Best and Worst Foods for Gastritis

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Jennifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN on October 1, 2021
  • Strawberry Applesauce
    What to Eat—and Avoid—When You Have Gastritis
    Gastritis, or irritation and inflammation of the stomach lining, can cause indigestion, abdominal pain, bloating and nausea. You can avoid (or minimize) many of these symptoms by cutting back on or eliminating foods that irritate your digestive system. Increasing your intake of non-irritating healthy foods can help your body heal and promote healthy digestion.

    Always seek medical care for gastritis symptoms. Without treatment, gastritis can cause ulcers or even lead to stomach cancer.

    If you’re dealing with a bout of gastritis, eating well requires knowing the impact of milk, caffeinated beverages, and probiotic foods on the stomach. Here are some of the best and worst foods for gastritis.
  • Man drinking milk
    Worst: Milk
    Doctors used to routinely recommend milk as part of a gastritis diet. The idea was milk would coat the inside of the stomach, providing some relief. However, further research found that ingesting milk increases the production of stomach acid, which can worsen gastritis symptoms. Any relief gastritis sufferers experience after drinking a glass of milk is likely to be temporary; within a half hour, symptoms are usually worse, not better.
  • Saying no to alcohol
    Worst: Alcohol
    Alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine and mixed drinks, irritate the lining of the stomach and may worsen gastritis symptoms. In fact, drinking too much alcohol over time can cause gastritis. A 2002 study found physical symptoms of gastritis in 100% of patients who drank alcohol chronically over five years or more.

    If you are experiencing gastritis, it’s best to avoid alcohol until your symptoms have resolved; then, drink no more than 1 to 2 drinks per day. (If you have severe gastritis, it may be best to give up alcohol.)
  • smiling-boy-eating-apple-at-family-picnic
    Best: Apples
    Apples contain flavonoids, which have an antioxidant effect in the body and may inhibit the growth of H. pylori, a type of bacteria that commonly causes gastritis and stomach ulcers. Apples are also high in fiber, and a high-fiber diet is beneficial for people with gastritis.

    Other flavonoid-containing foods include celery, onions and garlic. Try incorporating these ingredients into your meals whenever possible. (Celery, onions and garlic are great together in soups and stir fries!)
  • hand holding cranberries
    Best: Cranberries
    Like apples (and celery, onions and garlic), cranberries contain flavonoids. Fresh cranberries, canned cranberries and cranberry juice are all good choices for people with gastritis.

    Be careful, though: if you take a blood-thinner, cranberry may further increase your risk of bleeding. Cranberry can also affect your body’s ability to absorb certain prescription medicines. If you take any medications on a regular basis, talk with your healthcare provider before adding cranberry to your diet.
  • man-reading-book-at-table
    Worst: Coffee
    Unfortunately for some people, gastritis and coffee are not a good combination. The caffeine in coffee may help you get moving in the morning, but it also causes the stomach to secrete more gastric acid, which may increase irritation. Unfortunately, decaf coffee isn’t a great substitute, either; evidence shows decaffeinated coffee can cause stomach irritation as well.

    If you have mild gastritis, you may be able to tolerate a cup of coffee without problems. If coffee triggers discomfort, though, cut back on your intake.
  • pouring cola into a glass
    Worst: Cola
    Like coffee, cola typically contains caffeine, which triggers increased production of gastric acid. Cola is also naturally acidic. Some people with gastritis can tolerate small amounts of cola or other caffeinated or caffeine-free carbonated soft drinks, but you’re better off avoiding soda all together.

    Better beverage options include water, cranberry juice, and green tea, which has been linked to a decreased risk of gastritis and stomach cancer.
  • Healthy eating fit woman
    Best: Yogurt
    Yogurt contains probiotics, so-called ‘good’ bacteria that promote gut health and may inhibit the growth of H. pylori. Look for yogurt that contains S. thermophilus or L. bulgaricus. You may also want to look on the packaging for a seal that says ’Live & Active Cultures’; this seal indicates the product has at least 100 million live cultures per gram at the time of manufacture.

    Other beneficial probiotic-containing foods include kefir (a fermented milk drink), kimchi and sauerkraut.
Gastritis Diet | Best and Worst Foods for Gastritis

About The Author

Jennifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN is a Registered Nurse-turned-writer. She’s also the creator of BuildingBoys.net and co-creator/co-host of the podcast On Boys: Real Talk about Parenting, Teaching & Reaching Tomorrow’s Men. Most recently, she is the author ofThe First-Time Mom's Guide to Raising Boys: Practical Advice for Your Son's Formative Years.
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  5. Gastritis. Penn State Hershey. http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=000067
  6. Treating the Effects of Alcoholic Gastritis. American Addiction Centers. https://www.alcohol.org/comorbid/gastritis/
  7. Setiawan V, Zhan, Z, Yu G, et al. Protective effect of green tea on the risks of chronic gastritis and stomach cancer. Int J Cancer. 2001;92(4):600-604. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11304697
  8. Your Complete Guide to Choosing a Yogurt to Meet Your Needs. Harvard Medical School. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/your-complete-guide-to-choosing-a-yogurt-to-meet-your-needs


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Last Review Date: 2021 Oct 1
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