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( By Dr. H.K.Bakhru )

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Gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach. It is a troublesome condition which may lead to many complications, including ulcers if not treated in time. Constipation aggravates the condition more than any other disorder.

The inflammatory lesions may be either acute erosive gastritis or chronic atrophic gastritis. The latter type has been found to be present in half the patients suffering from severe iron deficiency anaemia.


The main symptoms of gastritis are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headache and dizziness. There is also pain and a feeling of discomfort in the region of the stomach. In more chronic cases, there is a feeling of fullness in the abdomen especially after meals. The patients complains of heartburn. Prolonged illness often results in loss of weight, anaemia and occasional haemorrhage from the stomach. There may be an outpouring of mucus and a reduction in the secretion of hydrochloric acid during acute attacks and also in most cases of chronic gastritis.


The most frequent cause of gastritis is a dietetic indiscretion such as habitual overeating, eating of badly combined or improperly cooked foods, excessive intake of strong tea, coffee or alcoholic drinks, habitual use of large quantities of condiments, sauces, etc. It may sometimes follow certain diseases such as measles, diptheria influenza, virus pneumonia, etc. Frequently, it also results from worry, anxiety, grief and prolonged tension. Use of certain drugs, strong acids and caustic substances may also give rise to gastritis.

Dietary Treatment

The patient should undertake a fast in both acute and chronic cases. In acute cases, the patient will usually recover after a short fast of two or three days. In chronic condition, the fast may have to be continued for a longer period of seven days or so. In the alternative, short fasts may be repeated at an interval of one or two months, depending on the progress being made.

The fast may be conducted on fruit juices. By fasting, the intake of irritants is at once effectively stopped, the stomach is rested and the toxic condition, causing the inflammation, is allowed to subside. Elimination is increased by fasting and the excess of toxic matter accumulated in the system is thrown out.

After the acute symptoms subside, the patient should adopt an all-fruit diet for further three days. Juicy fruits such as apples, pears, grapes, grapefruits, oranges, pine- apples, peaches and melons may be taken during this period at five -hourly intervals. The patient can, therefore, gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet of three basic food groups, namely ; seeds, nuts and grains, vegetables and fruits as outlined in Chapter 1 on Diet in Heath and Disease.

The patient should avoid the use of alcohol, nicotine, spices and condiments, flesh foods, chillis, sour things, pickles, strong tea and coffee. He should also avoid sweets, pastries ,rich cakes and aerated waters. Curds and cottage cheese may be taken freely.

Carrot juice in combination with the juice of spinach is considered highly beneficial in the treatment of gastritis. Six ounces of spinach juice should be mixed with ten ounces of carrot juice in this combination.

Too many different foods should not be mixed at the same meal. Meals should be taken at least two hours before going to bed at night. Eight to ten glasses of water should be taken daily but water should not be taken with meals as it dilutes the digestive juices and delays digestion. And above all, haste should be avoided while eating and meals should be served in a pleasing and relaxed atmosphere.

From the commencement of the treatment, a warm water enema should be used daily for about a week to cleanse the bowels. If constipation is habitual, all steps should be taken for its eradication. The patient should be given daily dry friction and sponge. Application of heat, through hot compressor or hot water bottle twice a day either on an empty stomach or two hours after meals, will also be beneficial.

The patient should not undertake any hard physical and mental work. He should, however, undertake breathing exercises and other light exercises like walking, swimming and golf. He should avoid worries and mental tension.