Gastritis is medical term that means inflammation of the stomach. It can come from many things that disrupt the lining of the stomach. Gastritis can come about after taking drugs for pain, drinking too many alcoholic beverages, having high stress levels, smoking cigarettes and taking medicine for arthritis. If these or those things damage the lining of the stomach, the naturally-occurring stomach acid can harm stomach cells and cause inflammation. Gastritis is also caused by a bacterial infection from a microorganism called Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori for short. Gastritis can be treated with drugs and/or behavioral changes such as dietary changes.
Meal Size and Meal Times
One change to treat gastritis is to avoid overloading the stomach. This is done by controlling the time between meals and the amount eaten at each meal. In general, the size of the meal should be small. It may help to eat a small meal followed by a snack a few hours later. The idea is to give the stomach time to break down some of the food before introducing new food to your stomach. For instance, if you normally eat an 8-ounce steak, a large potato loaded with toppings, and a small salad at one sitting, instead you could eat a 4-ounce serving of meat with the potato. Then three or four hours later, you could eat the salad topped with the other 4 ounces of meat. This would give your stomach ample time to break down the food, reducing the chances of irritating the stomach lining.
To reduce how often and how severe gastritis symptoms are, it may be helpful to avoid or reduce how much one drinks certain beverages. Some potentially problematic drinks include black tea, coffee, soda, orange juice and alcohol. These drinks have high caffeine and/or high acid contents that can irritate the stomach lining. Avoid chocolate drinks such as hot cocoa and chocolate milk as well to make the most of reducing your gastritis symptoms. Alternatively, look for drinks that are naturally low in caffeine, alcohol and acid. These include milk and water. You can also continue to drink those beverages in low-acid or caffeine-free forms. Several manufacturers make low-acid coffee and orange juice, for instance.
Cut down or eliminate foods from your diet that give you gas. While there are some foods that are known to cause gas in many people, there may be some that tend to give you gas in particular. Some well-known gas-causing foods are broccoli, cabbage, beans and peppers. If you don't want to stop eating these foods, you could prepare them in a way that reduces their gas-forming properties. For instance, dry beans, peas and other legumes can be soaked in water to reduce their gasses. They can be either soaked overnight or boiled for two to three minutes, then quick soaked for a few hours. Read the product labels for each legume to find out the specific instructions for soaking.
Fatty foods are notorious for causing uncomfortable stomach symptoms in many people, especially gastritis sufferers. Some fatty meats include lunch meat, ground beef and pork sausage. Dairy products made with whole milk or cream are also very high in fat. If you don't want to completely avoid these foods, consider less fatty alternatives. Ground beef can be purchased with the fat content greatly reduced. Most store-packed ground beef package is labeled with a ratio of two numbers that represent its fat content. A marking of 90/10 tells you the meat is 10 percent fat. Look for more lean ground beef marked with 97/3 or 95/5 for a lower fat content. Dairy products can be purchased in fat-free or reduced fat varieties as well.
Seasonings and Condiments
Highly seasoned foods can cause gastritis symptoms to flare up. Foods like chili, soup and spaghetti tend to be heavily seasoned. Nutmeg, ground pepper, chili powder and cloves can also cause gastritis symptoms. Condiments can irritate the stomach also either due to their acidity, spices or fat content. Go easy when using mustard, gravy and salad dressing. Some alternatives to heavy spices or fatty dips include fresh chopped herbs and cooking foods with their tenderness in mind. For instance, cooking chicken in a slow cooker and adding fresh chopped rosemary can make it flavorful and tender. This can reduce or eliminate the need to cover the meat in sauces or dips.