11 Foods that HARM digestion
Eating the right foods can produce tremendous benefits for your health, but eating the wrong food can lead to a host of health problems. Acid reflux, poor digestion, and even cancer are all possible when you choose the wrong foods. Do you know which foods lead to poor digestion? Below is a list of 11 foods that can cause problems. Some can be consumed in moderation with no problem, others you should avoid completely.
- 1. After Dinner Mints – Think that after dinner mint will help the food go down? Surprisingly it’s exactly the opposite. Mint relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows stomach acid into the esophagus, creating heartburn. This after dinner tradition might be causing more harm than good. Next time your leaving the restaurant, reach for the toothpicks instead.
- 2.Spicy Foods – If you suffer from chronic heartburn, then you know all to well how a plate of spicy food can wreck havoc on your day and lead to a sleepless night. Spicy foods cause acid-reflux, which in turn irritates the esophagus. This irritation creates that oh-so painful feeling in the chest, heartburn.
- 3.Dairy – Yes, we need calcium in our diet, and one of the best ways to get it is through milk and other dairy products. But for those who suffer from lactose intolerance, it’s not so simple. Lactose is a sugar found in milk, and when the body does not create enough enzymes to break lactose down, this can lead to diarrhea, gas, abdominal bloating and cramps. If you are concerned you might be lactose intolerant, opt for lactose free milk instead.
- 4.Alcohol – This one’s hard to admit, but that after work drink could be hurting your digestion. Alcohol relaxes the body, but it also relaxes esophageal sphincter, which can lead to acid reflux. Alcohol can also inflame the stomach lining, which in turn can impair certain enzymes and might even prevent nutrients from being absorbed. As well, too much alcohol can lead to diarrhea and cramping. Moderation is the key here: doctors recommend no more than two drinks for men, and one for women.
- 5.Fruit after a meal. – Did you know that fruit doesn’t go well with other food in the digestive tract? It’s true. The simple sugars of fruit require no digestion, and when they are combined with fat, protein and starch in the stomach from heavy meals, the sugars from fruit will just sit there and begin to ferment. Save fruit for a snack during the day.
- 6.Acidic Drinks like Soda –Like spicy food, acidic drinks like soda can cause acid reflux, which can lead to heartburn. Most drinks contain sugar as well, which compounds the problem by feeding bad bacteria and yeast, which can lead to bloating and indigestion. Add caffeine to the mix and you have quite a potent digestive destructor!
- 7.Foods High In Saturated Fat– Foods high in saturated fat can be a source of heartburn and diarrhea due to the body having a hard time absorbing fats. Worse, several studies have found that people who had diets high in saturated fat were more likely to develop breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Like all things, moderation is the key. Keep your saturated fat intake low.
- 8.Processed meat – Hot dogs, sausages and other processed meats can be rough on the digestive track. Processed meats are loaded with saturated fat, sodium, and nitrates.As well, processed meats are cooked at high temperatures, which might create more carcinogens, leading to colon cancer.
- 9.Hydrogenated oils – Also known as trans fats, hydrogenated oils are created when liquid oils are hydrogenated making them solid at room temperature. They can create absolute havoc on the digestive system. Hydrogenated oils lead to an increase of bad cholesterol (LDL) and have even been linked to colon cancer.
- 10.Gluten – According to the National Institutes of Health, about 2 million Americans suffer from a gluten allergy. Gluten, a protein, is found in a number of foods such as wheat, ice cream, cheese, cookies, salad dressing and more. Just like any allergen, gluten can lead to an immune response and create inflammation. This also stops more helpful nutrients from being absorbed during the digestive process.
- 11.Sugar – Sugar is sweet, but not on the digestive system. Sugar can harm digestion in a number of ways. Sugar feeds pathogenic bacteria and yeasts in the gut. This can stop healthy nutrients such as vitamins and proteins from being absorbed during the digestive process. Sugar also causes excessive inflammation, which promotes aging and disease.
Keeping your health goals can be hard, especially when we find out the foods we love are hard on the body and digestive system. Realizing how to enjoy these foods in moderation is the key to keeping a healthy diet. And of course, realizing what foods you need to avoid completely.