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Foods that wreak havoc on your digestive system

Having tummy troubles? It could be what you’re eating. Learn more about foods that can cause digestive issues here.

Spicy foods

Red pepper |

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While spicy foods have no effect on some people, for others they can cause a five-alarm fire. This is because spicy foods stimulate the digestive tract, which can result in nausea and diarrhea. If you’re sensitive, stick to mild foods.

Greasy foods

Pizza |

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Greasy foods like pizza and french fries can cause stomach upset in many people. This is because the food’s high fat content increases the usual contractions of the digestive system, which can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Acidic foods

Tomato |

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Acidic foods can cause heartburn and indigestion in people with sensitive stomachs and in those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you experience symptoms, avoid citrus fruits and tomatoes, including tomato sauce.

Gas-causing vegetables

Broccoli |

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Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, cause gas and bloating in many people. Some individuals also find raw vegetables, such as onions and bell peppers, harder to digest than cooked versions.

Raw fruits

Peaches |

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While fruit is nutritious and should be part of a healthy diet, some people find raw fruit difficult to digest. If you’re sensitive, eat cooked or canned fruit instead.

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Cup of coffee |

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Caffeine stimulates the digestive tract, which can result in cramping and diarrhea. Coffee is a double-edged sword because it is also acidic, which can lead to heartburn. Be sure to watch out for caffeine in tea and chocolate too.

Sugar substitutes

Sugar subsitutes |

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Sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners have been associated with bloating and gas because they contain ingredients that can’t be digested. If you’re sensitive, limit your intake of sugar-free gum, candies and ice cream.

Black pepper and garlic

Black pepper & garlic |

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Though they are great seasonings, black pepper and garlic can stimulate acid production and cause heartburn in people who are prone to acid reflux. If this bothers you, limit your intake of black pepper and garlic.

High-fat foods

Avocado |

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Foods high in fat, including cheese, avocado and nuts, can be problematic for some people. This is because fat tends to be digested more slowly, which increases bloating and puts pressure on the esophagus sphincter, which can cause heartburn. But this doesn’t mean you should cut out all fats. Instead, space your fat intake throughout the day.

Salty foods

Salt |

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If you’re eating too much salt (2,300 milligrams or more per day), bloating can become an issue. If you’ve overdone it, drink more water to help flush extra sodium out of your body and to cut down on bloating.

Get the facts on sodium >>

More on food and digestive health

Anti-bloating foods
5 Natural remedies to treat bloating
The top 10 most acidic foods

Article sponsored by Kellogg’s All-Bran

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