Gastritis happens when your stomach lining becomes inflamed. The condition has a variety of causes, but typically requires dietary modifications and medication to treat it. Meals for gastritis need to be small and frequent — and they shouldn't contain spicy, acidic, fried or fatty foods.
Evening meals shouldn't affect your gastritis. However, consuming small meals at the same time each day can help minimize your symptoms.
Gastritis Causes and Treatment Options
Gastritis can cause sensations of burning, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas and decreased appetite. Serious gastritis can also cause esophageal and gastric ulcers, as well.
This gastrointestinal condition can occur for a variety of reasons. According to the Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins Medicine, gastritis can be caused by surgery, and by conditions like autoimmune disorders, chronic acid reflux, Crohn's disease and microbial infections. However, it may also be caused by extreme stress, smoking, certain medications, and foods or drinks that you consume.
In particular, excessive consumption of alcohol and spicy foods are thought to contribute to gastritis. However, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, infection with a bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori is the most common cause of gastritis.
It's important to treat gastritis as soon as possible. Untreated, gastritis has the potential to cause stomach bleeding and anemia. Chronic gastritis may increase your risk of stomach cancer, peptic ulcer disease and gastric polyps, as well.
Harvard Health says that treatment for gastritis requires removing the cause of the problem. This may mean changing medications, quitting smoking or other lifestyle changes. In some cases, you may need to take antibiotics and other medications, like antacids or proton pump inhibitors.
Gastritis, especially acute gastritis, is often easy to treat. However, according to a June 2015 article in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, chronic gastritis is a lifelong, serious illness. This condition may affect hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Foods to Avoid With Gastritis
Health practitioners generally recommend that you stop drinking alcohol and limit your consumption of trigger foods as part of your gastritis diet plan. Trigger foods are foods and beverages that irritate the stomach lining, making gastritis-related symptoms worse. These include foods that are fatty and spicy, as well as those that are acidic, like orange juice, tomato juice and carbonated sodas.
The National Health Service recommends reducing your caffeine intake from drinks like tea, coffee and energy drinks. A January 2017 study in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety also reported that high salt consumption, processed meats and red meat are associated with the worsening of Helicobacter pylori-related gastritis.
You'll notice that a lot of these foods are the same ones that you need to avoid if you have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). They're also similar to foods associated with the risk of gastric cancer — these include salted, smoked and pickled foods and large amounts of meat. Low consumption of dietary fiber, fruits and vegetables also increases the risk.
Gastritis Recipes and Supplements
While certain foods and beverages may aggravate your gastritis, others have the potential to help. For example, turmeric, also known as curcumin, can support gastritis treatment. This root is commonly ingested as a spice and can be easily incorporated into gastritis recipes. It may also be consumed as a supplement.
A May 2017 study in the Arquivos de Gastroenterologia journal showed that standard treatment combined with turmeric supplementation could decrease inflammation and help remove Helicobacter pylori completely from the body. Turmeric supplementation was also thought to help prevent complications and the development of other gut diseases, including cancer.
Probiotics may also be supportive in the eradication of Helicobacter pylori. These healthy bacteria can be found in a wide range of foods, from Greek yogurt to soy products, and can be easily incorporated into meals for gastritis. However, when you require specific strains of probiotics, you're more likely to need supplements.
A May 2015 study in the Medicine Journal put out by the National Institutes of Health reported that taking probiotics twice per day can help reduce gastritis symptoms like pain, gas, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite. An October 2014 study in the Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection reported that long-term consumption of probiotic foods can help reduce the risk of developing other issues associated with gastric inflammation, as well.
Unfortunately, probiotics alone are not enough to remove these bacteria from your system. To fully remove Helicobacter pylori from your system, the probiotics would need to be taken alongside antibiotics.
Other Products for Gastritis Relief
A few foods that are typically not recommended have been shown to actually be helpful in Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis. For instance, tea is one of the foods that you may need to be cautious of incorporating into a gastritis diet plan.
However, a May 2015 study in the Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease Journal reported that green tea, black tea and honey can all help reduce the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in your gastrointestinal system. Because some diets require you to reduce your intake of caffeine, you should talk to your doctor before regularly incorporating tea with honey into your gastritis recipes.
Similarly, an October 2012 study in the Digestive Diseases and Sciences Journal stated that consumption of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) may help support the treatment of Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis. However, because acidic foods can make your gastritis worse, you may be best off taking ascorbic acid supplements rather than consuming fruits or other products rich in this nutrient.
Read more: 43 Supplements Exposed: Which Ones to Consider, Which Ones to Avoid
Planning Meals for Gastritis
Certain specific diets can also support gastritis treatments. According to an August 2014 study in the Digestive Diseases and Sciences Journal, removing nickel from your diet can help resolve Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis. Nickel is not an FDA-listed essential nutrient, but can be found in a variety of foods, including:
- Fruits and dried fruits, like apricots, figs, pears, plums, raisins, pineapples,
- Nuts, like almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts
- Shellfish, like lobster, mussels, oysters and plaice
- Vegetables, like asparagus, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and corn
- Legumes and beans, like lentils, peas, peanuts
- Other products, like cocoa and margarine
Beyond this, it's most important to have consistent, regular meals for gastritis. A December 2012 study in the ISRN Nutrition Journal reported that changes in mealtimes by longer than two-hour periods can increase your risk of both Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis and other forms of this condition.
Is This an Emergency?
- ISRN Nutrition: "Irregular Meal Timing Is Associated With Helicobacter pylori Infection and Gastritis"
- Digestive Diseases and Sciences: "Nickel Free-Diet Enhances the Helicobacter pylori Eradication Rate: A Pilot Study"
- Digestive Diseases and Sciences: "Vitamin C, Gastritis, and Gastric Disease: A Historical Review and Update"
- Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease: "Honey and Green/Black Tea Consumption May Reduce the Risk of Helicobacter pylori Infection"
- Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection: "Clinical Application of Probiotics in the Treatment of Helicobacter pylori Infection—A Brief Review"
- Arquivos de Gastroenterologia: "Curcumin in Combination With Triple Therapy Regimes Ameliorates Oxidative Stress and Histopathologic Changes in Chronic Gastritis-Associated Helicobacter pylori Infection"
- Gut Microbes: "Diet, Microbial Virulence, and Helicobacter pylori-Induced Gastric Cancer"
- Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety: "Oxidation During Digestion of Meat: Interactions With the Diet and Helicobacter pylori Gastritis, and Implications on Human Health"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Gastritis"
- Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology: "Chronic Gastritis"
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Gastritis"
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Gastritis"
- Mayo Clinic: "Gastritis"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Gastritis: What Is It?"
- Medicine: "Probiotics for Standard Triple Helicobacter pylori Eradication: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial"