Whether you suffer from occasional or chronic gastritis, you know it’s not just regular old indigestion: gastritis occurs when inflammation of the stomach lining leads to your own stomach acid harming your health. Many attempt to treat it with over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, but those medications can often cause or exacerbate acute gastritis, which can then lead to painful and damaging peptic ulcers in the stomach and small intestine if it’s not effectively dealt with. Below we discuss home remedies for gastritis, which starts first and foremost with the natural gastritis diet.
Gastritis is a group of conditions characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining. The most common symptoms of gastritis include:
- Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
- A burning or gnawing ache or pain in your chest (commonly described as indigestion or heartburn)
- A feeling of fullness in your upper chest after a meal
- Loss of appetite
What Causes Gastritis?
There are two common causes of gastritis: first, gastritis may be caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria (an H. pylori infection). Second, gastritis can be prompted by the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and their damaging impact on the stomach lining (not to mention the stress they can cause your kidneys when they’re filtered from your bloodstream). However, gastritis has also been associated with certain autoimmune diseases and conditions like sarcoidosis, Crohn’s disease, and pernicious anemia, which interfere with vitamin B12 absorption.
Gastritis is often diagnosed via blood tests and assessed with an endoscope, a thin probe with a small camera that can be inserted through your mouth to view the stomach lining and gauge your stomach acid production. A doctor will discuss medical remedies for gastritis, but, under his or her advisement, you may want to try the gastritis diet first to see if you can’t naturally alleviate your inflammation.
The Gastritis Diet
Luckily gastritis and the bile reflux commonly associated with it can usually be treated quickly. While some may require prescription proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec (omeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole), or Nexium (esomeprazole), or non-prescription meds like Tagamet (cimetidine) and Zantac (ranitidine), others may be able to reduce the occurrence of gastritis with more natural means. That brings us to the gastritis diet, which, if it works for you, can help you avoid the side effects of medications.
Foods to Avoid
Let’s start off with foods and drinks that may be exacerbating your condition. These should be avoided because they can further irritate your stomach lining or promote the overproduction of stomach acid.
- Coffee: Your morning cup of java may be too caustic, but caffeine can still be had in other ways (via gentle teas or possibly caffeine supplements).
- Alcohol: Booze is a pleasant poison at the end of the day, and it definitely irritates the stomach lining (not to mention it’s a huge diuretic just like coffee, and dehydration can make your gastritis worse).
- Acidic foods/drinks: Certain fruits, like citrus fruits and their juices, as well as tomatoes (ketchup), only add more fuel to the inflammation fire.
- Fatty/fried foods: Choose baked foods rather than fried—you don’t have to skip French fries necessarily, just the unhealthy oil.
- Spicy foods: No jalapeño poppers for a while, and it’s always good to limit your salt intake as well.
- Carbonated drinks: Sodas and seltzers can take oil stains off a concrete driveway, and they definitely damage your stomach lining.
Foods to Embrace
These foods won’t hurt your condition any further, and they may even help lessen the symptoms of gastritis. Stock up on:
- Non-carbonated drinks: Water (of course), cow’s milk, or milk alternatives like nut milks are gut healthy non-carbonated options.
- Low-acid foods: Food like oatmeal and vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, leafy greens, cucumbers, and potatoes are low in acid.
- Non-citrus fruits: Apples, bananas, melons, and pears (you can even blend them together with our immunity-boosting recipe!) are examples of non-citrus fruits.
- High-fiber foods: Beans, carrots, and oats are high in fiber and will help feed your good gut bacteria.
- Lean meats: For meat-eaters, the leaner the better when it comes to meat options like poultry and fish.
- Probiotics: Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, etc., offer up a plethora of probiotics.
These foods will allow your digestive system to rest, plus they’re just plain good for you. If you already have stomach ulcers due to gastritis, seek medical advice for foods that will allow the ulcer to heal.
Other Home Remedies for Gastritis
Some have found that along with an anti-inflammatory diet, consuming green tea (which is brimming with health benefits), taking a garlic supplement, or using essential oils helps. It’s also advisable to avoid smoking, skip taking painkillers of any sort, and reduce your stress as much as possible (sleep regularly, be sure to exercise, and try not to bring work home at the end of the day).
You know your body best, what worsens your digestion and what makes it feel better: choose a couple of these changes to start with, and do your own diagnostic investigating to evaluate what works and what doesn’t for your lifestyle and your body.
You (Hopefully) Are What You Eat
Gastritis can usually be treated with antacids, but if you can avoid the issue in the first place instead of treating the symptoms, you’ll feel so much better.
It’s important to get chronic gastritis under control because if left untreated it could lead to stomach cancer, especially if it’s the result of a Helicobacter pylori infection. If you can’t manage to calm gastritis on your own, you’re urged to seek medical advice from a trusted medical professional who will provide you with the health information you need to avoid more serious issues like peptic ulcer disease.
The foods to avoid on the gastritis diet are often bad for you anyway, while the foods included can not only calm stomach inflammation but also help you lose weight and feel healthier! Every which way you look at it, you win with the gastritis diet, so don’t hesitate to embrace it.