What Types of Food Should You Avoid to Prevent Digestive Issues?

two women cooking healthy food in a kitchenDigestive issues are actually a pretty common health issue. The most common issues fall under the category called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and this is when stomach acid gets backed up into the esophagus, causing acid reflux and heartburn. Several things can cause stomach acid to build up in the esophagus, such as certain medications, rare genetic conditions, and even kidney failure. Another factor that can cause this increase in stomach acid is the types of foods we consume. Several foods are known to cause this issue, as well as other digestive problems.

Avoid These Foods

Acidic Foods

Acidic foods are known to have a negative impact on our teeth, but it has a negative effect on our stomachs as well. Some of the most acidic foods are carbonated beverages and citrus fruits. Fruits such as blueberries, grapes, grapefruits, plums, and even tomatoes. Of course, these foods are healthy, so they shouldn’t be completely eliminated from your diet unless they’re causing serious problems.

Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar

Specifically, sorbitol has been known to cause a number of health issues, including digestive issues such as diarrhea and cramping in the abdomen. Fructose, though not an artificial sweetener, but definitely sugar, can cause some of the same symptoms as sorbitol.

Dairy Products

Lactose is the main ingredient found in a lot of dairy products, and many people suffer from lactose intolerance, where they can’t digest the lactose due to a lack of a certain enzyme. However, dairy products can still trigger bloating in those who are not lactose intolerant.

Fried Foods

Fried foods are high in fat, so it’s known to cause a number of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and possibly even cancer. These foods are usually prepared in hydrogenated oil, which can cause diarrhea in some people.

Spicy Foods

Many people get indigestion and/or heartburn after eating spicy foods. This is possibly due to an ingredient in most spicy foods called capsaicin, which gives it its spicy properties. Spicy food can also cause abdominal pain and worsen IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms.

Other foods that can cause digestive problems include:

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee, tea, and soda
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Peppermint

If you’re experiencing a lot of digestive problems, it may be beneficial to get a stomach biome test, even if you’ve already been diagnosed with a digestive issue.

Too Much Food

Eating too much in general causes the stomach to stretch, which can cause stomach acid to go in the wrong direction (up to the esophagus). This can happen especially with any of the foods listed above, but can also happen with any type of food.

When You Eat

Eating right before you go to bed can cause heartburn and acid reflux. Getting into bed and lying down sooner than two hours after you eat can cause stomach acid to travel up the esophagus. Give yourself two hours before you lie down so your food is able to digest properly.

Eat More Of These Foods Instead

Because acidic foods cause a lot of digestive problems (dairy and spicy foods can be considered acidic), the best route to go would be to consume more alkaline foods. These include vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, spinach, and spirulina; and fruits such as apples, avocados, berries, cantaloupe, and watermelon. Also, make sure you’re incorporating probiotics and whole grains instead of refined grains.

Why Your Diet Matters

Overall, a healthy diet leads to a decrease in several issues. When it comes to digestive issues specifically, although there are OTC (over-the-counter) medications to help ease digestive problems, some can actually cause more harm than good. For example, people who have taken Zantac, a popular antacid, later developed stomach cancer. For a lot of people, a proper diet can eliminate digestive issues.

Unfortunately, not all digestive problems can be cured by eliminating certain foods. If you’re experiencing severe digestive issues, consult your doctor to determine the best treatment.

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