Digestive Problems – Foods to Avoid & Foods to Include
Digestive problems are an ongoing obstacle today, and many are a direct result of the fast pace that most people must live. A large portion of those problems stem from eating foods with high acidity too often, eating on the run, being unaware of product ingredients, and not getting enough intestinal-friendly foods.
It is of little surprise that folks who have problems with their gut, have them quite frequently. If you experience abdominal pain or have other digestive issues regularly, something’s got to change or things will never improve.
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Don’t you just hate people who seem to have a stomach made of iron? They never seem to have any complaints at all. Lucky ducks! Maybe you had a good digestive tract when you were younger or maybe you’ve been fighting with your tummy for a long time. Whatever the case may be, it may serve you well to understand more about how digestion happens.
When food is in view, your eyes, nose, and palate react. Your gut is also gearing up to work, even before your first mouthful of food. Each time you chew, the enzymes in your mouth are helping to break food down into smaller bits.
From the time you start eating to the time you expel the remnants from your body, your food been traveling for around 9 hours to 24 hours. During that time, your stomach and small intestines have been busy breaking down and assimilating the food into small, minute molecules that your body can use. They are then absorbed by the thin lining of the small intestine and the essential nutrients that help fuel the cells, are distributed throughout the body via the bloodstream. The lower part of your small intestine then removes any remaining water in the bowels and pushes it into the colon, which funnels the water into the bloodstream to help keep your body hydrated.
If you think this sounds complicated, you’re right. A lot of processes have to go RIGHT in order for you to NOT have digestive problems. A properly functioning gut is dependent on a series of carefully orchestrated activities; electrical signals, muscular contractions, along the thirty-foot long gastrointestinal tract.
Actions that Improve Digestion
When you rush through a meal, it hinders the snail-like pace of the gut. Instead, relax your body, take a load off, and savor each fork-full. That simple formula helps your brain tell your body that you’re getting ready to eat. In turn, your gut and salivary glands speed up secretion of the acids that aid digestion. If you wolf your food, your gastrointestinal tract is caught off guard and doesn’t ever have a chance to catch up.
Gulping your food also puts air in your tummy, which makes your tummy bloat and gives you gas. Thoroughly chewing your food also assists digestion. Your gut doesn’t have to work as hard to break down food when it's given the right mix of proteins, salts, water, vitamins, soluble and insoluble fiber, and carbohydrates... and good digestion happens.
To keep your gut performing optimally, you need to be aware of the foods that upset the delicate cycle. There are many foods that will help improve it but even more foods that can disrupt it.
Foods that Improve Digestive Problems
Good digestion is dependent on the trillions of bacteria you have in your gut. Too many acidic foods, deplete reserves and can cause digestive issues. However, including yogurt in your daily diet can increase the natural flora your body requires. Not all yogurts contain living, action-packed enzymes so read labels religiously.
Kimchi is a Korean favorite usually made with cabbage, radish, or onion, along with lots of spices. The main ingredient is usually cabbage, which contains sulfur and promotes the growth of productive bacteria in the colon
Cabbage is also a type of insoluble fiber that’s meant to help sweet wastes down the digestive tract and improve bowel movements. Sauerkraut is good for the same reasons.
Whole grain breads, oats, quinoa, and rice can help improve digestion and lower cholesterol. They can also help fill you up faster so you don’t overeat and strain digestion. Consuming them slowly assists digestive assimilation, which in turn helps you avoid gas and bloating.
However, anyone with celiacs disease or gluten intolerance should avoid these types of foods like the plague.
Banana’s should have their own holiday! They are a powerful fiber source
for many-a-gut ailments! If you have chronic diarrhea
or IBS, they can help restore lost electrolytes and potassium levels, which are essential to normal bowel function.
Have an apple and
banana each day to help avoid digestive problems.
Kelp and Cod
Kelp provides a good source of iodide, which is needed by many processes of the digestive tract. In fact, iodide levels in seaweed tissue are about 1000 times greater than the sea water they’re found in. After dehydration, the Giant Pacific Kelp that grows off the coast of California typically contains 3000 – 7000 parts per million of iodide. Kelp is also a good source of iodine. It contains about 4.5 mg per serving size (1/4 oz.)
Cod Fish also contains iodine
, along with baked potato, milk, and shrimp.
Salivary Glands prefer iodide
Stomach prefers iodine
Stomach acid production relies on iodine
All bodily secretions depend on iodine
Ginger has been an integral part of the Asian diet for thousands of years. This root is safe to use for nausea, motion sickness, vomiting, morning sickness, colic, and low appetite. Don’t overdo it though. More than 2 – 4 grams a day can cause indigestion for those who are prone to digestive problems.
Add slivered root or crushed/minced roots to stir fries, teas, or soups. If you’re drinking it in liquid form, sip it slowly for the best results.
Lean Meat and Fish
Some meats are more easily digested than other meats. Chicken, turkey, and fish are good options for anyone who has a problem digesting high protein foods. Tough red meats and pork can interfere with the gut in some people. If you always feel gross after eating such cuts of meat, avoid them to help improve digestive problems.
Foods that Contribute to Digestive Problems
Tomatoes and Oranges
High-acid foods such as (tomato sauce and oranges) can cause digestive problems for many people. You may love your morning orange juice but it may not love you! Carbonated drinks are also highly acidic
and may cause issues.
Fast foods and highly processed foods lack natural fiber, which is vital to bowel regularity. They also lack some of the very nutrients that are essential to good digestion. If you get bound up frequently or have food sensitivities, food additives are like junk in your trunk. Also worth mentioning are GMOS. Just one GMO corn chip can start an pesticidal factory in your gut. The more you eat, the worse it gets! If you'd like to know more about how this happens, please read more here
Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener that’s most often linked to indigestion. While it’s naturally found in some fruits (including plums, peaches, and apples), it’s also used to sweeten sugar-free gum and many diet foods and diet drinks. When sorbitol reaches the large intestines, it can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Corn kernels contain cellulose, a type of fiber that human’s can’t break down easily because our bodies lack the necessary enzymes. Chewing corn slowly and aggressively can help break it down properly.
Alternately, when you eat corn too quickly, it passes through the digestive system whole. Because of this, undigested corn can cause gas and abdominal pain for some people - and genetically altered corn is the absolute WORST!
High-fat and Fried Foods
Both high-fat and fried foods contribute to acid reflux and heartburn. Too many high-fat foods can result in light-colored stools, signifying excess fats in the feces. Anyone with IBS or IBD should avoid fat-saturated foods, like whole milk or French fries.
Too much alcohol is toxic to the stomach lining, relaxes the esophageal sphincter, and impedes liver metabolism. It an also hinder essential enzymes and nutrients from being absorbed.
It is also very drying to the body because it causes you to urinate more often. It can be bad news if you suffer from constipation or indigestion regularly.
Too much alcohol has also been known to result in diarrhea and cramping. Moderating alcohol consumption, shouldn’t pose an issue if you don’t already have digestive problems.
Caffeine can speed up the gastrointestinal tract, which makes the contents move through digestion too quickly. When it’s snail-like pace is interrupted, digestion can suffer.
If you already have diarrhea, the effects of caffeine will only make things worse. Soda, coffee, tea, and even chocolate are frequent sources of caffeine in many daily diets today. Hold off on their consumption until digestive problems improve.
Sweet or Salty
When it comes to sugar and salt, your body only tolerates modest amounts. Too much sugar especially, can be villain-like for some people. Chocolate is often cited as the culprit for GERD and heartburn.
Anyone with chronic heartburn or IBS should avoid hot spicy peppers. In fact, anything spicy, including hot spices like some types of curry, are known to irritate the lining of the esophagus and cause bloating and gas.
Milk N' Cheese
If you're lactose intolerant, don't go overboard on dairy products like ice cream, milk, or cheese, especially hard cheese. Since calcium is vital to the bones, you'll need to supplement the mineral to ensure you're getting sufficient amounts. Optionally, you can also take acidopholus supplements, (a gut calming enzyme that assists dairy food digestion especially), when you do indulge.
Tiny seeds found in some berries are toxic to anyone who suffers from diverticulitis, pockets that develop along the large intestines. Seeds can get caught in the pockets and cause a painful infection. Some people have digestive problems from pumpkin or sunflower seeds as well. If you develop problems after eating them, all types of seeds should be avoided.
Your gut is composed of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. The entire system working together in unison is responsible for the absorption of nutrients, vital elements for good digestion. For million’s of American’s, digestive problems
are the culprit of many uncomfortable and even painful experiences daily. Next time your gut is talking to you, try something from nature instead. It sure beats the heck out of reaching for OTC medicines that may only exacerbate symptoms again later.
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.
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