- Uncover the ways unhealthy eating can damage your gut
- See the best and worst foods for your stomach
- Find out how to keep your gut healthy
Not all foods are equal. Some, like raw, natural foods, promote and support good gut health. Bad foods, however, can destroy your gut.
And you need to keep your gut healthy. It plays such a vital role in your overall health.
You probably know what foods are best for you – fruits, vegetables, and nuts, to name a few. But what foods should you avoid? In this article, we share some of the worst.
How Unhealthy Eating Damages Your Stomach
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that our modern diet is a far cry from our Homo sapien ancestors. Realistically, our diet differs vastly from that of just a few generations past. The sudden change in our diet may explain the explosion of today’s most common illnesses, such as Type II diabetes, fatty liver disease, and heart disease.
Many studies have looked at how unhealthy foods affect health. These studies have reported:
- An unhealthy diet disrupts the balance of your gut microbiome (the friendly probiotic bacteria)
- Gut microbiome imbalances may influence disease development
- Your gut microbiome affects your mental health
In addition to their impact on the bacteria in your gut, unhealthy foods can also overwhelm your system. They introduce too much of a certain kind of nutrient, like too much starch or protein.
This creates a stressful situation for your liver and pancreas that need to produce more enzymes to break down the food. While your body produces the enzymes you need, the food remains undigested and can damage the lining of your gut.
The Worst Foods for Your Stomach
Your body needs protein. It’s essential for bone, muscle, and immune health. While animal protein remains popular, research has specifically linked red meat to an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It also appears to contribute to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
Animals Treated with Antibiotics
If you eat meat, you need to watch out for animals treated with antibiotics. These drugs may help fight disease, but they create serious problems too. Antibiotic resistance makes a person or animal more susceptible to disease by targeting the gut’s healthful bacteria.
Plants Sprayed with Pesticides & Herbicides
Pesticides kill insects, while herbicides kill fungi, bacteria, and other “infections” that afflict plants. They are often used on the plants fed to both people and animals. Chemicals like these are linked to some types of cancers and may be behind many digestive problems.
You digest fats slowly. Saturated and trans fats used to make fried foods make them harder to digest. These fats can also irritate the lining of the gut if not digested quickly.
What are saturated fats so tough to break down? These fat molecules are tightly packed together. Unsaturated fat (the good kind), on the other hand, has larger gaps between the molecules. This makes it easier for your body to digest and absorb nutrients that benefit the heart, brain, immune system, and more.
Gas, stomach pain, and diarrhea are common symptoms of stomach irritation after eating saturated fats. They can be especially harmful to people with irritable bowel syndrome.
You know these foods. Junk foods are one type of example. They contain high amounts of salt, sugars, starches, fats, additives, and preservatives. Some of the worst include bacon, microwave popcorn, margarine, catsup, instant ramen, and classic frozen dinners. In short, they come from a machine, not nature.
These foods can contribute to gastrointestinal disorders by causing inflammation and altering the natural balance of bacteria in your gut.
Sugar and other sweeteners added to food harm your gut. One study has reported that they are toxic to the bacteria in your gut that support digestion. Of particular note, the sweeteners tested came from sports supplements.
What Foods Are Great for Gut Health?
You can never go wrong with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. But certain foods can be extra beneficial for gut health.
These are foods and ingredients that feed the natural bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics are a type of soluble fiber, making them some of the best fiber for your gut. Prebiotic fibers help to support the health and balance of your gut microbiota. Some of the best prebiotic fiber sources include:
Fiber plays a significant role in overall digestive health, and especially in colon health. One study has found that fiber is essential in maintaining our gut flora. A high-fiber diet and the prevention of common modern diseases are also linked. Eating the right kinds of fiber is also highly beneficial for the colon; they help keep the bowels moving smoothly.
You can maintain the critical balance of gut bacteria by eating probiotic foods. These foods supply additional natural bacteria that have a crucial role in supporting digestion and overall gut health. Probiotics include cultured and fermented foods, such as:
- Cottage cheese
Keeping Your Gut Healthy
Our digestive systems efficiently process certain foods by design. Healthy foods provide the body with all the nutrients and fuel it needs. Unfortunately, the modern diet includes tons of foods and ingredients that contribute to many modern diseases. Your digestive tract simply isn’t made to digest them.
Therefore, eating healthy means eating the right kinds of foods and avoiding bad ones. You can also support your digestive tract’s health with a gentle colon cleanse from time to time. You can find several types of cleanses, such as a juice cleanse, cleansing soups, and colonic hydrotherapy, also known as enemas.
A colon cleanse supplement is one of the safest and most effective ways to cleanse your colon. The best supplements supply enzymes and other beneficial compounds like oxygenated magnesium that help break up and ease the removal of excess waste in the gut.
Cleanse Infused Plus, for example, features oxygenated magnesium. The oxygen breaks down waste as it nourishes the lining of the colon. Magnesium helps make passing waste easier by drawing water into the colon.