Gastritis is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the stomach and/or the intestines. It can also be referred to as gastroenteritis or stomach and/or intestinal (peptic) ulcer, and is one of the most common types of gastrointestinal disorders.
Types of Gastritis
There are two primary forms of gastritis-bacterial and viral gastritis. Bacterial gastritis, as its name implies, is caused by bacterial infections in the stomach and/or intestines. The bacterial that is most commonly associated with cases of bacterial gastritis is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which accounts for approximately 93 per cent of all bacterial gastritis cases. Bacterial gastritis tends to be chronic in nature, with symptoms that flare up, then temporarily lessen or subside, before they flare up again.
Viral gastritis, also known as “stomach flu,” is caused by viral infections. Unlike bacterial gastritis, cases of viral gastritis tend to be acute, with symptoms that are more pronounced yet apt to abate much sooner than those of bacterial gastritis once the viral infection has run its course.
A third type of gastritis, known as iatrogenic gastritis, is caused by various medications, especially aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as well as steroids.
The primary symptom of all forms of gastritis is a burning sensation in the upper abdomen that is most pronounced on an empty stomach or about an hour after eating, and can also flare up during the night. Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, as well as fluctuations in appetite.
In addition to bacterial and viral infections, gastritis can also be caused by poor diet, food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, alcohol, smoking, and chronic stress. As mentioned above, various commonly used medications can also cause gastritis, especially NSAIDs. In addition to aspirin, other NSAIDs that are linked to gastritis include Advil, Clinoril, Feldene, Ibuprofen, Nalfon, Nuprin, Orudis, Oruvail, Relafen, and Tolectin. In severe cases of gastritis, internal bleeding can occur due to thinning of the lining of the stomach and/or intestines.
Caution: If you experience internal bleeding and/or experience blood in your stool, seek immediate professional medical attention.
Because what we eat plays such a key role in the curing and prevention of Gastritis, we have included this expanded article outlining the Natural CuresHealing Food Plan, which can be printed out for your easy reference.
Changing your diet
Choosing to upgrade to a healthier diet is one of the most life enhancing decisions you can make, and one that in this day and age is essential to both prevent and reverse illness. This means choosing to eat a selection of foods aimed specifically at healing and avoiding those foods that can undermine your healing process or cause stress to your digestive system. Natural healing foods taste delicious, and have a higher level of nutrients and vibration than the typical meal eaten on the SAD diet, the standard American diet.
Give it time
During the first month or two, allow for a gradual transition from your usual way of eating, to an organic whole foods plan. Be gentle, yet ruthless with yourself, realizing that what you eat has a significant effect on your energy levels, your overall health, and your ability to heal.
What to Eat
Eat the freshest organic fruits and vegetables available, with a strong emphasis on steamed, raw, or juiced dark leafy greens such as kale, collards, chard, bok choy, spinach, and other regional greens. Choose from a broad range of vegetables, rotating your selection and experimenting with a wide variety of fresh seasonal produce. Broccoli, squash, tomatoes and avocados are great staples. Use lettuces of every color and shape to create salads of great variety and diversity. Eat as many raw and lightly steamed vegetables and fresh salads as you can digest.
Note: With digestive issues such as Gastritis, pureed vegetables could be an excellent option for you. Eating blended foods is less work for the system because the food is already partially broken down. Although it is unnecessary to chew blended food, it is still important to move each bite of food around in your mouth before swallowing to activate saliva’s role in digestion.
Enjoy a fist-sized serving of protein per meal, which translates to approximately 2-6 oz of preferably organic protein. Non-vegetarians may choose from free-range poultry, preferably turkey, wild-caught fish that are low in mercury, and the meats of bison, lamb, and cow. Depending on your individual needs, consider limiting your intake of organic red meat to one serving every four days. It is very important to only consume red meat that is organic, due to the toxic build up stored in the fat of flesh. Fish such as blue fish, cod, Greenland halibut, mackerel, and wild caught salmon are excellent sources of both healthy protein and fats. Avoid the following: farm-raised salmon, because of the antibiotics and food dyes they contain; tuna, which is high in mercury; and shellfish, which contain a high degree of contaminants.
Excellent organic vegetarian protein sources include free range eggs, tempeh, occasional tofu, legumes and beans, especially red lentils, French green lentils, and black, aduki and mung beans. When preparing beans for best flavor and easy digestion, we recommend soaking overnight in purified water, draining and then rinsing the beans before cooking. Handful sized servings of soaked and rinsed nuts and seeds, such as hemp, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are especially beneficial. Flax seeds make great additions to smoothies, and also can be ground and dehydrated, or low-heat baked, into delicious crackers.
For sustained energy, eat complex carbohydrates in the form of legumes, red potatoes, squash, yams, and whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat or millet. We suggest limiting your overall carbohydrate intake to 30 percent or less of the foods you eat at each meal. This means increasing your vegetables and protein quantities if necessary, to balance out the complex carbohydrates.
How to prepare and season your food
Steam vegetables in purified water until slightly tender, or lightly sauté in coconut oil, or water and shoyu. Enjoy homemade soups, and try pressure cooking for speed and nutrient retention, especially when experimenting with legumes and beans.
Season veggies and whole cooked grains with fresh and dried herbs, sea salt, or organic soy sauce, also known as shoyu or the wheat-free version, called tamari. Sea Salt is an important addition to the diet, and should replace commercial or refined table salt. Additional seasonings include a wide variety of fresh or dried herbs, gomasio, powdered or chopped sea vegetables, such as dulse, as well as many other interesting powders and condiments found on health food store shelves. Garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, chili peppers, and onions can be enjoyed regularly for their great flavor and immune-boosting properties.
The preferred oil for cooking and/or baking is raw, organic coconut oil. Extra virgin olive oil, high lignin flax seed oil, or hemp seed oil can be drizzled on steamed vegetables, cooked whole grains, and used as the base for homemade salad dressings. Many health stores carry a raw nut butter called tahini, which is made up of pureed sesame seeds; tahini is a delicious healthy plant fat, and makes a great base for salad dressings, dips or spreads. Sprinkle black pepper and ginger on your food to aid digestion.
Live Cultured Foods
Live cultured foods are a delicious and valuable addition to your diet. Eat raw, live cultured vegetables such as unpasteurized sauerkraut, kim chi, as well as cultured dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. Be sure to choose organic dairy products, and choose raw dairy whenever possible. (Look for the soon to be completed recipes for Kefir and yogurt making.)
Freshly made vegetable juices add a powerful nutritional boost to your food plan. Juice made from a wide variety of seasonal vegetables are delicious, and essential to healing, and a great preventative tool when used as an ongoing supplement to any diet. See recipe section for ideas.
Sea Vegetables, Asian Foods and Broths
Asian foods such as miso, ume plum, and a wide array of sea vegetables are fantastic nutrient rich foods. Sea Vegetables vary in flavor and texture, making them fun to experiment with; they also offer an abundance of natural iodine, which is of the utmost of importance to support our glandular systems, especially the thyroid. Miso makes a delicious flavoring in salad dressings, dips, sauces, spreads, and as the classic, miso soup.
Healing broths are packed with delicious live giving minerals and can be sipped like tea or eaten as soup. Make your own delicious vegetable broth simply by cooking down an abundance of fresh organic vegetables in purified water. Miso soup, strained vegetable broth, broths from the seaweeds wakame, hijiki, andkombu, as well as fish and meat broths, are healing and easy to digest, making them especially valuable for any digestive problems.
Throughout the day, drink plenty of pure, filtered water; drink at least half an ounce of water for every pound you weigh. Avoid drinking – as well as bathing, and showering in – unfiltered tap water, as tap water contains heavy metals and pesticide residues that can settle in high concentrations in our organs.
Undergo testing for potential food allergies and sensitivities, and avoid all foods to which you are allergic or sensitive. Common allergy-causing foods include milk and all dairy products, soy, chocolate, corn, and wheat products. Consider a rotation diet or elimination diet in order to further reduce the likelihood of food allergies, especially if you cannot get tested right away.
What to Avoid
Refined Sugar and Flour, Artificial Food, Soy Foods
Eliminate all refined sugar and sugar products, along with empty carbohydrate foods such as commercial white flour, found in white breads, bagels, muffins, pastries, cookies and pastas. Also consider omitting whole grain wheat and wheat byproducts from your diet for several months. Wheat is a highly allergic food, and can be the root cause of a wide variety of digestive troubles. As the weeks go by, notice if you feel better; if yes, consider eliminating wheat for a year, giving your aggravated digestion a long deserved break. Choosing alternatives such as spelt, kamut, and rye will give your body a rest from a lifetime of eating wheat and can offer a major energy boost.
Choose to eat a minimum of processed soy products. By far, the best of all soy foods are fresh or frozen edame and tempeh, a fermented soy product that is less processed and easier to digest than other soy products. Stop eating all “junk” and commercially processed foods, as well as all foods containing artificial ingredients, additives, colorings, flavorings, and preservatives (such as carrageenan, BHA, BHT, sodium nitrite, sulfites, saccharin, aspartame, and cyclamates).
Inorganic Dairy, Excess Caffeine or Alcohol, Hydrogenated Fats
Stay clear of inorganic milk and dairy products, including yogurt and cheese. If consuming dairy, always choose organic dairy products and if available, raw organic dairy products. Toxins are stored in fats, so choosing organic is especially important in the case of dairy and meat.
Minimize your intake of coffee and other caffeine based products, such as soda and soft drinks spiked with caffeine. Avoid commercial non-herbal teas, and excess alcohol. Do not eat saturated, trans-, hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated fats and oils. Margarine and shortening are made from these and are to be eliminated.
To minimize symptoms of gastritis, eat small meals or snacks throughout the day, rather than following the traditional three large meals per day routine.
For some plagued with Gastritis, a raw food diet could be extremely beneficial; for others, raw food may not be the best choice. Each person responds differently based on their individual chemistry and the depth of the condition being healed. To learn more, read about the at-home hydrotherapy treatments. Please seek the advice of your alternative health care practitioner before undergoing these procedures to make sure they are appropriate for you.
Quick Action Plan for Gastritis
1. Avoid all sugars, refined flour products, and carbohydrates, milk and dairy products, processed foods that contain preservatives and artificial sweeteners, alcohol, hydrogenated and trans-fatty oils, as well as foods that are common allergens.
2. Emphasize organic, fresh vegetables and non-citrus fruits, organic grains, as well as organic, free-range meats and poultry and wild-caught fish.
3. Drink plenty of pure, filtered water throughout the day.
4. Miso soup and strained vegetable broth, made from cooking down a variety of organic vegetables, are healing and easy to digest, making them especially valuable for any digestive problems.
5. Certain herbs have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help repair the lining of the stomach and intestines. The best herbs for this are Echinacea and goldenseal, aloe vera, cayenne pepper, chamomile, licorice root, and slippery elm.
6. Soothing baths two to five nights a week can help to relieve symptoms of gastritis.
7. Therapeutic juices include raw cabbage juice by itself, or mixed with either carrot or celery juice; raw potato juice; wheatgrass juice; carrot, spinach juice; carrot juice; carrot, beet cucumber.
8. If you smoke, stop, and avoid exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke.
9. Learn how to effectively cope with and manage stress; deep breathing, meditation, Qi Gong and other calming and grounding movement techniques are very supportive.
10. If you are currently taking aspirin or other NSAIDs, consider replacing them with safer, more effective natural remedies.
11. Nutritional supplements include vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, and zinc, taken with a multivitamin/multimineral formula. Essential fatty acids, especial omega-3 oils, are also recommended, as are bismuth and the amino acid L-glutamine.
12. Allow yourself to receive emotional support to help you embrace some of the common underlying issues identified with Gastritis, such as abandonment, anger, disappointment and rage, which often settle in the gut. Seek out a therapist or other skilled practitioner that can guide you through emotional healing work.
Useful nutritional supplements include vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, and zinc, taken with a multivitamin/multi-mineral formula. Essential fatty acids, especial omega-3 oils, are also recommended, as are bismuth and the amino acid L-glutamine.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
10 Ayurvedic remedies for gastritis: easyayurveda.com/2011/01/05/ayurvedichome-remedies-for-acidity-and-gastritis/
Manuka Honey for treating gastritis: www.naturalnews.com/035959_manuka_honey_healing_medicine.html
Heal gastritis with cabbage: www.naturalnews.com/027454_cabbage_ulcers.html
Ayurvedic home remedy for gastritis: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n4SZoo9saI
Yoga for gastritis: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dadeIZUHEQ
Reflexology and gastritis: www.reflexologyresearch.net/ReflexologyStomachResearch.shtml
Reducing symptoms of gastritis through diet: www.healthcommunities.com/ulcers/diet-gastritis-ulcers_jhmwp.shtml
Broccoli sprouts reduce gastritis: cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/2/4/353.abstract
Potassium deficiency may lead to excess acid: www.naturalnews.com/022589_potassium_diet_deficiency.html
Strawberries may protect the stomach lining: www.naturalnews.com/034444_strawberries_alcohol_digestive_system.html
Healing properties of cat’s claw: www.naturalnews.com/032917_cats_claw_herb.html
Eating right for a Bad Gut, James Scala
Gastrointestinal Health, Steven Perkin MD
Gut Reaction, Gudrun Jonsson
Natural Alternatives to Nexium, Maalox, Tagamet, Prilosec & Other Acid Blockers: What to Use to Relieve Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and Gastric Ailments by Martie Whittekin
Natural Stomach Care: Treating and Preventing Digestive Disorders with the Best of Eastern and Western Healing Therapies by Anil Minocha
Healthy Digestion the Natural Way: Preventing and Healing Heartburn, Constipation, Gas, Diarrhea, Inflammatory Bowel and Gallbladder Diseases, Ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and More by Lindsey Berkson.
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – meditation, stress
Judith Hoad [email protected] – herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic Practitioner.