There are many factors that can affect your gastrointestinal (GI) health, but one of the most common causes of abdominal discomfort is the food you choose to put inside your body. Simply put, not all foods promote healthy digestion; in fact, many foods are a hindrance to digestion. Eating the wrong foods can increase your chances of diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain or pressure, nausea, hemorrhoids, and more.
In this brief article, a gastrointestinal surgeon in Tampa discusses several types of foods that negatively affect digestion. Take these suggestions to heart next time you decide to whip up a meal in the kitchen or grab a bite to eat while out on the town.
Fried chicken, french fries, fritters, corn dogs… the list of fried foods that we indulge in goes on and on. You’ve probably heard people proclaim that eating too much fried food will clog your arteries, and they aren’t wrong. Fried foods are high in trans fat, which is linked directly to heart disease. Since these foods are heavily reliant on oil for flavor, fried foods have a tendency to bring on diarrhea.
Solution: roast or bake foods instead of frying them and utilize light sauces made from vegetables rather than butter or cream to add flavor.
Dairy products are notorious for being problematic for those with sensitive digestive systems, since lactose — the sugar found in dairy — doesn’t sit well with everyone. Lactose intolerant individuals will experience gas and bloating if they eat dairy. Depending on the severity of your intolerance, this could lead to significant discomfort or pain.
Solution: yogurt and hard cheeses are typically devoid of lactose, and there are also lactose-free milks on the market for those that can’t eat dairy.
Overly acidic foods, such as tomato sauce and citrus fruits, have a tendency to irritate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Although there are undoubtedly nutritional benefits to eating acidic fruits, you should moderate your intake to prevent abdominal discomfort. Remember, carbonated beverages are also acidic.
Solution: replace your favorite acidic foods with alkaline alternatives, such as non-acidic fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables. Cucumber, broccoli, eggplant, celery, kale, brussels sprouts, apricots, bananas, black currants, and raisins are helpful for balancing your body’s acidity levels.
Artificial sweeteners have been linked with digestive issues, especially sorbitol. Sorbitol is difficult to digest despite being naturally found in certain fruits. It’s most commonly found in gum and diet foods. Too much sorbitol in the large intestine can lead to gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Solution: avoid foods flavored with artificial sweeteners and instead focus on those that are naturally sweet, like berries, dark chocolate, and chia seeds.
Maintaining a healthy diet may help you prevent GI diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, colitis, and more. If you are suffering from an ongoing GI disease, consult a GI surgeon in Tampa. If you require surgery, Whalen Clark, M.D., can provide you with cutting-edge surgical options, including robotic-assisted surgery designed to decrease patient discomfort and expedite recovery.
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