After eating a heavy meal (or just watching the news), you may have experienced indigestion—discomfort or burning between your ribs—which means you’re having trouble digesting that particular meal. Gastritis is a different and potentially more serious problem but can be understood just as easily.

What is Gastritis?

Your stomach breaks down the food you eat using powerful acid. A membrane lines the stomach and produces a thick mucus to prevent the acid from damaging the stomach.

Gastritis is a condition where the stomach lining becomes inflamed, allowing stomach acid (almost as powerful as battery acid!) to irritate and damage the stomach wall. If untreated, gastritis can lead to ulcers.

The most common symptoms of gastritis are a burning ache in your stomach, nausea, vomiting, and an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen after eating.

What Causes Gastritis?

Gastritis is caused by weakness in the stomach lining. The weak lining can’t contain the acid stomach properly, leading to damage and inflammation. In addition, a bacterial infection called H. pylori may also cause gastritis.

Various risk factors influence how likely you are to experience gastritis. Some factors you can’t control, such as age and genetics; some people might develop gastritis because of an autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself.

The good news is that you can address many risk factors:

  • Overuse of NSAID pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Intense and sustained stress

For most people, gastritis isn’t serious and can be prevented or solved with noninvasive treatments.

What NOT to do for Gastritis

First off, before you try to add in natural cures, try to eliminate foods and substances that could be causing the problem.

Follow an anti-inflammatory diet and eat lighter meals—it’s not fancy, but it’s effective: lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and beans and legumes. Avoid added sugars and reduce your consumption of greasy and processed foods.

Don’t use NSAIDS when you need temporary pain relief. Find ways to eliminate stressors and work on relieving your stress with meditation, deep breathing, or exercise. See if you can cut your alcohol consumption by half.

Don’t smoke. Smoking can damage your stomach lining, increasing your risk for gastritis.

Natural Remedies for Gastritis

  • Garlic: Research suggests that a garlic supplement may reduce the symptoms of gastritis. Crushing raw garlic and eating it may also help.

  • Black and Green Tea: One study showed that drinking green or black tea at least once a week could reduce a person’s susceptibility to H. pylori—the gastritis-causing bacteria.

Your doctor can guide you if you need further intervention, but hopefully you’ll be able to control gastritis on your own with a few simple changes in your habits and diet.

Let’s get healthier, together,

Your friends at Santo Remedio

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