Diet & the Stomach Lining

People in sushi bar, man and woman flirting
Diet & the Stomach Lining (Image: Andrea Chu/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Your stomach's lining is like a home security system; it provides protection only when it functions well. Cells in your stomach lining produce acid and enzymes, which help break down food and mucus -- a slippery substance the protects the lining from acid. When your stomach lining becomes inflamed, it releases less acid, enzymes and mucus, making way for pain and discomfort. Dietary changes can help minimize symptoms of gastritis, which is the medical term for an inflamed stomach lining. For best results, seek guidance from your doctor.

Function

Dietary changes suited for a healthy stomach lining serve multiple purposes. If you have gastritis, certain foods and eating habits can help manage pain and other potential symptoms, such as indigestion, heartburn, appetite loss, nausea and vomiting. Dietary changes can also prevent or reduce symptoms related to stomach ulcers, or open sores in your stomach lining, and strengthen your body's ability to resist and heal form other stomach-related conditions.

Helpful Foods

Breakfast food
Particularly fiber-rich foods include beans, lentils, peas, raspberries, artichokes, oatmeal and popcorn. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that promotes digestive function and increases stool bulk and smoothness. A fiber-rich diet, limited in fatty foods, can help reduce stomach irritation associated with gastritis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Particularly fiber-rich foods include beans, lentils, peas, raspberries, artichokes, oatmeal and popcorn. Other helpful foods include antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries, tomatoes, squash and bell peppers, and foods containing flavonoids, such as apples, celery and tea. Flavonoids can help inhibit H. pylori bacteria, which causes most ulcers. Probiotics, which are found in kefir and yogurt with live active cultures, promote bacterial balance in your digestive tract and may help reduce stomach inflammation and ulcer symptoms.

Foods to Avoid

Women drinking coffee and chatting at cafe
Avoid coffee. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Avoiding foods and beverages that increase stomach acid can minimize irritation in your stomach lining and guard against heartburn. Although people's specific heartburn triggers vary, common triggers that may worsen gastritis symptoms include fried and fatty foods, such as high-fat dairy products and red meat, chocolate, onions, garlic, caffeine, alcohol and mint. Acidic beverages, such as orange juice and coffee, with or without caffeine, can have similar effects. To leave plentiful room in your diet for high-fiber foods, limit refined foods, such as white bread, instant rice, candy and low-fiber cereals. Stay well-hydrated by drinking water throughout each day, particularly if you experience fluid loss as a result of vomiting.

Dining Behaviors

Cauliflower , broccoli , and snow peas
When you do dine out, stick to low-fat dishes, such as steamed vegetables, skinless, baked poultry, grilled fish and plain baked potatoes. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Preparing your own meals allows you control over the ingredients contained and guards against overeating associated with large restaurant-size portions. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends cooking dishes with healthy oils, such as olive or vegetable oil, and avoiding trans-fatty acids, which are prevalent in stick margarine. When you do dine out, stick to low-fat dishes, such as steamed vegetables, skinless, baked poultry, grilled fish and plain baked potatoes. Eat in a calm, pleasurable atmosphere and avoid lying down after meals, which can trigger heartburn.

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