While some of us have more sensitive tummies than others, we’ve all experienced the symptoms of indigestion, at one point or another — the runs, the bloating, the gassiness. Even if you think you’re eating healthy, certain foods can really impact the function of your digestive system. Plus, along with the temporary discomfort of an aggravated gut, eating the wrong foods in excess can, over time, lead to more serious health complications. Here’s a list of 10 sneaky foods that are (subtly) messing with your digestive system.
We know, those deep-fried chicken wings are medicine for the soul and … well, that’s about it. Fried foods can place a real tax on your GI tract because they are so difficult for the body to digest; often, they move through the body undigested, leading to diarrhea. According to an article via Manhattan Gastroenterology, if you have even the slightest digestive sensitivity, too much fried food could result in heartburn and acid reflux. That comfort food’s not too comfortable now, huh?
If you get an upset stomach easily, consider nixing the chili peppers at your next meal. Spicy foods, particularly in excess, can burn your esophagus and result in heartburn. If you already have acid reflux, spicy foods can exacerbate your symptoms.
This one’s a hard-hitter. According to Manhattan Gastroenterology, chocolate can be a major trigger for symptoms of indigestion, like heartburn. Plus, the milk content in your sweet treats might be affecting you even if you’re not lactose intolerant. Opt for dairy-free (or at least 70 percent) dark chocolate instead.
Alcohol doesn’t just majorly impact your liver; it can trigger your digestive problems, too. It relaxes the sphincter in your esophagus, leading to heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms. Too much alcohol can also inflame the lining in your stomach, which might result in nasty cramping and diarrhea. On all accounts, it’s best to keep your alcohol intake moderate.
You might think you’re doing your body a favor by choosing Splenda over a full-calorie sweetener, but you’d be surprised. According to a study published in the International Journal of Science, too much artificial sweetener (like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharine) can alter the “good bacteria” in your gut, messing with your ability to digest glucose. It can lead to a slew of GI issues, like bloating, diarrhea and gas. Be wary: Artificial sweeteners are snuck into many popular products, like sugar-free gums and diet sodas.
Corn contains a fiber, called cellulose, that the human body can’t digest. Because of this, corn passes through the system undigested, and too much can lead to cramping and gas. It doesn’t mean you have to eliminate the popcorn; just don’t go overboard!
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower and cabbages, are incredibly healthy but can be tough on the digestive system. They’re high in soluble fiber, which can cause bloating and gas. They also contain raffinose, a complex sugar which the body can’t digest, possibly leading to an upset stomach. But don’t let this be a reason to push those healthy veggies aside; instead, consider taking a digestive supplement to help break down the fiber.