There are foods that our bodies easily digest and then there are foods that our bodies struggle to metabolize. Certain foods can actually impede or harm our bodies’ ability to digest properly. If you often suffer from uncomfortable bloating, intestinal gas or pain, or have other tummy troubles, the cause could be in the foods you are eating. Here’s a short list of foods that negatively affect your digestive system—know what to avoid.
1. Processed Foods
The term “processed foods” refers to foods that have been pre-prepared and packaged, usually for the sake of convenience but also to extend shelf-life. Processed foods typically contain a lot of chemical preservatives, which means they can be stored longer, saving the grocery store revenue that would be lost if the food went bad before someone purchased it. These are definitely foods not to eat! A good rule to follow is: if you can’t pronounce an ingredient or identify what it is, avoid it!
2. Chemical Preservatives – Check the Label!
Chemical preservatives are in many things, including food, soda and frozen meals. Preservatives are terrible for our bodies, particularly our livers (our body’s filter) and our stomachs and digestive tracts. Preservatives continue to preserve after ingestion, which means your body needs to work harder to break them down. Avoid processed foods and eat foods that are closer to their original, natural state.
3. Fatty Foods
Eating fatty, fried foods on a regular basis can lead to all sorts of health problems, including acid reflux, heartburn and problems with your digestive system. There is a condition called steatorrhea which is the result of excess fat in the stool and turns the stools white. Not a very appetizing thought, is it? Too much fatty or fried food won’t just add excess pounds to your weight, it can cause and worsen Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). People with IBS should definitely minimize their consumption of fats, such as butter and cream.
4. Chili Peppers
Chili peppers are used in many cultures to add intense spiciness to food. Many of us love them! The downside is, our bodies don’t love the chili peppers. Not only can they cause acid reflux and heartburn pain, these spicy peppers can also make life miserable for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you suffer from IBS, spicy peppers are definitely one of the foods not to eat.
5. Dairy Products
Dairy products are easy sources fof bone-building calcium, but many people are lactose intolerant and can’t eat dairy products such as cheese or milk without digestive problems. Being lactose intolerant simply means that your body does not produce enough lactase which helps digest the sugars in dairy foods (lactose). In these cases, ingesting dairy products can cause uncomfortable bloating, gas, even diarrhea and cramps. Alternatives to dairy milk are almond milk or soy milk. Soy milk contains more calcium than dairy milk and is completely lactose free! Dairy is one of the foods that harm your digestion, even if you’re not lactose intolerant.
Alcoholic beverages can cause inflammation of the stomach’s lining which impedes various nutrients and enzymes from being absorbed. Over-consumption of alcohol can lead to stomach and intestinal issues and also cause serious vitamin deficiencies that affect the entire body, not just the digestive system, according to The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. To consume alcohol safely, the journal advises limiting consumption to one or two drinks per day for men or one drink per day for women.
This one surprised us—it may surprise you, too. Berries have always been considered healthy because they contain vital nutrients, vitamins and natural sugars for energy. But berries with seeds, it has been found, can cause problems for people who suffer from diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a condition where abnormal pockets form in the intestines; food, especially things like berries with tiny seeds can get caught in these pockets and lead to inflammation and/or infection.
Chocoholics, brace yourself for some bad news, especially if you suffer from IBS or chronic constipation. Chocolate may be one of the culprits, and is one of the foods to avoid. For some people, it’s not the chocolate itself that causes the problem, but the dairy ingredients used to make the treats that cause digestive health problems. The caffeine in chocolate can cause digestive issues for some sensitive people too.
If you’re experiencing unexplained tummy trouble, consult with your doctor; they can help you determine the cause and therefore treat your digestive issues most effectively.