Gastrointestinal sparing diet: nutritional tips to spare your stomach

Stomach complaints and digestive problems can sometimes last a very long time. Stomach disorders in particular can have a major impact on your diet in the long term. Stomach problems such as heartburn or stomach pain can sometimes be remedied with a gastrointestinal-sparing diet (MDS diet). That is why a gastrointestinal-friendly diet can be good to put less strain on your digestion. Saving your stomach can make a big difference in terms of appetite, energy and an overall good feeling. The emphasis is on light food that does not irritate the stomach. What does a gastrointestinal-friendly diet entail and what is best to eat or drink, and what should you avoid?

Stomach complaints: nutritional tips

People who have stomach and intestinal complaints benefit from a diet that does not put too much pressure on the stomach. To ensure smooth digestion, it is first and foremost important to eat slowly. Chew your food well and do not drink water during the meal, but afterward. Also make sure that you do not have too many distractions (such as TV, smartphone or tablet) while eating, so that your stomach can process the food calmly and you can avoid heartburn and stomach pain. Eat mainly small meals several times a day.

MDS diet: for whom?

A gastrointestinal sparing diet or MDS diet is usually imposed on people who are recovering from a stomach or intestinal disease. The intention is that the stomach and intestines can recover sufficiently after drug treatment or after surgery on the stomach, intestines or other organs of the digestive system. But people with long-term stomach complaints such as heartburn or stomach pain can also benefit from an MDS diet. A gastrointestinal-friendly diet includes nutrients that do not unnecessarily irritate the stomach and intestines. Gradually, the affected organs can then slowly recover.

Gastrointestinal-friendly diet: what to drink?

Drinks that are permitted on a gastrointestinal-friendly diet are decaffeinated coffee, mineral water and easily digestible fruit juices. But beware: not all fruit juices are good for the stomach. Some juices are healthy but too acidic to be easily digested by the stomach. Buttermilk and weak tea are also permitted.

Gastrointestinal sparing diet: what not to drink?

The drinks to be avoided in a gastrointestinal-friendly diet are primarily alcoholic drinks and strong coffee. Soft drinks such as cola and lemonade are also too irritating for the stomach and intestines because of their carbon dioxide. Furthermore, chocolate milk and sour fruit juices are also not recommended.

Save your stomach: what to eat?

In case of long-term stomach complaints, it can be very useful to follow an adjusted diet. The emphasis should be on easily digestible, light food. The recommended diet for stomach and intestinal complaints includes the following:

Dairy products and proteins

Pudding, yoghurt, young cheese, scrambled eggs, lightly boiled eggs

Starch and pasta

Puree, rice, spaghetti (without sauce), white bread, rusk, sandwich, noodles

Fruits and vegetables

steamed, well-cooked vegetables, strained soup or stock, soft fruit such as banana

Meat and fish

Cooked lean ham, boiled or stewed meat, lean meat (chicken or turkey), liver, boiled or steamed fish

Gastrointestinal sparing diet: what not to eat?

In a diet that spares the stomach and intestines, the following products are particularly discouraged :

Dairy products and proteins

Mature cheese, fatty and fermented cheese, omelette, ice cream

Starch and pasta

Fried potatoes, fries, bread with grains and lots of fiber (such as brown bread)

Fruits and vegetables

Raw vegetables, heavy soups such as onion soup or bean soup, stone fruits such as plums and cherries

Meat and fish

Canned fish, sour and marinated fish, fatty meat such as bacon and prepared meat (filet americain), lamb, pork

Other products to avoid

sweets, chocolate and brightly sugared pastries, fatty and sour sauces such as mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, ketchup

Tip: protect the stomach

In addition to a diet to protect the stomach and intestines, you can also take remedies to protect the stomach. The food you ingest first goes to the stomach; so it is not a bad idea to provide the stomach with additional protection. This can be done by taking medicines that make the stomach contents less acidic. This reduces specific stomach complaints (e.g. heartburn, heavy stomach, lack of appetite) and makes it easier to eat enough food, making you weaker less quickly. Some of these remedies also have a pleasant taste (peppermint, orange, etc.) to compensate for the unpleasant bitter or sour tastes that can cause stomach upset.
Some examples of such means to protect the stomach:

  • Gastilox
  • Zantac
  • Maalox

read more

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