) and Bayer (aspirin), and excessive alcohol consumption. Several diseases can increase your risk of gastritis, including digestive diseases such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, and autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s and type 1 diabetes.

Sometimes, gastritis symptoms can occur quickly (referred to as acute gastritis), and sometimes, they can occur slowly over time (chronic gastritis). Gastritis causes symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Not treating gastritis may increase your risk of stomach ulcers and bleeding.

Treating gastritis involves identifying the cause and treating the cause. This might involve stopping the use of NSAIDs, reducing alcohol consumption, or taking an antibiotic to eliminate an infection. Depending on the cause, you may be able to make dietary changes such as eating smaller meals, drinking more water, and being mindful of some of the foods you consume.

As with many conditions that impact the stomach and intestines, foods you can tolerate can vary from person to person.  However, many cases of gastritis can be connected to one or more foods you eat. 

Several dietary changes can help ease symptoms or better manage gastritis. These changes include choosing foods high in unsaturated fat, eating foods with probiotics, and increasing your intake of folate and B12.

Foods High in Unsaturated Fat 

Unsaturated fats are “healthy” fats that can help reduce stomach lining inflammation, improve your cholesterol, and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. There are two types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are necessary nutrients your body needs to support your brain function and growth of new cells.

Foods high in unsaturated fats include:

  • Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna
  • Nuts like walnuts, almonds, and pecans
  • Seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds
  • Plant oils like olive oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil
  • Avocado

Fish oil supplements are another way you can increase your intake of omega-3.

Foods High in Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can improve the health of your stomach by controlling harmful bacteria and adding beneficial bacteria to the gut. Because of this, probiotics can alleviate inflammation and pain in the stomach and intestines. Probiotics are especially beneficial for people with gastritis who are taking antibiotics for their gastritis. This is because antibiotic use can sometimes cause diarrhea, which probiotics can help prevent.

Foods high in probiotics include:

  • Low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Tempeh, which is made from fermented soybeans
  • Kefir, a fermented milk drink similar to thin yogurt
  • Cottage cheese containing live cultures

Foods High in Folate and Vitamin B12

Folate and B12 are B vitamins involved in creating red blood cells, which can help prevent anemia.

In some types of gastritis, the immune system can attack the stomach lining, causing a thinning stomach lining. This can affect the absorption of these important vitamins. This can lead to a deficiency in folate and B12 for people with gastritis. Foods high in folate and vitamin B12 include:

  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Fortified breads and cereals

Certain foods can cause gastritis in some people, such as those with food allergies. In other cases, foods with specific qualities may worsen gastritis symptoms and delay your recovery. Generally, people with gastritis are recommended to avoid foods high in saturated fat, salt, and acid. 

Saturated Fatty Foods

Saturated fats are fats that are solid at room temperature and are often found in animal products. This type of fat is often considered an “unhealthy” fat due to being associated with heart disease, and if you have gastritis, it may irritate the lining of your stomach. Foods high in saturated fat include:

  • Red meat like beef, pork, and lamb
  • Whole milk
  • Whole-milk yogurt
  • Whole-milk cheese 
  • Butter
  • Coconut oil

High Salt Foods

Sodium (known as salt) is an important mineral people need in their diet to help balance fluids in the body. However, most people in the United States consume more than necessary. For people with gastritis, there is research that shows consuming too much sodium may be related to worsening symptoms. Foods high in sodium include:

  • Packaged snacks
  • Processed meats like deli meat, bacon, and sausage
  • Frozen meals
  • Canned vegetables and legumes with salt added
  • Canned soups and broths

Acidic Foods

Acidic foods contain higher amounts of acid than others, whether naturally occurring or occurring after the processing and manufacturing of the food. These foods are known to cause gastrointestinal irritation in many people, especially those with gastritis who already have an irritated stomach lining. Acidic foods include:

  • Tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • Fried foods
  • Soda 
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol 

Below are meal ideas for those with gastritis. As you write out your meal plan and prepare food, remember that smaller meals are ideal.

Breakfast

When buying cottage cheese, look for packages that say “live and active cultures” on the ingredient list to ensure it contains probiotics.

  • Low-fat cottage cheese parfait with fresh fruit and granola
  • Homemade pancakes with low-sodium turkey bacon and blueberries
  • Original instant oatmeal with peanut butter, cinnamon, and diced apples

Lunch

As you move through your day, make sure to take your time eating. Slowly consumed meals are often better tolerated by people with gastritis.

  • Snack tray with carrots and hummus, skim milk cheese slices, and dried dates
  • Homemade whole wheat pasta salad with low-sodium Italian dressing
  • Chicken caesar wrap with light caesar dressing and lightly salted baked chips

Dinner

Even though you have gastritis, dinners do not have to be overwhelming or complicated. These simple homemade dinners will help you end your day balanced and well-nourished.

  • DIY veggie and skim-milk cheese pizza with side salad
  • Whole wheat spaghetti with turkey bolognese sauce and steamed broccoli
  • Baked garlic-herb shrimp, couscous, and roasted asparagus

Snack

Because it is recommended to consume small meals you may want to add additional snacks to your day to ensure you stay full and get adequate nutrition each day. These may include:

  • Mashed avocado on sourdough toast
  • Skim milk cheese stick with carrots and low-fat ranch
  • Two hard-boiled eggs with grapes
  • Fresh fruit smoothie made with skim or non-dairy milk
  • Low-fat ice cream with fresh berries

An elimination diet involves completely eliminating all foods thought to trigger symptoms. The amount of time these foods are removed may depend on the person or the health care provider guiding the diet, but they are often removed for 4-12 weeks.

The elimination phase is then followed by a reintroduction phase where, one by one, foods are slowly added back to your diet.

We recommend keeping a journal to track the foods you have eliminated and added back. The journal will monitor whether or not you are experiencing symptoms and ensure you have eliminated all forms of the triggering food. If a food is reintroduced and causes symptoms this food should be eliminated from the diet.

Gastritis is a term for stomach inflammation. It can be caused by excessive alcohol intake, an infection, and frequent use of NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen, among other contributing factors. People with gastritis often experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. 

Treatment for gastritis includes resolving the cause of the condition and taking measures to reduce your symptoms. This can include diet modifications, such as replacing foods high in salt, saturated fat, and acid with foods that contain unsaturated fats, probiotics, folate, and vitamin B12.

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