If you're experiencing upper-abdominal discomfort that includes nausea or vomiting, you may have a digestive condition known as gastritis. While a bland diet is often recommended to help someone with gastritis manage symptoms, some research indicates that including yogurt with friendly bacteria may also help. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
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Gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach, which causes a decrease in the production of digestive enzymes, acid and mucus. The most common cause of gastritis in the U.S. is the extended use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Helicobacter pylori infection is also a common cause, although less so in the U.S. Stress caused by traumatic injury, major surgery or severe burns may also lead to gastritis. Treatment is geared toward reducing stomach acid production with medication to help promote healing of the stomach lining.
What's So Great About Yogurt
As a fermented milk product, yogurt is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, protein and potassium. But it's the bacteria that transform the milk into its distinctively thick consistency and sour taste that puts yogurt over the top when it comes to diet and health. Known as probiotics, these friendly bacteria promote the movement of food through your digestive tract and may help boost immune health, prevent infection and destroy toxins. Gastroenterologists are especially interested in probiotics because they may help in the treatment of digestive diseases such as gastritis.
Yogurt and H. Pylori
Yogurt may be used as a form of complementary medicine in the treatment of gastritis caused by H. pylori infection. A 2014 review study published in the "World Journal of Gastroenterology" found that fermented milk-based probiotic foods, such as yogurt, helped eradicate the bacterial infection in the stomach. While this is promising news in the treatment of gastritis caused by H. pylori, it may not be as helpful to those with gastritis from other causes. Additionally, the authors of this review study noted that more research is necessary before formal recommendations can be made.
Bland Diet to Manage Symptoms
No matter the cause of your gastritis, yogurt makes a healthy addition to your diet. Also, eating a bland diet, which is a diet void of foods that may irritate the digestive tract, may also help decrease your discomfort. This means avoiding or limiting foods high in fat such as fried foods and whole-fat yogurt, spicy foods and caffeinated drinks. Instead, fill your diet with grains, vegetables and lean sources of protein such as poultry, seafood or beans prepared without fat, nonacidic fruits such as apples or bananas, and low-fat or nonfat dairy.