The term gastritis means that the lining of the stomach is inflamed. It is an inconvenient and uncomfortable condition, but it is quite treatable. Simply by making lifestyle changes to eliminate probable causes and eating the right combination of healthy foods, gastritis sufferers can make tremendous improvements in their condition. Patients are frequently advised to avoid hot or spicy foods, but much more is involved in choosing an appropriate diet for gastritis than eliminating spicy items.
Steps In Choosing A Gastritis Diet
Stop Making Things Worse
The first step to take in dealing with gastritis that is caused by something irritating the stomach lining is to stop using whatever is causing the damage. The first candidate is usually alcohol. Gastritis sufferers should not only avoid drinking beer, wine or hard liquor but should also carefully read labels of over the counter medications like cough syrup, some of which contain alcohol. Patients should also avoid tobacco and pain killers like Aspirin or Ibuprofen. In addition, acidic beverages such as tea, coffee, soda pop and citrus juices should be eliminated. Some authorities also recommend avoiding high fat foods.
What Gastritis Patients Should Eat
Fiber is one of the most important constituents of a gastritis diet. High fiber foods like oatmeal or bran cereal make great breakfasts, and cooked beans make a great main course for lunch or dinner. Some fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber. Another valuable food resource is flavonoids, found in onions, garlic, apples, celery and cranberries and cranberry juice.
Things To Do In Addition To Changing The Diet
Food allergies can cause gastritis, and gastritis sufferers should talk to their doctors about how to identify and eliminate problem foods. For occasional mild gastritis, some authorities recommend over the counter antacids. More persistent cases, or those caused by a bacterial infections, may require medications prescribed by a doctor including H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors. In addition, proper exercise is often of benefit to gastritis sufferers. Half an hour of mild exercise four or five times a week can make a big difference in the progress of the condition.
Specific Recommendations For A Gastritis Diet
What To Drink
Patients with gastritis should take care to stay well hydrated. This means drinking six to eight glasses of water, preferably filtered water, each and every day in addition to anything else the patient may drink. Gastritis patients should also avoid alcoholic beverages and those that raise the acid content of the digestive tract like soda and coffee. It should be noted that it does not matter whether the coffee is caffeinated or not. The acid in the coffee is the culprit, not the caffeine. Refined foods like white bread, white sugar and pasta are also not advisable on a diet for gastritis. Trans fatty acids should be reduced or eliminated. These are found in baked goods, snack foods and margarine. Hot or spicy foods, particularly those containing large amounts of hot peppers like many dishes from Southeast Asia or Latin America, can cause problems for gastritis sufferers.
What To Eat
Certain foods are believed to help people with gastritis deal with their condition. Antioxidant foods are very important to gastritis patients. These include fruits like cherries, blueberries and tomatoes and vegetables like bell peppers and squash. Calcium and B vitamins are also beneficial. These nutrients are found in foods like beans, whole grains, almonds and sea vegetables. The protein requirements of gastritis patients can be met through lean meat, beans and tofu or cold water fish. Healthy fats like olive oil or canola oil cause fewer problems than animal fats.
How To Cook For Gastritis Patients
Just as some foods are good for people with gastritis and others aggravate the problem, some ways of cooking foods can cause gastritis to flare up. For fruits and vegetables, the best cooking method is none at all. If a particular kind of produce can be eaten raw, that is by far the best option, since cooking destroys beneficial nutrients. The next best option is steaming or pressure cooking. Both are quick, convenient ways of cooking that leave most nutrients intact. The least appropriate way of cooking food for a gastritis diet is to fry it, particularly if animal fats or unhealthy kinds of vegetable oils are used.
Eating Patterns For A Gastritis Diet
While it is important to watch what the gastritis patient eats or does not eat and how it is cooked, this is not the whole story. It is also vital to pay attention to how often the patient eats and how much is eaten. Smaller meals eaten at frequent intervals throughout the day can help ease the effects of stomach acid.
It is as important for gastritis patients to get the appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals as for anyone else. Most of these will be acquired naturally just by eating a good diet for gastritis, but vitamin pills can be a good insurance policy. In particular, the antioxidant A, B, C and E vitamins can help develop patients resist episodes of gastritis. Trace minerals like selenium, calcium, zinc and magnesium are also useful. Patients should, however, avoid supplements that include fish oil, since it sometimes increases the risk of bleeding. Probiotic supplements can help fight the H. pylori bacteria that contribute to gastritis and can also help alleviate the side effects of antibiotics.
Herbs can make a valuable contribution to a diet for gastritis. Some may be used fresh, particularly peppermint which can be chewed to sweeten the breath or taken as tea. Peppermint is also available in tablet form. Cranberry is also useful, especially in cases of bacterial gastritis. Mastic and licorice extract may also be helpful in some cases.
For a patient who needs a gastritis diet, food is both a helper and an enemy. Eating the wrong thing can cause painful and inconvenient flareups, but enriching the diet with the proper foods, properly prepared and eaten in small quantities throughout the day can actually help control the condition. Gastritis can be beaten, and eating the right combination of tasty, healthful food is the first step.