People with a propensity toward digestive problems should refrain from eating “trigger” foods – foods that can cause a digestive response ranging from heartburn, to indigestion, abdominal pain and cramping, constipation or diarrhea. While each individual can come up with their own list of foods to avoid, there are three foods that are on most people’s lists:
While eating milk and dairy products is a great way to get calcium, it can also cause diarrhea, gas, cramps and abdominal pain for those that are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerant happens when the body doesn’t produce enough of the enzyme lactase – the enzyme needed to break down the milk sugar lactose. People with Crohn’s disease, celiac disease or have undergone chemotherapy may become lactose intolerant due to damage caused in the intestines.
Most lactose intolerant can still eat yogurt and hard cheeses because these two dairy products do not contain lactose. And of course there is always lactose-free milk.
People with a sensitive stomach, irritable bowel syndrome or susceptible to chronic heartburn, should avoid spicy food. A digestive response from the capsaicin in peppers can range from indigestion to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
High Fat Foods
High fat foods include red meats, butter, creamy sauces, full-fat ice cream and fried foods. Because fat takes the longest to digest of all the macro-nutrients, it tends to stay in the digestive tract longer thus giving it more time to ferment and cause gas and bloating. People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) especially need to limit their intake of high fat/fatty foods.
While fiber is good for a digestive tract, too much of it too soon can cause digestive problems of its own… in the form of gas and bloating. The right amount of fiber is 25 to 30 grams per day; people eating considerably less than this amount should slowly up the amount they are eating, giving their body time to adjust between each increase.
Sometimes digestive problems can occur if the good bacteria in the digestive tract get overridden by the bad. To keep the “good guys” in control:
- Avoid detoxes as they usually get rid of the good bacteria.
- Don’t use antibiotics unless necessary as they kill off good bacteria.
- Eat foods with probiotics like yogurts and soy milks as they help promote good bacteria.
By avoiding foods that are known to cause digestive problems and doing things to promote the growth of healthy bacteria, digestive issues should be avoided for the most part. Listen to your digestive tract and learn how it reacts to certain types of foods. Then set up your own list of things to avoid eating.