Foods to Eat and to Avoid for Gastritis: Despite the fact that it can be treated easily and fairly quickly, gastritis can prove quite difficult to handle at times. Aside from medication, a big part of the healing process involves learning which foods are good for us and which are not. And while most people can do well on a general diet plan provided by their doctor, sometimes, apparently harmless foods can trigger the most severe symptoms and delay our healing simply because they are just not that good for us and end up irritating the stomach lining.
Finding out which foods to eat and which to avoid when you have gastritis is essential for reducing the inflammation of the stomach lining. In addition to well-known problematic foods and beverages such as junk food or coffee, gastritis symptoms can be triggered by eating cabbage, cauliflower or bell peppers and other otherwise healthy foods that we would normally consider highly beneficial for us. One of the most important aspects to keep in mind is that we are all different and may each respond differently to foods and beverages so there isn’t a universal diet plan for gastritis.
What should you eat for gastritis? Generally, gastritis sufferers are advised to avoid acidic foods and fizzy drinks, processed products, hard candy and generally anything that cannot be cooked from basic, raw ingredients. Some of the most problematic foods and beverages for gastritis include the following:
1) Greasy, oily foods and anything deep-fried.
2) Fast food (consumed regularly).
3) Baked sweets rich in butter, oil or margarine.
4) Hard candy, chocolate bars, biscuits etc.
5) Red meat.
6) Coffee and caffeinated beverages.
7) Green, black and white tea, oolong tea.
8) Carbonated beverages.
9) Carbonated (sparkling) water.
10) Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other cabbage family vegetables.
11) Onions, garlic, leek, chives.
12) Beans, peas, lentils or chickpeas.
13) Hard cheeses (matured).
14) Spices: pepper, hot peppers, wasabi.
Food with too much seasoning tends to upset the stomach, irrespective of the spices employed.
Anything processed and prepared with food preservatives stands a higher chance of irritating our stomach and triggering gastritis symptoms. Fast food products and red meat are problematic because they are heavy foods, more difficult to digest. Alcohol, coffee, even decaffeinated coffee and caffeinated beverages are strong irritants. Green tea and its white and black varieties, oolong tea contain caffeine and theine and may engender acidity. Onions and garlic, broccoli, cabbage and similar vegetables contain organosulfur compounds that may upset the stomach.
Legumes such as beans and peas are rich in dietary fiber which causes bloating and further accentuates gastritis symptoms. Carbonated beverages and even carbonated water may upset the stomach. When I feel my stomach particularly sensitive, I avoid carbonated water so it doesn’t give me air and irritate my stomach. Matured cheese and, for some people, dairy products in general ferment, increasing stomach acidity, which is not at all good for a stomach predisposed to irritation. I also find vinegar gives me heartburn and a sort of painful burning sensation in the stomach even in small amounts. Too much sugar is highly problematic for gastritis as well.
In my case, foods that I used to love and eat regularly without having any issue with have started to upset my stomach once I developed gastritis. It was then I realized that there isn’t a universal diet plan for all gastritis sufferers and that seemingly innocent foods may cause more damage than good. The following list contains potentially problematic foods that may trigger mild to severe gastritis symptoms and delay healing:
1) Bell peppers.
3) Citrus fruit and citrus juices.
4) Strawberries and strawberry juice.
5) Eggplants (unless boiled).
6) Fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce and juice.
10) Pumpkin (especially baked).
11) Chocolate spread.
12) Hot cocoa.
14) Peppermint and spearmint tea.
15) Cold meats such as salami or sausages.
16) Ginger and ginger powder.
17) Unripe or not fully ripe bananas.
When I was dealing with gastritis in all its glory, I could not eat most of the above foods at all or could only eat some of them in very small amounts and only occasionally. For instance, citrus fruits such as lemons or grapefruit and their juice versions would give me the worst acidity and lots of air, while bell peppers and cucumbers worsened my acid reflux. Baked pumpkin, which I love and is extremely healthy, bloated me a lot and had me burping for days. I also found chocolate spread and ginger very irritating, while corn and eggplants made me feel faint and had me experiencing a strong feeling of uneasiness in the middle of my chest.
However, after completing my 3-week long treatment with esomeprazole and keeping up a rather strict dietary regime for another 2 months, I started reintroducing some of these foods in my diet (except for pickles, cold meats and citrus juices) and can now enjoy them in moderate amounts without any stomach discomfort.
What foods to eat for gastritis? Despite the wide range of foods that may trigger gastritis symptoms, there are still a lot of options to choose from and work out an eating plan that suits each and every one of us. This list of fruits and this list of vegetables can represent a good starting point and help you begin to work out an eating plan suited to your individual dietary needs. Other foods I found particularly helpful when I was dealing with gastritis and was on a restrictive diet include the following:
1) Boiled vegetables, except for problematic ones.
I loved carrots, parsnip, celery, celeriac, turnips and spinach.
2) Soft boiled eggs.
3) Whole grain bread, but in limited amounts.
5) Ripe bananas.
6) Pears, also in limited amounts.
7) Plain yogurt and kefir.
8) Chicken soup.
9) Vegetable stews.
10) Lean white meat: chicken and fish.
11) Chamomile tea.
12) Small amounts of fresh olive oil.
13) Limited amounts of raw almonds, caju and walnuts.
14) Moderate amounts of white pasta (with vegetables, fish or seafood).
15) Fresh figs, sometimes raisins, dried apricots or peaches on occassion
Or a tablespoon of acacia honey every now and then when I craved sugar.
Aside from eating certain foods and avoiding many others, what I also find helped me was eating small portions and enjoying plain meals, one or two foods at once (such as boiled rice and chicken). I also avoid most seasonings except for salt, turmeric and fresh olive oil. Even now, I don’t eat 3 hours before going to bed and don’t drink anything 30 minutes prior to lying down. I try not to lift anything or do strenous activities one or two hours after eating and avoid all foods I feel are not good for me, no matter how good they are for others.
Conclusion. When it comes to gastritis, we have to learn to manage our intake of certain foods, particularly high fiber foods, greasy, oily foods, junk food, carbonated and caffeinated beverages, acidic foods, excessively spicy or seasoned dishes and alcohol. The way we eat is just as important as what and how much we eat so we have to keep these aspects in mind when looking to treat gastritis and allow our stomach to heal itself. A diet plan suited to our individuals needs and well as overall good eating habits can help improve our digestive health to incredible extents.