What is gastritis?

Gastritis (inflammation of the mucosal lining of the stomach) is a digestive system ailment. It is characterised by pre-ulcerative inflammation of the lining of the stomach and atrophying (weakening) of the mucosal membranes.

Gastritis is a condition which needs to be addressed as soon as possible to reduce any further complications to health. If left untreated more chronic conditions may occur such:

  • stomach or gastric ulcers
  • stomach cancer
  • reflux
  • digestive inflammation
  • intestinal permeability (leaky gut).

Digestive complaints such as bloating, heaviness after a meal, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, pain and reflux are all symptoms of insufficient digestive processes. Other conditions such as a decrease in liver function and inadequate digestive enzymes to properly digest the foods you consume are also indicators.

When we ingest foods we produce enzymes in the mouth and stomach which break down the foods and help us to absorb nutrients. If we do not have enough enzymes to break foods down then it sits in the stomach and ferments. This then produces gas and fermentation and causes the stomach to experience discomfort.

For sufferers of Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), eating can be a painful experience. Doctors once recommended a diet consisting of only bland foods. This was helpful to some as it meant the elimination of the foods which aggravated the condition such as spices, fatty foods and fried foods. However there are healthy food choices that can help to soothe and heal the gastric tract. 

Symptoms of gastritis

  • abdominal pain or tenderness
  • discomfort after eating
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting

Causes of gastritis

  • Microorganisms or bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori infection and Candida. It is possible to test yourself to see whether this is a contributing factor
  • Excessive fluoride consumption
  • Aspirin and Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) as they may cause degradation of the stomach lining
  • Recreational drugs
  • Allergies and leaky gut
  • Fungal infections
  • Viruses
  • Insufficient digestive processes
  • Hypochlorhydria (insufficient digestive secretions)
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol or coffee because they irritates the lining of the stomach and reduce digestive enzymes
  • Excessive consumption of dietary fats and lipids
  • Stress causes a decrease in digestive secretions
  • Nutritional deficiencies such as B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Betacarotene, beneficial probiotics, oils and Zinc

Natural remedies for gastritis

The following is a list of foods, herbs and supplements which may be of assistance in reducing the symptoms of gastritis and helping the stomach line to heal. Please remember that the lining has been damaged and inflamed for some time before the symptoms are experienced, this means that healing will take time so don’t expect immediate results. A reduction in the symptoms such as pain will be the indication that the lining is less aggravated.

  • The amino acid Glutamine helps with maintenance of gut barrier function. Glutamine powder (available in health food stores) can be taken daily to improve the integrity of the stomach lining. Mix the following ingredients together and take before meals – glutamine powder, slippery elm, acidophilis powder, Aloe Vera juice and liquid Zinc. The combination of these ingredients can be taken daily to improve the integrity of the stomach lining and help it to heal
  • Slippery elm powder has a regenerating effect on the lining of the stomach, it provides a barrier between the mucus membranes and the digestive acids so that healing can take place
  • Herbs which may be of assistance to soothe and help douse the fire of this inflammatory condition are: Chamomile, Marshmallow, Licorice, Green Tea, Cats Claw, Pinellia and Coptis Root. In Chinese medicine inflammatory digestive problems arise from excessive heat/ fire which needs to be neutralised.
  • B Vitamins (specifically B12) may help to heal the mucosa
  • Aloe vera juice – taken regularly may help to reduce inflammation
  • Vitamin C may help to prevent and treat gastritis (due to its ability to suppress Helicobacter pylori)
  • Zinc is an important mineral for healing and is a common nutrient deficiency
  • Take a probiotic supplement to encourage a healthy balance of good digestive flora and to address Helicobacter pylori or Candida infection and reduce fermentation of foods

Diet tips for gastritis

  • Increase your consumption of soothing (demulcent) foods such as papaya and banana
  • Reduce acidic foods which contribute to inflammation such as tea, coffee, alcohol, soft drinks, dairy, wheat, sugar, refined and processed foods
  • Increase alkalising foods such as miso soup, vegetable juices, lemon juice, green leafy vegetables, sprouts, fish, water and herbal teas
  • Increase Glutamine containing foods- cabbage, papaya, celery, spinach, dandelion greens, lettuce, parsley, cabbage, brussel sprouts and carrots
  • Don’t drink large amounts of liquids 20 minutes prior to eating or after eating as it will dilute the digestive enzymes and reduce digestive function further
  • Don’t eat large amounts of food at each meal, stick to eating smaller meals more often during the day. If you have limited amounts of digestive enzymes then large meals will greatly increase bloating
  • Introduce herbal teas into your diet such as Peppermint, Ginger, Licorice, Fennel and Chamomile to support digestion and reduce symptoms of digestive discomfort
  • Increase your consumption of good oils in the diet to lubricate the lining, reduce inflammation and promote healing. Good oils include raw unheated olive oil (added to salads or meals before serving), flax seed oil, avocados, nuts and seeds and fish oil
  • Dont eat at times when you are feeling stressed
  • Start each day with a small glass of warm water with ½ lemon squeezed in it. Lemon juice increases digestive juices, cleanses the bowels and kick starts the liver to detoxify
  • Make a vegetable juice each day to help alkalise the system and add cabbage juice to it because cabbage contains Substance U which may help to alleviate gastritis and reduce pre-ulcer formation
  • Use Manuka Honey in a warm lemon and ginger drink to help soothe the digestive tract. Manuka honey contains potent anti-microbial and soothing effects to the stomach

Lifestyle tips for gastritis

  • Manage stress
  • Improve nutritional status
  • Address gut bacteria imbalance
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Avoid spicy, sugar, rich and fatty foods

Stress and digestion

If the gastritis is aggravated by stress then consider addressing the nervous system. Long term nervous system stress and the production of stress hormones such as Cortisol cause a feedback to the digestive system and this may result in a reduction of digestive enzyme production.


  • avoid combining too many different foods at one meal
  • meals should be taken at least 2 hours prior to retiring at night
  • eat 4-5 small meals rather than 3 large meals
  • consume more soft foods
  • do not drink liquids around meal times as this diminishes digestive juices in the stomach
  • do not eat if you are stressed, try to create a relaxing environment around meal times
  • chew thoroughly and dont rush your meal
  • keep a food diary to help you to assess which foods irritate your digestion
  • try to consume a bland diet
  • consume a light diet which is easily digestible
  • your stomach can be irritated by foods which increase hydrochloric acid in the gut as the compromised stomach lining can be further irritated.
  • do not over eat as this can place a burden on the already overwhelmed digestive system
  • Choose foods which aim to alkalise the body rather than create acidity
  • Application of heat (hot water bottle) can help to reduce the pain associated with gastritis
  • Remember to continue to eat a diet full of variety, this includes quality foods that will encourage healthy digestion and repair. These include plenty of fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, quality proteins (lean meats) and healthy fats
  • Soak any nuts, grains and legumes you consume as this helps break down the outer layer and also encourages fermentation to begin. This makes them easier to digest and absorb without compromising the digestive process
  • Avoid processed foods in your diet as these have a low value of nutrition and create acid and inflammation in the body. Choose carbohydrates from quality sources such as grains, fruits and vegetables


  • spicy, rich, fried and fatty foods
  • avoid preservatives, colours, flavours and additives
  • alcohol and stimulants
  • deadly nightshades – chillis, tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum
  • sweets, pastries and cakes
  • sugar and highly sweetened foods
  • avoid highly refined and processed foods such as white flour products
  • limit your intake of red meat
  • avoid trans-fatty acids
  • avoid strong processed cheeses, dried fruit, raw fruits and vegetables, wholegrain breads, crackers and pasta, pickles
  • avoid gassy vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and green beans
  • reduce seasonings to your foods spices such as garlic, onions, salt, cinnamon and cloves for example
  • eliminate bread and whole grains
  • avoid dairy products with the exception of a small amount of yoghurt or cottage cheese
  • avoid sulphur dried fruits
  • avoid eating foods which are too hot or too cold
  • avoid tea, coffee and carbonated drinks


  • consume foods which are high in flavonoids such as apples, cranberries, celery and berries
  • eat foods which contain high amounts of B Vitamins
  • choose nourishing foods high in minerals
  • manuka honey
  • slippery elm
  • probiotics
  • yoghurt and cottage cheese
  • plenty of fish in the diet for its anti-inflammatory effects and high low-reactive protein content
  • sweet fruits such as papaya, banana, mango, peaches, pears, apples, melons, berries and kiwi fruits. Combine these with some yoghurt or add them in a smoothie with some coconut milk to boost protein and carbohydrate content. Blended foods such as smoothies are a great way to ensure good health and nutrition when the digestion is compromised as the food is partially broken down already and therefor easier on the digestion to assimilate
  • Include many probiotic and fermented foods in the diet to help to reduce the Helico-bacter pylori infection which can contribute to gastritis. These foods are yoghurt, probiotic powders, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, tempeh, kombucha, kvass, sourdough and kimchi
  • Vegetable juices such as carrot, beetroot and apple is a simple way to ensure adequate anti-oxidant intake which is imperative to help combat the inflammation causing gastritis
  • Vegetables such as sweet potato, carrot and potato are higher in carbohydrates to help maintain weight
  • Coconut water is an excellent choice to help increase hydration, flush the body of inflammation and provide electrolytes. It is beneficial to drink coconut water when the symptoms are flared as it does not tax the digestive system and drinking only coconut water at this time can greatly reduce the pain and inflammation. Coconut water is not high in calories however you may choose to use coconut milk/ cream in your diet also and these foods provide nourishing oils and may help to maintain weight in certain constitutions
  • Choose a low-reactive protein powder which has a balanced ratio of carbohydrates and protein. For example 20g protein and 20g carbohydrate content. Many protein powders contain low carbohydrate levels and are specific for individuals hoping to loose weight, however if you would like to increase body weight then you need to consume a higher level of carbohydrates in the diet. Choose one that contains protein from sprouted grains such as rice as these are easier to assimilate, low-reactive and should not aggravate gastritis. Avoid protein derived from whey as this is a dairy based source and may cause a flare up to your symptoms
  • A blend of avocado and banana together either added to a smoothie or eaten mixed in some cold rice is a nourishing way to increase the oils in your diet but more essentially the calories consumed for the day. Avocado is a highly nutritious food, some cultures believe that you could live your life eating only avocados as they contain a large variety of essential nutrients, oils and proteins with a higher caloric content



  • stewed fruit with yoghurt
  • porridge
  • banana smoothie (add slippery elm powder, almond milk, psyllium husks and manuka honey)
  • scrambled or poached eggs in a soft wrap like a tortilla
  • rice gruel
  • rice pudding
  • coconut and rice flour pancakes


  • steamed vegetables
  • boiled egg
  • warm pumpkin or vegetable soup
  • miso soup with sea vegetables and soft tofu
  • steamed fish
  • baked or broiled chicken


  • fruit salad of apples, pineapple, pears, melons and strawberries
  • yoghurt
  • vegetable broth


  • carrot juice mixed with spinach juice
  • kefir
  • coconut water
  • soft fruit smoothies (bananas, peaches)
  • homemade oat and almond milk
  • barley water
  • bone broth
  • aloe vera juice
  • potato juice


Many people have great success with a diet for three days which is based on only eating fruits, this is close to a fasting diet and can help to quell the irritation of the gastrointestinal lining while helping to recorrect the digestive acids of the gut. This treatment gives the stomach the chance to relax and rest and to restore its balance and function. A complete fast for 3 days is optimal as this ensures that all irritants are stopped and gives the stomach the time to heal.


A loss of appetite can be a secondary complaint with gastritis as often it is quite painful to eat. Choosing foods which are simple and have a high nutritional value will help you correct the problem and reduce your symptoms. Omitting foods from your diet that aggravate the condition means that there is a whole lot of room for highly nutritious foods. Get creative with your cooking and heal the body through the foods you eat. Remember that gastritis is an alarm bell signalling that the digestive system is not happy. Drastic changes to the diet can ensure the reduction of symptoms in the short term but a life long commitment to change in habits reinforces health for the rest of your life.