Fried food, like what you find at your favorite fast food restaurants, is high in fat and can therefore lead to stomach aches and diarrhea. Along with this, fried food has been associated with acid reflux, therefore continuing some short-term digestive issues. Fast food basically runs straight through the body, making your stomach upset afterwards.
Candy, gum and other sugar-free foods are not as healthy as you may think. Instead of sugar, these snacks are made with sugar alcohols which can cause gas and an upset stomach. Therefore, it’s not that much better having sugar-free candies than opting to have the sugar-filled versions! Read the ingredient list and look out of sweeteners ending in ‘-ol’ (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol).
High fructose corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener that is often used to make candies and pastries. However, it can unfortunately cause gas, diarrhea, bloating and cramping for some people. This is because fructose is a basic component in table sugar, hence why it’s used to sweeten many produced foods. However, sometimes the body won’t digest this properly, causing the digestive issues.
Fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes are highly acidic and can therefore lead to heartburn for some. This is because citrus foods are known to relax the esophageal sphincter (or valve), which can lead to the acid travelling up the esophagus and then causing heartburn. Since this happens, it can severely affect the digestive system’s health.
Peppermint is known to cause heartburn and indigestion in some people, further adding to the possibilities of negative digestive issues. This is because peppermint will relax the esophageal sphincter (located between the stomach and esophagus), which will then lead to acid from the stomach going to back up the esophagus – due to it being relaxed. This therefore leads to heartburn, indigestion and possibly acid reflux.
Everyone knows the rhyme ‘Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you -‘ (you can finish the rest!). But not many people know why this rhyme is true. Beans contain oligosaccharides which is a non-digestible, fermentable fiber that may cause gas, abdominal discomfort and bloating.
Cruciferous vegetables are veggies from the cabbage family – like cabbage, broccoli, kale, and collard greens. These contain the same sugars that beans do that can lead to gas, abdominal comfort and bloating. However, they are high in fiber which can be good, but can also make it tougher for some people to digest.
Many people are sensitive to spicy food, which means they can suffer with heartburn and acid reflux. This is because spicy foods can relax the sphincter (or valve) that is between the stomach and esophagus, which then allows acidic food to go back from the stomach into the esophagus, creating heartburn and acid reflux.
Chocolate, like peppermint and citrus fruits, is another food that can cause the esophageal sphincter (or valve) to relax which can lead to heartburn or indigestion. However, this will only happen to a person if they are sensitive to the food itself, or the elements within the foods.
This is a whole food group that can be hard to digest. This is mainly due to the sheer amounts of lactose included within dairy. When lactose isn’t digested properly, it can cause gas and bloating. If you consume too much lactose, it will go into the large intestine and diarrhea can develop or worsen.
Constantly snacking on chips will eventually wreak havoc on your gut. The combination of saturated fat, salt, and carbs is all processed incredibly quickly by your digestive tract – essentially passing straight through your system. Seek out low-fat, vegetable-based alternatives for a happier, lighter gut.
These sweet treats contain no nutritional value. In fact, they’re detrimental to your overall health – including your gut. Consuming excess amounts of sugar can reduce the beneficial bacteria that grows in your stomach, potentially resulting in leaky gut syndrome, damaging the internal mucosal barrier of the intestine.
Too much caffeine
We all cherish our morning cup of coffee, giving us a caffeine boost for the day ahead. However, drinking too much of the sweet stuff can create an imbalance in the ratio of good to bad bacteria, resulting in potential digestion problems. If you’re constantly facing gut-based woes, it may be time to try the dreaded decaf option.
White bread is high in carbs, but low in any nutritional value – making your digestive system work hard for no benefit. Repeatedly gorging on white bread can awaken the body’s inflammatory response – creating an unhealthy gut microbiome. Consider wholemeal options for a happier, healthier lifestyle.
High amounts of alcohol can wreak havoc on all of your body’s vital organs. Most people think that booze just affects the liver – but it also greatly weakens your digestive system. Drinking high quantities of alcohol can reduce the amount of healthy microbes found in our gut, leading to a drastic imbalance.
Small quantities of whole grains can actually benefit the gut, helping to regulate bowel movements and promote healthy bacteria growth. However, over-feasting on this food group can lead to bloating, diarrhea, leaky gut syndrome, and constipation. As ever, enjoy everything as a part of a balanced diet.
Your gut is extremely sensitive to salt, with research showing a chronic consumption can lead to autoimmune disease and hypertension. Salt reduces the levels of lactic acid found in your digestive system, leading to a detrimental effect on your immune system. You’re better off leaving the seasoning on the shelf if you’re seeking to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Recent studies suggest that overeating raw foods such as sushi may lead to chronic gut problems. This is due to many harmful microorganisms remain intact – usually killed off in high temperatures when cooked. This can lead to many food-borne illnesses, resulting in vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain.
Guzzling down bubbly sodas can leave you feeling bloated and gassy, mainly due to the excess amount of air you’re consuming. Furthermore, diet sodas contain a high amount of artificial sweeteners, which are thought to negatively impact the overall health of your digestive system.
Ice cream is particularly hard for your body to digest due to its high fat content. The yummy dessert also contains a high amount of sugar – giving it its deliciously sweet taste – which is known to affect the levels of bacteria found within your gut.
Pasta-based meals are a staple in many households, though you may want to rethink your meals if you’re encountering gut issues. White pasta is full of hidden sugars and refined carbohydrates, both of which provide the perfect environment for bad bacteria to form. Swap out white pasta for its wholemeal counterpart for a healthier lifestyle.
These veggies provide many health benefits – but eating too many of them can be detrimental to your gut. Eating onions multiple times a day can cause gastrointestinal distress, leading to issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, excess gas, and stomach ache.
Burgers contain pretty much everything you want to avoid if you’re seeking a healthier gut. Onions, fatty meat, cheese, and bread are all big no-nos when it comes to maintaining a healthy intestinal system. A burger every now and then shouldn’t do too much damage, but ensure you enjoy them in moderation.
You want to avoid high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners as best as you can. Sweetened yogurts usually contain both – making them taste nicer, but negatively affecting your health. Seek out plain, Greek yogurt instead – a product that has been proven to improve your gut’s wellbeing.
While you may find these down the vegetable aisle, it doesn’t mean you should over-feast on them. Artichokes are categorized as a FODMAP group – standing for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Essentially, FODMAP foods have the potential to wreak havoc on the gut when eaten in excess.
Small amounts of cheese can actually aid your gut, promoting the growth of the bacteria that keeps us nice and healthy. Overdoing it, however, can have the opposite effect. Cheese – particularly soft cheese – has a high fat content, making large quantities hard to digest.
If you’re experiencing gut issues, it may be best to cut back on your garlic intake. Garlic is high in the compound fructan, a substance that your small intestine struggles to absorb. People who suffer from IBS are particularly susceptible to garlic flaring up their symptoms.
As tasty as it may be, corn isn’t particularly good for your gut. This is because it contains high amounts of cellulose – a substance that your body struggles to effectively break down. Small amounts are beneficial – but eating large amounts of the yellow salad can lead to long-term gut issues.
Although they’re often heralded as being a healthy snack, nuts can negatively impact your digestive system. This is thanks to two compounds – phytates and tannins – both of which your body struggles to break down. This can lead to trapped wind, excessive gas, and bloating.
Bananas are, of course, good for you – full of vitamins that help to keep nasty diseases at bay. However, eating overly ripe bananas may irritate a sensitive gut, mainly due to the fruit’s production of oligofructose. Ensure you feast on bananas before they get too ripe for healthier digestion.
Rye bread is widely known for improving digestion – helping to keep your bowel movements more regular. However, if your gut is particularly sensitive, it may be best to avoid this wheat alternative. This is because they contain extremely high levels of fiber – which isn’t always a good thing, as it can resulting in stools that become too soft.
Research has shown that eating too many dried fruits can cause inflammation in the digestive tract, alongside bringing on painful trapped wind. Having a handful of dried fruit, however, has been proven to improve gut health, so it’s all about enjoying food in moderation.
Juices are a quick and easy way to get some vitamins into your system. Unfortunately, drinking too many of these fruit-based liquids can aggravate your gut. Orange juice in particular can lead to uncomfortable bouts of heartburn, with your gut struggling to digest the sudden onslaught of acid.
Including leeks in every meal will result in a painful abdomen, causing gas, bloating, cramps, and frequent bowel movements. Eating small amounts of the veggies, however, has been proven to aid in digestion – so just be wary of how many leeks you’re eating on a regular basis.
Prunes are a natural laxative, resulting in more frequent trips to the bathroom. Due to their high fiber and sorbitol content, over-eating the fruits can lead to (or worsen) symptoms of diarrhea, alongside causing uncomfortable bouts of gas and bloating. If you’ve got a sensitive gut, it may be best to avoid prunes altogether.
Fermented foods such as kefir, pickled onions, and tempeh, can cause your gut to react negatively – producing excess levels of gas. It’s not all bad news, however, as this gas is a side effect of the fermented products containing probiotics, which can kill harmful gut bacteria and fungi.
A handful of raisins here and there is good for your gut, aiding in bowel movements. Eating too many, however, will have detrimental effects. This is due to raisins increasing your stomach’s levels of insoluble fiber, causing gastrointestinal issues such as cramps, gas, and bloating.
Of course, you should avoid moldy, out of date food at all costs. Mold can produce toxic chemicals known as mycotoxins, causing numerous negative side effects and diseases. Ensure you thoroughly check your food for mold before you begin the cooking process for a healthier gut.
Eating before you sleep
As hard as it may be, it’s best to avoid those late-night food cravings. Eating before you hit the hay causes the food to sit in your stomach, with your body working overtime to break down the carbs. Not only will your gut suffer, but your quality of sleep is likely to be worse, too.
An inactive lifestyle
As ever, it’s best to lead an active lifestyle to keep any health issues at bay. Exercising for just 30 minutes a day can reduce your chance of experiencing many gut-related issues, as it increases the blood flow to the muscles in your digestive system, massaging food along the digestive tract.