The lining that covers the inside of your stomach contains cells that secrete acid and digestive enzymes. It also protects the stomach wall from the acidic environment. When the lining becomes inflamed, you have gastritis. While prescription medications are essential if bacteria are present, dietary changes can help with various types of gastritis. A bland diet relieves symptoms, probiotics may help treat the problem and vitamin C shows promise for possibly preventing the bacterial infection that causes some gastritis.
Bacteria and NSAIDs
The most common cause of chronic nonerosive gastritis is Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. These bacteria attach to the stomach lining and cause an infection, which produces inflammation. Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, such as aspirin and ibuprofen can cause erosive gastritis, as can alcohol. In addition, traumatic injuries, critical illness and major surgery might result in stress gastritis. Many people with gastritis show no symptoms; others have abdominal discomfort or pain, nausea, vomiting, bleeding or other signs.
Bland Diet Can Relieve Symptoms
A bland diet won't cure gastritis, but it can reduce symptoms by removing foods that are likely to irritate your stomach. NYU Langone Medical Center advises avoiding high-fat, spicy, fried and acidic foods, as well as caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Eat any type of grain, vegetable, lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs as long as it's not fried or prepared using fat. Limit dairy choices to low- or nonfat products. You might need to eliminate processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and luncheon meats. Include fruits in your menu, except tomatoes and citrus, due to their acidity. Avoid pepper, chili powder and vinegar.
Probiotics Inhibit Bad Bacteria
Probiotics may help treat gastritis and improve symptoms. A study published in the January 2013 issue of "Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology" reported that patients who took a probiotic together with standard medical treatment of H. pylori experienced fewer symptoms compared with patients who only took prescription medications. The study also found that more bacteria were eradicated in patients using probiotics. NYU Langone Medical Center reports that the lactobacillus strain is associated with fighting this bacteria. Lactobacillus is often found in yogurt with active cultures, but talk to your doctor to be sure you're getting the best probiotic and the right amount for your condition.
Vitamin C Supports Treatment
When therapeutic doses of vitamin C are taken together with standard prescription medications, significantly more H. pylori are killed, according to a research review published in the October 2012 issue of "Digestive Diseases and Sciences." The review also reported that vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, plays an important role in healing the stomach lining. People who are susceptible to gastritis caused by H. pylori may be able to prevent future outbreaks by taking vitamin C, according to the November 2011 issue of the "Indian Journal of Pharmacology." However, since citrus fruit may irritate gastritis, get extra vitamin C from supplements; consult your physician to determine the optimal dose.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gastritis
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Diet for Ulcers and Gastritis
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Gastritis
- Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology: Lactobacillus Reuteri in Management of Helicobacter Pylori Infection in Dyspeptic Patients -- A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial
- Digestive Diseases and Sciences: Vitamin C, Gastritis and Gastric Disease -- A Historical Review and Update
- Indian Journal of Pharmacology: Vitamin C as Anti-Helicobacter Pylori Agent -- More Prophylactic Than Curative -- Critical Review