Gastritis is a condition in which the inside of the stomach becomes red and swollen. This is due to the inflammation of the gastric mucosa, a membrane lining the wall of the stomach. At times there are no symptoms, but when symptoms are present, the most common one is upper abdominal pain.
- Helicobacter pylori – This gram-negative bacterium is the most common cause of gastritis, where it invades the gastric mucosa. However, about 80% of individuals infected with this bacterium show no symptoms.
- Smoking – This is an important cause of gastritis that should not be ignored. During smoking, a substance known as nicotine together with tars are released into the saliva. These substances dissolve in the saliva and are passed to the stomach, where, they exert their effect and may possibly initiate gastritis.
- Alcoholic beverages – The consumption of alcoholic beverages is also considered as one of the causes of gastritis. So, if you wish to avoid gastritis, quit or greatly minimize the intake of these beverages.
- The intake of extremely hot or cold food / drink can also cause gastritis.
- Certain drugs, especially anti-inflammatory drugs, can cause gastritis.
In summary, the causes of gastritis has to do with infection by Helicobacter pylori, the intake of aggressive substances, and an improper diet.
The treatment of gastritis is just very simple. It has to do with the consumption of an appropriate diet, and the correction of unhealthy habits. Certain drugs like the antacid drugs are prescribed for the treatment of gastritis. However, these drugs will just be of a little benefit if diet and unhealthy habits are not corrected.
Below is a recommended list of foods to eat and those to avoid for gastritis patients, or even those who are willing to avoid it.
Reduce/ completely eliminate the intake of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, soft drinks, coffee, sugars, meat, hot spices, and citrus fruits.
Increase fiber intake
Foods containing high fiber are good for relieving gastritis. Fiber is important in aiding digestive function, and improving the passage of food through the gut. Thankfully, high fiber foods are not that hard to come by. Foods like apple, banana, carrots, rice, and barley can provide you with some good amount of fiber.
Cut down on fats
Saturated fats that are mostly found in fried foods are not so good for gastritis patients, as they can increase the inflammation of the stomach. Instead, focus more on consuming foods that provide you with unsaturated fats, such as nuts and seeds.
The consumption of probiotics may help suppress the growth of Helicobacter pylori, one of the most commonest causes of gastritis. These probiotics usually come in supplement forms, but they can also be found naturally in some foods. Dairy products can be a good source of these probiotics.