Everyone experiences an upset stomach and some stomach pain once in a while, but if you experience these symptoms frequently, you may have gastritis. Gastritis occurs when the lining of the stomach is chronically inflamed. The inflammation can lead to stomach pain as well as indigestion, heartburn, hiccups, nausea, vomiting, bloating, loss of appetite and dark stools. Treatment for gastritis depends on the cause, but following a few diet rules may help alleviate symptoms.
Flavonoids Are Your Friends
Most cases of chronic non-erosive gastritis are caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. The bacteria irritate the stomach lining causing irritation, inflammation and the resulting symptoms of gastritis. Flavonoids may inhibit the growth of H. pylori, reducing inflammation and providing some relief, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A study published in "Planta Medica" in 1999 found that a specific flavonoid, called ponciretin, was most effective against H. pylori. Food sources of flavonoids include berries, grapes, apples, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, kale, broccoli, parsley, thyme, celery and legumes. Chocolate, red wine and green and white teas also contain flavonoids.
Fill Up on Fiber
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that a high-fiber diet may help patients with gastritis. Women need at least 25 grams of fiber daily, while men should aim a little higher -- 38 grams per day. Meet your fiber needs by including plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans in your diet. If you're not used to eating a lot of fiber, increase your intake gradually. This will lessen the potential for undesirable side effects, such as gas, bloating, flatulence and abdominal cramps. As you boost your fiber consumption, increase your water consumption, as well.
Ditch the Fat
High-fat foods may increase inflammation in the stomach lining, exacerbating the symptoms of gastritis. Avoid high-fat foods like fried foods, bacon, pizza, hamburgers, butter, chocolate, cheese and sausage. Emphasize a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean protein.
Timing Is Everything
Finding relief from gastritis is not just about what you eat -- it's when and how you eat. Drugs.com recommends eating small meals frequently throughout the day, instead of a few larger meals. Your stomach may tolerate small meals better, thereby reducing the amount and severity of symptoms. Stop eating at least two hours before bedtime. This will give your body time to digest your meal before you lie down.
Is This an Emergency?
- Cleveland Clinic: Gastritis
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gastritis
- Drugs.com: Diet for Ulcers and Gastritis
- Better Health Channel: Gastritis
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gastritis
- Alternative Medicine Review: Helicobacter pylori Eradication: Are There Alternatives to Antibiotics?
- Planta Medica: In Vitro Anti-Helicobacter pylori Activity of Some Flavonoids and Their Metabolites
- Linus Pauling Institute: Flavonoids
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Fiber