Oatmeal offers some health benefits, including for the health of your stomach and digestive system. It contains unique healthful properties (e.g. fiber, vitamins, and minerals) that you might not be aware of. But is this incredibly nutritious food also good for gastritis, a common digestive problem in which the lining of stomach gets inflamed?
Oatmeal health benefits for gastritis
In most cases, gastritis is not serious – it’s usually minor and even sometimes will relieve without requiring any medical care!
But there is also a chance for the condition to become severe and chronic, increasing the risk of the following complications:
- Chronic internal bleeding due to erosive gastritis. This may also cause anemia.
- Stomach ulcers. The inflammation of the stomach lining may turn to become an open sore (ulcer).
- Abnormal growth or cancer in the stomach lining. Luckily, stomach cancer caused by gastritis is rare.
So although the condition is often considered mild, it could also be serious (particularly when factors that provoke the disease are not eliminated).
What you eat and put in your stomach also matter for the prognosis of the disease. In fact, some people with gastritis find that certain foods worsen their gastritis pain and other symptoms.
While certain foods are considered bad, there are many healthy goodies to eat when the inflammation of your stomach lining is healing. One of them is oatmeal!
Nutritional properties of oatmeal
Oatmeal contains boiled oats, a healthy-whole grain food. And oats are rich in many essential, healthy nutrients – even the composition of these nutrients is well-balanced.
Oats are packed with complex carbs, including a kind of powerful fiber called beta-glucan. And if compared to other grains, they contain more protein and healthy fats. Also, they have the bulk of essential minerals (e.g. zinc, selenium, iron, magnesium, thiamin, phosphorus, and manganese), vitamins, and antioxidants.
They are very filling, too. Although they’re fewer in calories but they’re high in fiber. This will keep you full longer throughout the day, a good way to help make your excess pounds of weight melt away and keep your weight off in long term.
And off course, oatmeal is good in taste and quite easy to prepare. To improve the flavor, you can add fruits, seeds, nuts, cinnamon, fat-free yogurt, or honey (see also why honey is good for gastritis)!
Why is oatmeal good for fighting against gastritis?
Beta-glucan in oats is a powerful soluble fiber. It is easy to partially dissolve and form a thick, essential gel-like solution that can help relieve and prevent constipation.
And it’s important for people with gastritis to keep constipating foods at bay. Constipation can make gastritis symptoms (especially feeling of fullness and intestinal gas) get worse!
Eating oatmeal is recommended in diet for gastritis, especially for elderly people since older age increases the risk of both gastritis and constipation. It is also a good way to help maintain the balance of good bacteria in your stomach and intestine, which is particularly helpful to reduce your risk of gastritis caused by overgrowth of H. pylori bacteria!
Furthermore, oatmeal may help improve insulin sensitivity and keep the balance of blood sugar levels! Though the link between diabetes and gastritis is not well established, having chronic high blood sugar levels may make inflammation (including stomach lining inflammation) more likely and inhibit your healing process.
It seems that oatmeal is good for gastritis in several ways. The main ones are to help relieve constipation, maintain good bacteria in the gut, and improve blood sugar control.
Bonus, oatmeal is also often associated with the following health benefits:
- It’s excellent to boost your heart health since it can help control several factors that increase the risk of heart diseases. For example, it’s quite powerful to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL).
- For skin care, certain substances in oats may help relieve eczema symptoms, though this benefit pertains only to topical treatment (oats applied to the skin).
- To help reduce the risk of asthma in children. Early introduction of oats may have a protective effect in reducing the risk of developing childhood asthma.
What else to understand?
Since gastritis diet can vary between individuals, track also any other foods that might factor into the flare-up of your gastritis symptoms — probably such as tomatoes, milk chocolate (except pure-dark chocolate), high-trans foods, or highly processed foods. And if you have symptomatic or allergenic foods (e.g. dairy products and foods containing gluten), avoiding them is a must!
The good news, oats is gluten-free. But although they are naturally free of gluten, sometimes they may have a few amounts of gluten, because the equipment to harvest and process them is also used for other grains containing gluten. So if you have gluten sensitivity, make sure to choose oat products with gluten-free certification!
Last but not least, it’s also important treat the underlying cause of gastritis! Though a few lifestyle modifications are often enough to cope with, sometimes appropriate medications are necessary. For instance, antibiotics prescription is required if the inflammation has to do with H. pylori infection.