What to eat and drink when you have gastritis?

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Gastritis refers to a more or less severe inflammation of the stomach lining, which may cause heartburn, nausea, bloating, abdominal pain and a feeling of heaviness after meals. Its treatment generally includes very specific medications, but power adjustment can also play a crucial role in managing symptoms and healing the stomach lining. What foods should you prioritize? And on the contrary, which foods are best to avoid? What about drinks? Insights from Marie Behar, dietitian nutritionist specializing in digestive disorders and doctor of Public Health.

Acute or chronic gastritis: adopt good food hygiene!

First of all, let us remember that the acute gastritis manifests suddenly and is often due to factors such as bacterial or viral infections, irritating medications or extreme stress, causing severe symptoms. There chronic gastritis, it manifests itself over a prolonged period: it is a continuous inflammation of the gastric mucosa associated with a persistent bacterial infection or with chronic irritating factors such as excessive consumption of alcohol or regular use of certain drugs. Its symptoms are often less severe, but can lead to serious complicationssuch as a gastric ulcer.

To relieve these two conditions and promote their healing, it is essential to adopt a healthy lifestyle and respect certain major dietary principles:

  • Split your meals : Eat smaller portions more frequently throughout the day, rather than large meals (this can help reduce pressure on the stomach and prevent heartburn). “We generally recommend five to six food intakes per day in case of gastritis, three main meals plus two or three snacks on the side,” recommends Marie Behar.
  • Avoid going to bed immediately after eating : try to stay standing or sitting for at least 2 to 3 hours after eating to allow digestion to occur properly.
  • As far as possible, don't skip meals et eat at regular times. “This helps regulate the production of gastric acid: regular, balanced meals help maintain a good gastric pH, reducing the risk of irritation of the stomach mucosa,” assures the dietitian nutritionist.
  • Avoid irritating foods (spicy, fatty, fried, sour), favor foods that are easy to digest (vegetable purees, fruit compotes, oatmeal) and take the time to chew well before swallowing to facilitate the work of the stomach and limit the production of stomach acid. “Ideally, opt for a Mediterranean diet,” advises Marie Behar.
  • Identify your food triggers : By keeping a food diary you can more easily identify foods that trigger or aggravate your symptoms and avoid them as much as possible.
  • Drink enough water throughout the day to maintain good hydration and avoid drinking too much fluid during meals to avoid overloading your stomach.
  • Finally, if you suffer from gastritis, it is important to consult a doctor or nutritionist for recommendations specific to your condition and nutritional needs.

Inflammation of the stomach: which foods to favor in case of gastritis?

In case of gastritis, it is better to favor foods that soothe the inflammation of the gastric mucosa, while providing essential nutrients, notes the dietitian nutritionist.

  • Foods rich in soluble fiber, such as fresh fruits, green vegetables, whole grains (unrefined) and legumes protect the stomach, reducing excess stomach acid, inflammation and symptoms of gastritis. They also help to maintain the good balance of the intestinal microbiota, which is beneficial for digestive health. Choose asparagus tips, carrots, tomatoes, peppers and peeled zucchini, dried vegetables, fruits (apples, pears, bananas, etc.), dried beans, peas, mangoes, etc.
  • Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acidssuch as fatty fish (salmon, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring), flax seeds or oil, chia seeds or oil, walnuts or walnut oil may have anti- inflammatory drugs which help reduce inflammation of the stomach in cases of gastritis.
  • Foods rich in antioxidants, such as colorful fruits and green or orange vegetables, can also help reduce inflammation and protect the stomach lining from free radical damage. Bet for example on: berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries), apricots, melons, watermelons, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, peaches, spinach, leek whites, carrots, salad, squash, etc.
  • Foods that have an alkalizing effect on the body when they are digested and metabolized (alkaline foods) are also interesting: focus on green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, kale, lettuce, cucumber, celery), root vegetables (carrots, beets, radishes), fresh herbs (parsley, basil, cilantro), fruits (avocados, watermelons, cantaloupes, grapes), seaweed, etc.
  • Low-fat foodssuch as lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish), low-fat dairy products and plant proteins found in legumes, are also easier to digest and less likely to irritate the gastric mucosa.
  • Finally, foods containing probioticssuch as natural yogurt, kefir, miso or even tempeh, cheeses with moldy rinds (camembert, brie, etc.) and blue-veined cheeses (roquefort, blue, etc.), which can restore the balance of intestinal flora disrupted by gastritis.

These recommendations are only protective in the long term and their effectiveness may vary from one person to another. It is therefore preferable to consult a health professional to benefit from appropriate advice! Marie Behar, dietitian nutritionist specializing in digestive disorders and doctor of Public Health

What breakfast to take in case of gastritis?

If you suffer from gastritis, it is important to choose the right foods for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For example, you can bet on:

  • Oatmeal gentle on the stomach and rich in soluble fiber which helps soothe the stomach. You can cook them in water or almond, soy, or rice milk for a gentler alternative to cow's milk.
  • Natural yogurt or kefir contain probiotics that benefit digestive health (be sure to choose varieties without added sugar).
  • Focus on fruits that are gentle on the stomach, such as bananaswhich can help soothe inflammation.
  • Opt for wholemeal bread, rather than white bread, because it is richer in fiber and may be gentler on the stomach. Be careful to limit toppings that are too spicy or too fatty.
  • Don't deprive yourself of compote : Cooked apples are gentler on the stomach than raw apples and applesauce without added sugar can be a good option.
  • Scrambled eggs or boiled eggs are also a good source of light protein.
  • In addition, you can drink chamomile or herbal tea : These drinks are soothing to the stomach and can help relieve the symptoms of gastritis.

Diet: what foods to avoid when you have gastritis?

As noted above, it is best to limit or even completely avoid certain foods that can worsen stomach inflammation or increase stomach acid. Avoid:

  • Spicy foods, which can irritate the stomach lining and increase inflammation in the stomach, making gastritis symptoms worse. So, it is better to avoid spicy dishes, hot sauces and strong condiments like black pepper, hot paprika, hot curry, chili peppers, etc. Don't forget to be wary of condiments like mustard, hot, smoked, sour or acidic sauces.
  • Foods high in fat, which may be more difficult to digest and can increase stomach acid production, making gastritis symptoms worse. It is therefore recommended to avoid fried foods, cold cuts, fatty meats, high-fat dairy products such as full-fat dairy products and processed foods containing trans fats.
  • Cream pastries, candies and syrups.
  • Acidic foods, which can irritate the stomach lining and increase stomach acid, making gastritis symptoms worse. It is therefore advisable to avoid citrus fruits (such as sour apples, oranges, lemons and grapefruit), tomatoes and vinegary foods (be careful of pickles and pickled foods).
  • Foods too hot or too coldwhich can be irritating to the already sensitive gastric mucosa.

What drinks should you choose to relieve gastritis?

Here again, it is recommended to favor drinks which are not likely to irritate the gastric mucosa. “ Plain water is the best drink to stay hydrated while sparing your stomach. Drink throughout the day, in small quantities, to avoid overloading the stomach,” advises Marie Behar.

You can bet on coconut water or sweet herbal teas herbal like chamomile, licorice or peppermint.

Fresh non-acidic vegetable juices et sweet fruit juices (bananas, mangoes, papaya) diluted with a little water can also be consumed in moderation and away from meals. However, avoid citrus juices and very acidic juices which can aggravate the symptoms of gastritis.

Alternatives to cow's milk, such as almond milk or rice milk, may be better tolerated by people suffering from gastritis. ​

Alcohol, soft drinks, caffeine… What drinks to avoid in case of gastritis?

As you will have understood, it is better to avoid certain drinks which can aggravate stomach inflammation and/or increase gastric acidity:

  • Fizzy drinks ;
  • Energy drinks et spice-flavored drinks ;
  • Alcoholic drinksespecially strong spirits like vodka, whiskey or rum;
  • Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, black tea and green tea (better to opt for decaffeinated drinks);
  • Citrus juicessuch as orange juice, grapefruit juice or lemon juice (best to avoid them or dilute them in water).

“All of these drinks can accentuate the irritation of the stomach lining and increase the production of stomach acid, which can worsen the symptoms of gastritis,” warns Marie Behar. It is therefore better to avoid them – or at least limit their consumption.

Reminder: how long does gastritis last and how to treat it?

The duration of gastritis may vary from person to person depending on several factors, including the underlying cause of the gastritis, the severity of the symptoms, the treatment given, and how the person responds to the treatment. Acute gastritis can last a few days to a few weekswhile chronic gastritis can last for several months or even years if the underlying cause is not addressed!

Management is generally based on the adoption of appropriate dietary measures, the avoidance of irritants such as the tobacco et certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), stress management et taking antacids prescribed by your doctor. And if your symptoms persist or worsen, do not hesitate to consult again or seek a second medical opinion!

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