Our stomach is the center of our wellbeing. For it is the gut that determines our digestive health, helps absorb the nutrients from food, and, turns out, is also in control of our immunity and inflammation levels. It comes as no surprise when we say that the things we eat and ingest in our bodies have a direct impact on our stomach health. Not eating right can lead to various problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, diarrhea, or even grave heart conditions. And while keeping a close check on what you eat every day can be exhausting, you must do so to avoid health issues later on in life.
Let us take a look at some of the foods that are hard to digest and should immediately go on your not to eat list:
1. Fried Foods – Fried, fatty foods are an absolute no-no when it comes to digestive health. Not only do fried foods add extra pounds to our body weight, but they also lead to digestive problems such as bloating and diarrhea. In fact, since some fried foods are low in fiber, they can cause constipation too. So, the next time if you find French fries or your favorite steak being served to you, you may want to think twice before you dig in.
2. Processed Foods – Processed foods are the biggest culprits of indigestion. Excessive preservatives and additives are added to make these foods more delicious and shelf-stable. However, it is these chemicals that end up causing harm to our digestion system and irritate our gut lining. And everyone knows that processed foods have little to no nutritional value, lack fiber, and can cause obesity problems if had in excess. If you wish to lead a healthy lifestyle, you must begin by eliminating processed foods from your daily diet.
3. Spicy Foods – Ever eaten a hearty, spicy meal and find yourself experiencing any of the following: heartburn, stomach ache, gas, bloating, and acid reflux? If yes, then this is your body trying to convey that it cannot handle the spice intake. Although spices usually stimulate digestive health, for some people, spicy foods can result in the very opposite. Avoid chili peppers and spicy cuisines, especially at night, for smoother digestion.
4. Raw Vegetables – Since we were young, we have been told to eat vegetables to stay healthy. So, since when did vegetables come on the not to eat list? Well, it is all about moderation. Raw vegetables ARE good for health, but they must not be consumed in excess. Since raw vegetables are rich in insoluble fiber, they can end up causing digestive difficulties such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and other stomach problems. Steaming the veggies is a better alternative as it helps break down the fiber in them, making them easy on our stomachs.
5. Dairy Foods – Most people find it tough to digest milk products. If you feel gassy or bloated or even nauseous after consuming dairy foods, it means you could be lactose intolerant. Lactose, the sugar found in dairy products, is challenging to digest for some people, resulting in indigestion. If you find yourself in this group, then try and avoid consuming dairy products! But worry not! For you can recover your lost nutrition by opting for yogurt or hard cheese instead. These foods do not contain lactose and are easier to digest.
6. Acidic Foods – Foods that are acidic in nature can cause irritation to the lining of our gut. Generally, one must avoid eating acidic foods in large quantities, especially if you are already experiencing an upset stomach or diarrhea. In which case, acidic foods are a big NO as they will only aggravate your problem. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and sweet lime are examples of acidic foods. So are colas and carbonated beverages. If your stomach doesn’t feel right, go easy on these and try consuming them in moderate quantities.
7. Coffee – Coffee addicts will understand when we say that coffee can be a real savior on some days (especially Mondays!). However, there is some bad news for us coffee lovers. Coffee, if had in excess, can harm our digestive health. It affects our gastrointestinal tract and can cause a range of digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea. Caffeine itself causes acidity, and hence, one must avoid colas, tea, or even chocolates that contain caffeine.
8. Alcohol – It is little wonder when we say that alcohol is bad for our health. Not only is it detrimental to our liver health but also bad for the stomach. It relaxes the esophageal sphincter that in turn causes acid reflux and heartburn. If had in large amounts, alcohol can cause inflammation of the stomach lining and cramps. If you have a gastrointestinal disorder, then you should really be careful of your alcohol consumption.
This list may have come as a surprise to most, but it is, unfortunately, the hard truth. Some of our most loved food items (even the healthy ones) can give our digestive system some hard times. If you have been trying to eat right, but are yet experiencing digestive issues, then you may want to take a closer look at your food choices. A food diary that keeps track of what you eat and how you feel through the day helps identify which food item is causing you those tummy problems. It is also recommended to consult your doctor or dietician before making significant changes to your diet.