As we age, our digestive systems can get out of whack. Foods that we used to eat with impunity now keep us up all night with heartburn and indigestion. Even seemingly harmless foods can do a number on your gut health. Avoiding foods that cause problems for you is the best way to deal with an unhappy digestive system. Here, then, are the top ten culinary culprits that could be causing your recurring digestive troubles.
Coffee irritates the lining of the stomach, and it can cause heartburn, acid reflux, and constipation. Research shows that it’s a combination of substances in the coffee that lead to stomach problems, including caffeine, catechols, and chemicals are known as N-alkanoly-5-hydroxtryptamides.
Grease is difficult to digest, and greasy, fried foods are major gastrointestinal irritants. People with even a slight digestive sensitivity can get intense heartburn and acid reflux after eating anything greasy or deep-fried.
3. Processed Foods
Highly processed foods–including many of our packaged favorites like soda, chips, cookies, and white bread and pasta–are loaded with simple carbohydrates, which move through the digestive system quickly and leave behind a bloated feeling with potentially painful cramps and gas.
4. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners may be better for your waistline than real sugar, but they wreak havoc in your gut. Artificial sweeteners cause inflammation, bloating, gas, loose stools, anal leakage, and diarrhea.
Corn contains a lot of cellulose, which is a fiber that the human digestive system can’t break down. Corn in small amounts usually won’t create too many problems, but when it’s eaten in larger quantities, corn can cause cramps and gas as it moves through your system undigested.
6. Acidic Fruits
Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and tomatoes are acidic fruits that can irritate the daylights out of your stomach lining and cause painful acid reflux. If you’re going to eat these fruits, don’t do it on an empty stomach, which only makes things worse.
7. Raw Vegetables
Veggies are good for you, and you certainly don’t want to reduce your vegetable intake, but you might want to cook them before you eat them. Raw vegetables contain the same type of insoluble fiber that makes corn problematic, and eating them can lead to gas, bloating, cramps, and diarrhea.
Alcohol relaxes the sphincter muscle in your esophagus, which can cause acid reflux and heartburn. Alcohol also prevents the optimal absorption of nutrients, and it can inflame the lining of the stomach, causing cramping and diarrhea.
Chocolate is a diuretic, which means that it can cause loose stools or diarrhea. A number of underlying conditions can make you sensitive to one or more ingredients in chocolate, which can lead to cramps, a stomach ache, gas, nausea, or vomiting after eating it. Lactose intolerance, allergies, and irritable bowel syndrome can all put chocolate on your must-avoid list.
10. Chili Peppers
Chili peppers be responsible for heartburn after you consume them is almost a given once you pass the age of 50. Chili peppers can burn your esophagus and bring you pain for hours after eating them. But if peppers don’t cause you any noticeable pain, keep eating them. Capsaicin, which is the compound that gives peppers their heat, has a number of benefits to your digestive system, including helping to repair damaged stomach lining and protect against ulcers.
Improve Your Digestion with Supplements
According to Harvard Medical School, digestive enzymes are particularly helpful in combating digestive problems when the digestive system’s natural production of enzymes is low due to a health condition like cystic fibrosis or pancreatitis.
For common gut problems like irritable bowel syndrome or heartburn, probiotics can provide relief from these symptoms. In addition to avoiding gut-wrecking foods, taking a daily probiotic promotes healthy populations of helpful gut bacteria that can improve not just your gut health, but your overall health as well.
Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics, Incredible Digestive Enzymes, and Prebiotic Complex can be an important part of your gut health regimen, improving your digestion and comfort for whatever life has in store for you.