Organizing A Diet For Gastritis

diet for gastritisThe 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.

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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.

Dietary Supplements

Processed Supplements

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.

Herbal Supplements

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.

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Atrophic GastritisAtrophic gastritis, also referred to as Type A or Type B gastritis, is a chronic inflammation of the stomach mucosa which can result in the impaired ability of the stomach to produce the substances needed for proper health and digestion. This condition comes on slowly and usually affects people later in their lives. Due to the fact that it can go unnoticed as it takes its course, it is important to understand the causes of it and some ways to prevent its onset and alleviate its symptoms.

Causes, Symptoms and Complications

Often this type of gastritis will come on as a result of chronic gastritis. A bacterial infection will weaken the protective layer of mucus in the stomach, allowing gastric acids to get through to the lining and damage it. The damaged stomach tissues are then replaced with fibrous and intestinal tissues, resulting in a limitation of the stomach’s abilities to secrete key substances necessary for proper functioning. Atrophic gastritis is also known to come on as a result of certain autoimmune disorders.

This condition usually exhibits few or no symptoms until it becomes more serious. There are some signs, however, which may indicate to one that he or she is developing problems. These symptoms include:

• Stomach pains
• Nausea and/or vomiting
• Lack of appetite and weight loss
• Persistent indigestion

Those who experience one or more of these should see a doctor as soon as possible to determine whether they have gastritis.

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If left untreated, atrophic gastritis can result in serious complications. Pernicious anemia, or the inability of the body to absorb vitamin B12, is one problem that may occur. This can lead to a deficiency of the vitamin and is a contributing risk factor in the onset of dementia and stroke, especially among those of advanced age. Other complications include an increased risk of ulcers or stomach cancer.

Treatment through Medications

There is no cure for this condition, though several things can be done to deal with the symptoms and prevent it from interfering in one’s life. The main focus behind most medical treatments is to rid the body of the bacterial infection by using one or more of the following medications:

• Antibiotics – To eliminate bacterial infection.
• Coating Agents – To protect the lining of the stomach.
• Protein Pump Inhibitors – To fight the bacterial infection and suppress production of gastric acids.
• Vitamin B12 Injections – To help prevent development of pernicious anemia.

Adjusting Diet to Alleviate This Condition

Having the proper diet is an important part of dealing with this condition effectively. Many of the symptoms can be alleviated and further damage minimized simply by adopting a few practices in one’s eating habits. These adjustments aim at improving the efficiency of digestion and taking advantage of the body’s natural cycles of enzyme production.

Over-eating is perhaps one of the biggest problems that affects people every day. One should eat slowly so that the stomach has time to adjust and let him or her know when it is full. Also, eating slower and eating smaller portions helps the digestive process work more efficiently.

Eating on a regular schedule is also important. The body produces enzymes in cycles which adjust to the time it is usually used to eating as well as the types of foods that it receives. Too many different types of foods eaten at irregular times will cause digestive problems and can result in painful symptoms.

Certain foods combinations create conflicting enzymes within the stomach, thus making food harder to digest and more likely to cause problems. Food combinations to generally avoid include:

• Carbohydrates with acidic foods or proteins.
• Multiple types of proteins at the same time.
• Proteins with fatty or acidic foods.
• Starches with sugars or other starches.
• Milk and melons are unique and should be eaten by themselves.

As with any stomach condition, alcohol, caffeine, smoking and highly-seasoned or spicy foods should be avoided altogether. If one takes care with his or her diet, atrophic gastritis does not need to be a serious impairment to quality of life.

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