Just like many things that go in life, digestive health is only appreciated after it’s gone. Problems like stomach pain, bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, GERD, constipation, diarrhoea and IBS can wreck lives.
Here are my 8 sneaky foods that could be causing your digestive issues
1. Nuts & Seeds
If you have digestive issues it’s best to go off of nuts and seeds for a temporary period until your symptoms improve. The roughage of the nuts can irritate some people’s systems, so allowing for your gut to heal, then slowly reintroducing nuts and seeds can reveal if they’re an issue for you or not.
We are all different. Some people can handle them every day; some people only in small amounts. You should also keep in mind that most nuts sold in stores are typically coated in inflammatory industrial seed oils, like soybean or canola oil. They could also contain partially hydrogenated trans-fats, which can contribute to digestive problems as well. It’s best to buy them raw and lightly toast them yourself to make them easier for your body to digest.
This funny sounding acronym stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. In other words: fermentable sugars. These short-chain sugars are not fully digested in your gut and can be excessively fermented by your gut bacteria.
This fermentation releases hydrogen gas that could lead to distension of the intestines—which can cause major IBS symptoms in some people like pain, gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Most of the high-FODMAP foods are actually healthy, real foods. But even when it comes to natural foods, what works for one person may not be right for everyone.
Here are the foods that should be avoided or severely limited if you have IBS symptoms while you heal your gut:
Artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, celery, garlic, onions, leek bulb, legumes, pulses, Savoy cabbage, sugar snap peas, sweet corn
Fruits: Apples, mango, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, watermelon
Dairy: Milk, cream, custard, ice cream, soft cheeses, yogurt
Grains: Rye, wheat-containing breads, cereals, crackers, pasta
Nuts: Cashews, pistachios
stimulates gastrointestinal tract motility, making contents move more quickly through your system, and excessive amounts can give anyone diarrhea, Krevsky says. So if you already have diarrhea, caffeine will only worsen your digestive problem. He also warns against simply switching to decaf coffee because it still has some caffeine. Remember that tea, soda, and chocolate are other sources of caffeine, and should be put on hold until tummy troubles go away.
Legumes are a food category that encompasses all beans (kidney, garbanzo, black, fava, etc.) lentils, peanuts, edamame and soy products (tofu, miso).
Peanuts contain aflatoxin (toxins produced by a mold) and lectins, while soy also contains phytoestrogens. All of these could irritate the digestive system. While other legumes may not be as bad. I’d still recommend removing them for a while to let your gut heal.
By now, most of us are aware of the possible negative impact of gluten. However, I believe that in a few years research will find a similar—and possibly even worse—harm from even gluten-free grains. Grains contain an abundance of amylose sugars which could cause inflammation, as well as anti-nutrients such as lectins and phytates which bind to the intestines and can hinder nutrient absorption in the body.
I recommend removing all grains for a time, during an elimination diet, and then slowly reintroducing them to see how they work for your system.
In most major dairy farms, cows are given hormones and antibiotics, live in unhealthy conditions, and are fed GMO corn instead of grass. Their milk is then pasteurized and homogenized and the fat, with all its beneficial fat-soluble vitamins, is removed. That’s why I consider most dairy in the U.S. to be junk food.
In addition to this, many people with gut issues can be more sensitive to casein, the main milk protein. If you have digestive problems, dairy should be removed for a while to let your digestive system heal. Fermented dairy, such as grass-fed kefir and yogurt is usually better tolerated and also offers beneficial bacteria for the microbiome.
Sugar can actually encourage the growth of bad bacteria in a person’s gut. And an imbalance of bacteria in your gut can lead to negative effects on your body’s metabolism and immune responses. Overgrowth of bad bacteria can also cause aggravation and inflammation, which can manifest into an autoimmune-inflammatory response.
This includes artificial sweeteners—they can decrease the good bacteria in the gut which could then cause glucose intolerance and lead to diabetes.
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