Fight gastritis with the right foods

Nutrition plays a crucial role in managing gastritis, as certain foods and dietary habits can either alleviate or exacerbate symptoms.
Representational image.
Representational image.

Gastritis is a condition characterised by inflammation of the stomach lining, which can cause discomfort, pain, and digestive issues. It can be triggered by various factors, including infection by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), excessive alcohol consumption, and stress.

Nutrition plays a crucial role in managing gastritis, as certain foods and dietary habits can either alleviate or exacerbate symptoms. A balanced diet tailored to reduce stomach irritation and promote healing is essential for those suffering from gastritis. Understanding which foods to include and which to avoid can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with this condition.

This condition can manifest in various forms — from mild and asymptomatic cases to severe presentations associated with significant morbidity. The current classification of gastritis is based on time course (acute versus chronic), histological features, anatomical distribution, and the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. Gastritis management has progressed due to advancements in diagnosis techniques and treatment options.

The most common causes of gastritis are skipping meals, irregular meal timings, eating too fast, eating leftover food ,and sweet and spicy foods which are rich in fat content. If you do not have any symptoms, you might not need to make changes to your diet (what you eat and drink). If you do have symptoms, making changes to your eating and drinking habits may help improve your symptoms.

Try limiting the following foods and drinks: Alcohol, coffee, carbonated (bubbly or fizzy) drinks, spicy foods, acidic foods (such as citrus fruits), and fried or high-fat foods (such as hamburgers, French fries, bacon, sausage, and salami).

Gastritis management

Eradication therapy serves as the initial treatment option for individuals with dyspepsia who have a documented H pylori infection.

Include more fibre-rich foods: Low dietary fibre intake is associated with decreased stomach and gut motility and delayed gastric emptying, which may contribute to the risk of gastroesophageal reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acidity and heartburn. The ability of dietary fibres to bind nitric oxide contained in food may diminish its negative effect on lower esophagal sphincter pressure.

Probiotics: The gut microbiota includes around 30 species of Bifidobacterium, 52 species of Lactobacillus, and others, such as Streptococcus and Enterococcus. Probiotics are used for treating and/or preventing gastrointestinal diseases such as lactic acid bacteria, namely Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. While these species are non-pathogenic, they can resist the harsh luminal environment of the gastrointestinal tract.

Avoid ultra-processed foods: Try not to eat a lot of ultra-processed foods (foods that are changed from their natural forms and made through industrial processing). These foods have many added ingredients and high levels of sugars, salt, and saturated fat. Examples include fast food (burgers, fries, pizza), candy, cookies, pastries, cakes, cake mixes, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, breakfast cereal, and cereal bars.

After you eat, avoid lying down for a minimum of two hours.

Eat slowly and chew your food properly. Mindful eating without distractions is beneficial to understand your hunger signals.

Choose homemade, balanced meals: Focus on cooking and eating more homemade meals, with minimally processed and whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, beans, lentils, olive oil, herbs and spices, eggs, poultry and small amounts of meat.

Choose small and frequent meals rather than three large meals.

Balanced diet: Include protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats with each meal. You can do this by including three or more food groups with your meal.

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