We receive lots of questions here at The Calm Gut but probably the number one question on this site is – Can I Drink Alcohol with Gastritis?
There are no two ways about it, Gastritis does not like alcohol. But if like me you want just the occasional drink, there are some ‘less bad’ options out there.
The issue with alcohol is that it irritates the stomach lining and although it doesn’t directly cause Gastritis, it erodes the mucosal wall of the stomach lining causing inflammation.
All Gastritis diets will tell you to avoid alcohol and it’s something you really should do for at least three months if you can. This gives the stomach time to heal and then you should be able to enjoy a drink in moderation.
So which drinks are better for Gastritis?
If your stomach can tolerate it and you want to have an occasional drink, there are some drinks that are better for gastritis than others.
The Best (or less bad ) drinks to have
Gin – is less acidic than many other drinks, plus it has no added sugar and tastes pretty good. Just be careful what you mix it with, as drinks such as lemonade contain sugars, citric acid and are carbonated, all big no-no’s.
Vodka – Vodka is considered one of the ‘cleanest’ alcohols, and if you can get potato vodka that’s even better. This is Potato vodka on Amazon is lovely – Chase Vodka.
Titos Vodka – Another Vodka I have discovered and seems to be well tolerated by many people who have mild digestive issues is Titos, which is a distilled Vodka made from 100% Corn. It’s lovely and is one spirit which I am happy to drink straight or with just plain water and some ice. It’s also delicious with Watermelon juice (see below). Titos vodka
Tequila – Tequila is made from 100% blue Agave, which when distilled has no sugar in it, it’s also less acidic than a lot of drinks. So this makes a good choice. I had never actually drunk straight Tequila before I had Gastritis, so I bought some not sure if I would like it. I really enjoyed it, just mixed with a little plain water and some ice.
This is the one I have, It’s quite pricey but I knew I wouldn’t be drinking that often, so wanted a really good quality bottle, it’s such a clean fresh taste. They do a smaller bottle too. Patron silver tequila.
What’s the Cleanest and Healthiest Alcohol to Drink?
So what alcohol is considered the cleanest and healthiest? Some people don’t tolerate sugar very well and although there is no healthy alcohol exactly. If you are looking for a drink containing less sugar and carbs then Gin, Vodka, Tequila, Rum and Whisky contain less sugar and fewer carbohydrates.
As for the cleanest alcohol, Most Hangovers are caused by Congeners, which is something that is produced when fermentation and ageing take place. Most colourless drinks, like Gin, Tequila and Rum are low in Congeners, The British Medical Journal found that Vodka is the lowest with hardly any.
Drinks to avoid
Beer and Gastritis – Beer is extremely acidic and also carbonated, two things that make beer something you should definitely be steering clear of. The mix of wheat, sugar and yeast in a fermented carbonated drink is not something someone with gut issues should be indulging in.
White wine and Gastritis– This is sadly one to avoid, I love a glass of white wine but I have been told this is one of the worst drinks for gastritis. It raises acidity in your stomach and is full of sugar and yeast.
If like me though and you can’t resist the occasional chilled glass of white, I find softer Oakey whites like Chardonnay gentler on my stomach.
Red wine and Gastritis – This is tolerated better by some people but it’s still very acidic. I find I am ok with softer reds like Merlot and Shiraz.
Red wine benefits – In fact, research has actually shown that Red wine may also possess protective qualities, and can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria often present in patients suffering from chronic gastritis.
There was a study done in Munich in 2006, published in the Journal of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. It looked at the results of a small group of 25 patients who drank Red wine, White wine and Beer. There seemed to be more acid reflux reported with white wine and beer than the red wine.
Although this study showed that red wine was a little better with acid reflux than white wine, the same study showed that both beer and all wine triggered reflux in the patients compared to drinking water only.
It’s also worth thinking about what you are mixing with your alcohol.
Although it’s a great idea to dilute your drink, so it takes you longer to drink it, the only issue with this is many people will have mixers like orange juice, tonic and carbonated/fizzy drinks.
Carbonated drinks such as lemonade or tonic water may seem harmless enough but they contain citric acid, sugar and are carbonated, which are all bad news for your stomach.
One mixer I have found that is delicious and is ok to drink on the Acid watchers diet is watermelon juice. I recently got a new juicer for my birthday and so have been making good use of it by making my own juice.
Other than that the only mixer I have is plain water (still not sparkling) and some ice. Might seem boring but it’s better than nothing.
I know some people have carrot, pear or beetroot juice too, I haven’t tried these but maybe worth a try in the future.
Better options for mixers
- Watermelon juice
- Plain still water (sorry not sparkling)
- Carrot juice
- Beetroot juice
- Coconut water – This contains electrolytes that help with the PH levels in the body.
Food and drinking alcohol
Also, a point to remember is always to try and eat something before you have a drink. Preferably some carbohydrates, your stomach will thank you for it. Eating something will help slow the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol, and offer some protection to your stomach lining.
I also always have some Slippery elm if I know I am going to drink any alcohol, it’s brilliant at lining and protecting your stomach lining. I use the powder but you can also get capsules, these are useful if you are going out for a meal/drink or are on holiday. For other supplements that helped me heal my Gastritis, take a look at my post – Herbs and supplements for Gastritis
Another tip is to alternate your drinks throughout the evening, so have one glass of alcohol followed by a soft drink on the next round. At least then you won’t feel like you are missing out completely.
It can be useful to keep a diary of drinks you have, making a note of when you experience any symptoms. You may find that certain alcohol gives you undesirable reactions while others you may tolerate better. Everyone is different.
Alcoholic gastritis is when your Gastritis has been caused by excessive use of Alcohol. If this is the case for you, it might be time to reduce your intake or stop altogether, otherwise, you are unlikely to see any improvement in your condition.
Symptoms of Alcoholic Gastritis
- Upper abdominal pain
- Stomach discomfort
- Feeling full
Diagnosis of Alcoholic Gastritis
This would be most likely to be by Medical evaluation, your GP will assess your symptoms, lifestyle, medications used and ask about your alcohol intake. This may be enough to know what is causing your Gastritis, but sometimes you will be sent for further tests, such as an Endoscopy.
Treatment of Alcoholic Gastritis
The treatment is likely to be the same as for other types of Gastritis, such as your Doctor prescribing PPIs or H2 Blockers and advising following a plain diet, but of course, avoiding alcohol would be a main part of the treatment.