Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining that causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of fullness after eating. Gastritis has several causes, including lifestyle factors such as drinking too much alcohol or smoking, to medical factors such as H. pylori infection, surgery, traumatic injury, or other conditions like autoimmune diseases. Long-term use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also cause gastritis.

For most people, gastritis isn’t serious and can be managed by over-the-counter medications and dietary changes. Some foods aggravate gastritis symptoms, while some can help ease symptoms and help heal the gut.

Avoid Citrus Fruits and Juices

Citrus fruits are packed full of beneficial vitamins and antioxidants, but people with gastritis should avoid them as much as possible. These foods can cause the stomach to produce excess acid or trigger gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition causing inflammation of the esophagus that has been linked to gastritis. Try replacing high-acid fruits and juices with low-acid options such as melon or pear.

Healthy fruit and vegetable smoothies pilipphoto/ Getty Images


Give Tomatoes the Chop

Like citrus fruits, tomatoes are high in citric acid, which can aggravate gastritis symptoms. Cooking tomatoes does not remove the acid, or its unpleasant effects, so people with gastritis should try to avoid tomatoes altogether during flare-ups. Try replacing tomato sauce with pesto for a gastritis-friendly take on pizza and pasta.

Ripe and unripe tomatoes in the background. Sjo/ Getty Images


Don't Do Dairy

Historically, milk was recommended for people suffering from acid reflux or gastritis due to its soothing effect on the stomach lining. While it may provide temporary relief, milk and other dairy products contain high levels of protein and calcium that actually increase acid production in the stomach, which can exacerbate symptoms. People with gastritis should opt for non-dairy alternatives where possible.

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Be Careful With Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are often cited as a cause of inflammation or blamed for making symptoms worse, though not everyone is affected in this way. For some people, spicy food can irritate the esophagus and stomach lining, which may cause pain. In addition, spicy food often causes heartburn because capsaicin slows down digestion, but this is not the same as gastritis.

Interestingly, research shows capsaicin actually decreases acid production, which may benefit people with acid reflux or gastritis. The relationship between spicy food and gastritis symptoms will differ for everyone; if you want to try incorporating it into a gastritis diet, start with small amounts.

Chilean food. "Picante Caliente" or "spicy hot" with onion, tomatos, chilli aand eggs LarisaBlinova/ Getty Images


Limit Processed Foods

Avoiding processed food is good advice for leading a healthy lifestyle, but it is especially important for people with gastritis. Consuming too much of these foods is linked to type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and an unhealthy digestive system. This is because processed foods are often high in salt, fat, and inflammatory factors like refined carbohydrates.

The high levels of nitrates in heavily processed foods have been linked to chronic gastritis and gastric cancer.

Group of Sweet and Salty Snacks, Perfect for Binge Watching LauriPatterson/ getty Images


Cut Out the Coffee

Coffee has the potential to worsen gastrointestinal symptoms. Like citrus fruits, coffee is an acidic drink and can raise the acidity level in the stomach, exacerbating symptoms, further irritating an already inflamed stomach lining.

People with gastritis should consider eliminating coffee from their diet or limiting their intake. If the reaction is mild, switching to decaf or a lighter roast may also reduce the impact on the digestive system.

A latte is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk. Boy_Anupong/ Getty Images


Say No to Alcohol

Everyone knows that drinking too much alcohol is bad for you. This is particularly significant for people with gastritis, as excessive alcohol consumption is directly linked to gastric inflammation. People with gastritis should avoid alcohol, especially beer, wine, and spirits with sugary or carbonated mixers.

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Eliminate Energy Drinks

Like coffee, energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine, a known irritant of the gastric lining. Many energy drinks are also carbonated and high in sugar and additives that can worsen symptoms of gastritis.

Research specifically into the effect of energy drinks on the digestive system is lacking, but one study demonstrates a clear link between excessive energy drink consumption and chronic gastritis.

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Cut Down on High-Fat Foods

High-fat foods are known to irritate the lining of the digestive tract. One animal study shows that a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet can cause a 63% increase in the likelihood of developing gastritis.

Obesity is also a risk factor for gastritis, so eating a healthy diet is key to avoiding and managing gastrointestinal symptoms. People with gastritis should avoid foods that are naturally high in saturated fat, as well as cooking methods such as frying in too much butter or oil.

Top view of friends having a good time eating burgers with french fries and drinks in a cafe d3sign/ Getty Images


Eat Plenty of Leafy Greens

Fiber is important for digestive health, but people with gastritis need to choose low-acid vegetables to avoid making symptoms worse. Good options include carrots, zucchini, potatoes, and green beans.

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale are great choices because they are rich in iron, which has been shown to help prevent the spread of H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for the majority of gastritis cases.

Young woman holding spinach leafs salad knape/ Getty Images


Choose Low-Acid Fruit

Eating fruit can be a challenge for people with gastritis, as many varieties are very acidic. Melons, apples, pears, and bananas are all great low-acid options, delivering health-giving nutrients and fiber without worsening gastritis symptoms.

One study shows that strawberries, although a high-acid fruit, protect the gastric mucosa from damage due to their high anthocyanin content. More research is needed, but people who can tolerate eating berries may benefit from this.

Young woman collecting apples in the fall ClarkandCompany/ Getty Images


Swap in Whole Grains

Instead of refined carbohydrates, opt for whole grains like brown rice and pasta, oats, barley, and quinoa. Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which is important for digestive health. Some research suggests a link between acid reflux symptoms and a high-carbohydrate diet, so it’s important not to overdo it. Everything in moderation!

Wholegrain bread with gluten free grains on wood Prostock-Studio/ Getty Images


Enjoy Oily Fish

Oily fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Since gastritis is an inflammatory condition, eating oily fish may benefit people with gastritis. Research shows that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can help restore the gastric lining after a bout of gastritis caused by H. pylori infection.

Top view of healthy, antioxidant group of food placed at the center of a rustic wooden table. The composition includes food rich in antioxidants considered as a super-food like avocado, kale, blueberries, chia seeds, coconut, broccoli, different nuts, salmon, sardines, pollen, quinoa, hemp seeds, seaweed, cocoa, olive oil, goji berries, flax seeds, kiwi fruit, pomegranate and ginger. fcafotodigital/ Getty Images


Nibble Some Nuts

Like oily fish, nuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can be beneficial for treating gastritis. Walnuts, in particular, may be effective in treating gastritis caused by H. pylori infection. While nuts are generally high in good fats, even these high-fat foods can be a problem for people with gastritis, so consume them in moderation.

assorted nuts margouillatphotos/ Getty Images


Bring in Some Lean Poultry

Lean poultry is high in protein, low in fat, and easy to digest, making it a great addition to a gastritis-friendly diet. Chicken and turkey are extremely versatile and can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes. To keep the fat content down, roast or bake your meat rather than cooking in butter or oil.

The chef sprinkles fresh raw chicken drumstick with sea salt on a dark background. There are ingredients and spices for cooking nearby VITALII BORKOVSKYI/ Getty Images


Crack Some Eggs

Like poultry, eggs are a good choice for people with gastritis as they are a low-acid, high-protein food that can be incorporated into a variety of meals. Avoid cooking eggs in oil or butter, and eat  them in moderation, as the yolks are quite high in fat. Though research shows many benefits of egg yolks, for people with gastritis, eating just egg whites is a possible alternative.

Cracking eggs into pan Brett Holmes Photography/ Getty Images


Try Probiotics

Probiotic and fermented foods, such as kimchi, kombucha, and live yogurt, are essential for overall gut health and may be especially helpful for treating gastritis. Studies show that probiotics have a role in treating gastritis caused by H. pylori bacteria, but more research is needed to determine which specific probiotics are best.

Glass of homemade Korean Kimchi with chinese cabbage, scallions and carrots Westend61/ Getty Images


Turn to the Spice Cupboard

While some spices irritate the stomach lining and worsen gastritis symptoms, some may have a beneficial effect. Ginger and turmeric are naturally anti-inflammatory and are effective in treating a variety of health concerns, including gastritis.

Peppermint has long been used as an herbal remedy, and studies show that consuming peppermint oil can be helpful for treating a range of gastrointestinal conditions, including inflammation.

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