Bowel problems can present themselves in different ways. Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and reflux are just some of the symptoms one may experience. While some of these symptoms may be related to a chronic digestive tract condition, others may be due to a sensitivity to one or more particular foods. In both scenarios, what you eat can influence your gut health. That’s why it’s important to keep track of when these symptoms appear, perhaps taking into account what you ate throughout the day.
Whatever the origin of your digestive problems, there are a few foods to avoid if you have digestive discomfort, as they could make the symptoms you are experiencing worse. Here are 6 examples of foods you’ll want to avoid when you have an upset stomach because they can make your gut issues worse. And for more dietitian-approved tips that can help boost your gut health, you should also check out Eating Habits for a Healthy Gut As You Age, Dietitians Say.
Salty, crunchy and tasty, potato chips can be a convenient snack, but they could make your digestive issues worse. Foods that are high in simple carbohydrates like crisps, white bread, and pastries tend to move quickly through the digestive tract, often causing bloating and gas. French fries have another layer of digestive difficulty in that they are fried. Foods high in fat are known to cause heartburn, a common problem in the digestive tract. French fries aren’t the only culprit here, but all fatty foods, including processed foods, french fries, and fatty meat, could increase your risk of heartburn.
It may surprise you that gum can impact your digestive tract, but many varieties of sugar-free gum are made with sugar alcohols. This compound is used to add sweetness to foods without as many calories as sugar. However, these sugar alcohols cannot be fully digested by the body and can therefore lead to digestive disorders. Bloating, gas, and diarrhea are some of the most common symptoms one can experience. You can also find sugar alcohols in sugar-free candy, protein bars, and other products modified to be sugar-free.
While sugar substitutes like sugar alcohols may not be safe for your gut, refined sugar can also pose a problem. Added sugar, such as that in candies, cereals, and baked goods, appears to have many negative effects on the body, including the gut. Research indicates that this added sugar can increase pro-inflammatory properties in the gut, which could lead to a cascade of problems, including an imbalance of helpful gut bacteria and metabolic dysregulation. It’s not realistic to follow a sugar-free diet for any significant period of time, so your best approach is to reduce excess sugar where you can. Replace sugary desserts with fruit, cut the sweetener in your coffee in half, and swap candies for cocoa-dusted nuts.
This vegetable is known to cause digestive upset with symptoms like bloating, cramping, and gas. Cabbage belongs to the category of cruciferous vegetables, a group that contains other common vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts. This group of vegetables contains a sugar called raffinose, which is known to cause gas. For some, cooking these vegetables before eating them may reduce the risk of digestive upset, but others may need to avoid them all together.
Similar to cruciferous vegetables, beans are another category of foods that contain raffinose, the sugar known to cause gas. Although very nutritious due to their protein, fiber and micronutrient content, beans generally cause digestive upset. Gas, bloating, and stomach pain are some of the symptoms often experienced when consuming beans. In addition to the raffinose in beans, their high fiber content can also be a problem. Although fiber is an essential nutrient, eating too much fiber at once, especially with intestinal problems, can lead to exacerbation of symptoms.
This ingredient is known to add flavor and spice, and while it may have beneficial properties, it could make your digestive issues worse. Capsaicin is the compound that gives chili peppers their heat, and it also has some health properties, including reducing certain markers of inflammation. Yet this same compound can be responsible for side effects like acid reflux and stomach cramps. When you’re having gut issues, it may be best to avoid all forms of spicy foods, including hot sauce, salsa, and spicy seasonings.
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