What to Eat If You Have Gastritis

Dietary Recommendations for Better Management

Bowl of white rice with salmon, eggs, cucumber, and carrots

Verywell / Zorica Lakonic

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Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining. This painful condition causes indigestion, bloating, nausea, and burning stomach pain. Symptoms are often worse after eating fatty or spicy foods.

Following a gastritis diet is recommended to ease symptoms and prevent a worsening of the condition. The key to the gastritis diet is to avoid acidic and spicy foods and eat low-acid, low sugar foods instead.

This article explains the gastritis diet, what you eat, and what foods you should avoid. This article also discusses other ways to manage gastritis symptoms and prevent complications.

Benefits

The gastritis diet is designed to ease symptom flare-ups and prevent the condition from worsening.

The broad goal of a gastritis diet is to reduce stomach inflammation. Inflammation in the stomach lining causes a breakdown in the production of protective mucus.

Gastric juice is an acidic liquid that breaks down food during digestion. Mucus coats the stomach lining to prevent damage from gastric juice. If there's not enough mucus, ulcers and other complications can occur, including:

  • Anemia, a lack of oxygen-carrying red blood cells due to bleeding
  • Pernicious anemia or B12 deficiency, due to poor absorption of B12
  • Peritonitis, a potentially fatal condition in which ulcers break a hole through the stomach wall, causing stomach contents to leak into the abdominal cavity
  • Stomach cancer

Managing gastritis symptoms through diet can help prevent gastritis from progressing into more serious health problems. 

In addition, the gastritis diet may also help ease pregnancy-related nausea and heartburn.  

Recap

The gastritis diet reduces the stomach inflammation of gastritis. This helps to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.

How It Works

The general recommendation of a gastric diet is to avoid eating foods or drinking beverages that commonly cause stomach irritation. This includes spicy food, coffee, alcohol, and acidic fruits.

The foods you can eat on the gastric diet are rather flexible. People may react differently to specific foods. As long as a particular food doesn't cause you a problem, you can enjoy it.

You may find that some foods on the "avoid" list may not cause symptoms for you in small portions or occasional splurges. Alternately, some people may have trouble with a food that is on the "approved" list.

In short: If a food makes your symptoms worse, don't eat it. 

Work with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to develop a gastritis diet plan that meets your needs.

Duration

Gastritis is often a temporary condition, but it can be long-lasting. How long you’ll need to stick to a gastritis diet depends on several factors:

  • The cause of your gastritis
  • How long your symptoms last
  • Which symptoms you have and how severe they are
  • Other treatments your healthcare provider prescribes
  • Your response to treatment

A person with an acute (short-term) case of gastritis may not need to follow the diet for more than a few weeks or months. In some cases, simply removing a specific trigger, such as alcohol or over-the-counter pain relievers (NSAIDs), is enough to stop the inflammation and uncomfortable symptoms.

Gastritis that is caused by an underlying health condition may require staying on the gastritis diet long-term. People who are prone to stomach irritation often find that simply avoiding caffeine and spicy meals is enough to prevent their symptoms from returning.

For mild or occasional symptoms, you might be able to "cheat" on the gastritis diet once in a while without symptoms.

Recap

The gastritis diet eliminates foods that cause stomach irritation and inflammation. This includes spicy foods, coffee, alcohol, and acidic fruits and vegetables.

Depending on the cause, symptoms, and response to treatment, you may only need to follow the gastritis diet for a few weeks or it may be a long-term eating plan.

What to Eat

Approved
  • Beans and legumes (as tolerated)

  • Eggs, egg whites, or egg substitutes (not fried)

  • Seafood, shellfish (not fried)

  • Honey

  • Low-acid vegetables (cucumber, white potato, carrots)

  • Low-sugar, low-acid fruit (pumpkin, blueberries, strawberries, apples)

  • Mild, low-salt cheese

  • Oats, barley

  • Peppermint, ginger, turmeric

  • Plain, low-fat yogurt

  • Probiotic-rich foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha)

  • Rice

  • Skinless, lean poultry (chicken, turkey)

  • Whole grain bread and pasta

Avoid
  • Acidic fruits (citrus) and vegetables (onion)

  • Alcohol

  • Chocolate

  • Coffee and tea

  • Corn and products made with corn

  • Dairy products

  • Energy drinks

  • Fatty/greasy food, fast food, spicy food

  • Fried eggs

  • Garlic (ok in small amounts, as tolerated)

  • Ice cream, cakes, and pastries, baked goods

  • Marinades, salsa, mayonnaise, creamy sauces

  • Nuts and nut butter (small amounts may be tolerated)

  • Potato chips, packaged snacks

  • Processed meat (sausage, hot dogs), lunch meat

  • Red meat, duck, goose

  • Refined grains, fresh bread, pasta made with refined flour

  • Smoked meats

  • Soda, carbonated beverages

  • Spices, including black pepper, chili powder, mustard seed, nutmeg, and red pepper

  • Tomato and tomato products (juice, paste, sauce)

Fruits and Vegetables

Avoid acidic produce, such as citrus fruit and tomatoes. In addition, avoid vegetables used to add flavor and spice, such as onions and hot peppers.

Choose low-acid fruits and veggies. Apples, berries, pumpkin, and carrots are good options that are also good sources of fiber.

Grains

Include whole grains, like bread, brown rice, and pasta. These are ideal foods because they are bland and have fiber, which is important for gastrointestinal health. Oats, barley, and quinoa are other nutritious options.

However, if you are experiencing symptoms that make eating difficult, plain white rice or white potato can be easier to digest

Avoid corn and anything made from corn, such as cornbread, certain gluten-free pasta, and other products.

Dairy

Fat can irritate the gastric lining and cause symptoms. Avoid full-fat dairy products. You can include low-fat dairy products. Low-fat, low-sugar yogurt is a good option. Look for a brand that contains gut-healthy probiotics. You may be able to tolerate some hard cheeses in small portions. 

Avoid sauces, fillings, or puddings made with rich, heavy cream or soft cheeses. If you indulge on a special occasion, keep your portions small.

Protein

Eggs, egg whites, and egg substitutes are excellent sources of protein any time of day. Avoid preparing them with butter, milk, and seasoning (even black pepper). And skip the side of salty, processed breakfast meat like bacon or sausage.

Avoid red meat, which is high in fat and can cause gastritis symptoms. Choose lean poultry and grilled or broiled seafood (not fried).

Nuts and nut butter are high in protein, but also high in fat. This can be problematic for some people with gastritis. Legumes and beans are high in protein and fiber, which can sometimes aggravate symptoms. Keep portions small at first to see what you are able to tolerate. 

Desserts

Foods high in fat or sugar can cause symptoms and should be avoided on the gastritis diet. This includes baked goods, pastries, ice cream, puddings, and chocolate.

Berries with a low-fat non-dairy whipped topping or fat-free ricotta cheese make a sweet dessert that shouldn't irritate your stomach.

Ingredients used in desserts that may soothe a stomach include a little honey, ginger, peppermint, and turmeric.

Beverages

Avoid caffeine, sugary drinks, soda, energy drinks, acidic juices (orange or tomato juice), and alcohol, including wine, beer, and cocktails.

While you should avoid caffeine, some people with mild gastritis can tolerate weak tea or coffee with a splash of low-fat milk or non-dairy creamer.

Water, herbal tea, non-dairy milk, and low-sugar/low-acid juices are your best options.

When to Eat

When your digestive system is under stress or not working at its best, the amount of food you eat and how long you go between meals may contribute to irritation. 

If you are prone to having an upset stomach due to gastritis, you may find it helpful to change the timing of your meals and snacks. Try eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day as opposed to sitting down to three larger ones. 

If you don’t feel as satisfied when eating less at each meal, add a couple of healthy snacks throughout the day.

Modifications

If you have other health conditions with their own dietary restrictions, you may need to adjust the gastritis diet. Gastritis is often caused by medical conditions, certain medications, and lifestyle factors.

While there is a long list of foods to avoid on the gastritis diet, there is still plenty of variety to choose from. The gastritis diet is easily modified to fit personal food preferences and health conditions. These include:

  • Celiac and gluten sensitivity: Gluten-free pasta and other foods are often made from corn, which should be avoided if you have gastritis. Be sure to read the ingredient label on gluten-free foods.
  • Diabetes: Talk to your healthcare provider about how to treat low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). While sugar is not recommended on the gastritis diet, you may need glucose at times to raise low blood sugar. If possible, avoid orange juice, soda, chocolate, or baked goods. Glucose tabs, non-acidic fruit, apple juice, maple syrup, or honey are better alternatives that should not cause gastritis symptoms.
  • Food allergies: There is a wide variety of foods to choose from on the gastritis diet. Just avoid eating food you are allergic to.
  • Multiple medical conditions: If you manage one or more medical conditions that are affected by what you eat, talk to your healthcare provider about prioritizing your dietary needs.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: You have increased nutritional needs at these times, so work with your healthcare provider or dietitian to make sure you're getting enough calories and nutrients in your diet.
  • Vegetarian diets: Most plant-based proteins are approved on the gastritis diet. Check with your healthcare provider or nutritionist to ensure you get enough protein.

Cooking Tips

The gastritis diet restricts fat. Fried food, butter, and heavy cream should be avoided on the gastritis diet because they can aggravate inflammation of the stomach lining.

Low-fat cooking methods are less likely to irritate the stomach. These include:

  • Baking
  • Boiling
  • Poaching
  • Steaming

The gastric diet also restricts flavorful foods and seasonings commonly used in cooking. These include:

  • Black pepper
  • Chili pepper
  • Garlic
  • Hot peppers
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Onions
  • Red pepper
  • Tomatoes
  • Sugar

Avoid using these ingredients that can irritate gastritis. Be sure to also check the ingredients list on any packaged seasonings, dressings, glazes, or marinades you use.

Other herbs and spices, such as basil, oregano, sage, and tarragon, are less likely to cause stomach irritation. Some spices, like ginger and turmeric, may even ease stomach upset.

Considerations

Changing your diet can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be stressful. Meal planning and preparing meals in advance can help keep you on track. Keep a stash of safe meals in your freezer to heat up instead of getting takeout.

If you find it difficult to stick to the diet or feel deprived over the food you shouldn't eat, talk to your healthcare provider. They may recommend a therapist who works with people who have food issues.

General Nutrition

The gastritis diet can provide all of your nutritional needs. The key is to eat a wide variety of approved foods whenever possible.

It can help to talk to a dietitian who can help you prepare a well-rounded meal plan based on the guidelines of the gastritis diet and your personal dietary preferences.

Avoiding foods that cause stomach irritation should make you feel better physically. This should help keep you motivated.

In addition, many of the foods on the gastritis diet are nutritionally dense and heart-healthy. Avoiding heavily processed foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt can also improve your overall health.

Safety

The gastritis diet is safe for most people and not overly restrictive. You can also adapt your meal plans if you are following a special diet. 

If you have chronic gastritis or an ongoing medical condition that you take medicine for, talk to your healthcare provider about your diet and any nutritional supplements you take.

Most medications used to treat gastritis are not likely to interact with foods on the approved list. However, it is always a good idea to discuss dietary changes with your healthcare provider. There is always a potential for foods and drinks to affect certain drugs.

Medications

Tums, Rolaids, Mylanta, and Alka-Seltzer can relieve symptoms of gastritis. However, taking them with calcium-containing foods can make these antacids ineffective.

Drinking alcohol can interact with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) prescribed to treat gastritis. PPIs reduce the amount of stomach acid, while alcohol increases acid production. This can worsen symptoms of gastritis or make the condition worse. 

Common PPIs include:

  • Prilosec
  • Nexium
  • Prevacid
  • Protonix

Pepcid, another type of acid-reducing medication, is also less effective when combined with alcohol. 

Gastritis caused by infection with the bacteria H. pylori may require antibiotics. These can interact with foods or drinks. Certain classes of antibiotics also interact with medications used to treat gastritis. 

Socializing

How food factors into your social life, such as dining out with friends or holiday meals, may need to be tweaked.

The following tips can help when dining out, attending parties, or holiday dinners:

  • Before going to a restaurant, check the menu online.
  • Get in the habit of letting your server or host know about your dietary restrictions.
  • Grilled, broiled, or poached fish or poultry with a side of grains and vegetables are generally good options.
  • Steer clear of dishes labeled "blackened"—the pepper and other spices used can inflame your stomach.
  • Garlic, onion, pepper, and tomatoes are common ingredients that can be problematic for people with gastritis. Ask if meals contain these ingredients or if they can be omitted.
  • Ask for dressing, sauce, or gravy on the side.
  • If you choose to eat something that can aggravate gastritis, don't overdo it and indulge in only one thing at a time. For instance, if you want to have cake for your birthday, keep your main meal low-fat and bland.
  • Bring antacids or other symptom-relieving medications with you. Even if you are careful to order safe foods, they may contain ingredients (like black pepper) that can spur symptoms.

Summary

Gastritis—Inflammation of the stomach lining—is a painful condition that is treated with diet and medication.

The gastritis diet eliminates fat, sugar, certain spices (like garlic and pepper), and acidic fruits and vegetables (like oranges and tomatoes). These foods commonly irritate the stomach lining. 

Following the gastritis diet eases symptoms such as burning stomach pain, indigestion, and nausea. The diet can also prevent further complications, including anemia, peritonitis, and stomach cancer. 

A Word From Verywell

When you have gastritis, you become painfully aware of what, when, and how much you eat. Following the gastritis diet can greatly reduce symptoms and prevent the condition from getting worse.

While the diet restricts many foods, there is still a wide variety of options to choose from in each food group. The diet may have a learning curve in the beginning, but many people find the symptom relief is well worth it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I eat eggs with gastritis?

    Yes, plain eggs are a good source of protein to eat when you have gastritis. A few caveats: Avoid eggs that are fried, cooked in butter, or mixed with cheese. Pepper and other spices can aggravate the stomach lining. If dining out, be sure to specify no pepper.

  • Are potatoes safe to eat if you have gastritis?

    Yes, potatoes are a bland food and are unlikely to aggravate gastritis. However, people with gastritis should avoid excess fat, so skip French fries and instead opt for baked, roasted, or boiled potatoes served with little or no butter.

  • What spices should be avoided when you have gastritis?

    Spices to avoid when you have gastritis include all types of pepper (black, red, cayenne, or chili pepper), garlic, mustard, and nutmeg. People with gastritis should also avoid tomato products, onions, and sugar.

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6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine. Gastritis.


  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Gastritis. Published August 18, 2019.

  • NHS Choices. Gastritis. Published 2019.

  • Sipponen P, Maaroos HI. Chronic gastritisScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. 2015;50(6):657-667. doi:10.3109/00365521.2015.1019918