5 Foods You Least Expect To Cause Digestive & Gut Issues

February 20, 2024
5 Foods You Least Expect To Cause Digestive & Gut Issues

Everybody will experience stomach discomfort from time to time. Stomach discomfort can be caused by a myriad of issues, such as overeating, food poisoning, or a stomach bug.


Some commonly associated symptoms of digestive and gut issues can be nausea, acid reflux, bloating, and gas. However, in some cases, stomach discomfort can be caused by underlying issues, such as digestive disorders or food intolerance.


What is an upset stomach?

For the most part, everybody should know what an upset stomach is. However, knowing what happens biologically might be foreign to most.


An upset stomach happens when the mucosal cells in our stomach and intestine lining become inflamed and irritated. Most upset stomachs can easily be managed on our own by consuming only clear liquids for up to 36 hours after the symptoms surface. After which, hourly, tiny sips of water are recommended to keep our body hydrated.


To prevent a reoccurrence of digestive and gut issues, here are five foods that you least expect to cause digestive and gut issues.


1. Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflowers, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli, are great sources of vital nutrients, such as carotenoids, folate, and vitamins K, C, and A. On top of their nutritious benefits, they are also low in calories and high in fibre, making them essential for a well-balanced diet. As tasty and as nutritious as they are, they could also cause discomfort in your digestive and gut system.


Cruciferous vegetables are often harder to digest due to their higher levels of insoluble fibre, especially when eaten raw. In addition, they contain glucosinolates, which, when broken down in our gut, form compounds such as hydrogen sulphide, which contributes to the passing of gas.


They also contain raffinose, a type of oligosaccharide that humans do not have the necessary enzyme to break it down. This means that it will pass through to our large intestine undigested, where our intestine’s gut microbiome will ferment it, causing bloating and gas in the process. Cruciferous vegetables are one of the worst foods for individuals with IBS symptoms.


With that being said, you do not have to avoid them completely. You may want to stop having them for a couple of days, swapping them for easy-to-digest vegetables, such as squash, celery, green beans, zucchini, sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots. However, if you really want to include cruciferous vegetables in your diet, you can just reduce the amount in that serving and have them steamed, sauteed, or roasted.


2. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, limes, and lemons, are great sources of vitamin C. However, they are also acidic, which can aggravate GERD symptoms, causing heartburn. If you are suffering from underlying gastritis or stomach ulcers, the acidity of citrus fruits will only aggravate the condition, causing upper abdominal pain and a burning sensation.


With that being said, you do not need to avoid fruits completely. Rather than going for citrus fruits, you might want to consider replacing them with fruits that are also high in vitamin C but have lower levels of acidity, such as blueberries, mango, banana, and honeydew melon.


3. Sugar-free foods

Sugar is mostly absorbed into our bloodstream through our small intestine. Hence, as long as you are consuming sugar moderately, it should unlikely affect your gut microbiome in your large intestine. In fact, sugar is vital for our body’s function, especially our brain.


With that being said, many avoid sugar due to health reasons. For that, they turn to sugar-free foods that may not necessarily be beneficial for us, especially if you have an existing gastrointestinal or digestive issue.


In most cases, sugar-free foods are foods that have replaced natural sugar with sugar alcohol, such as sorbitol, maltitol, sucralose, and aspartame. The issue with such sugar alternatives is that they may not be as easy to break down for some individuals, and some even have laxative effects, causing diarrhoea, bloating, and gas.


4. Dairy products

Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, have always been avoided by individuals with lactose intolerance. However, it can also cause digestive and gut issues for individuals who do not have lactose intolerance.


While they are rich in calcium and protein, the lactose in dairy products affects approximately 65% of people in the world. Cow’s milk contains two key types of casein proteins: A1 and A2. Individuals who do not have lactose intolerance can experience symptoms that mimic the issue due to their body’s inability to break down the A1 protein.


5. Whole grains

Whole grains are a great source of fibre, which is beneficial for our digestive and gut system. They are also ideal for individuals with high blood sugar and blood pressure. However, they can be detrimental for individuals with more sensitive stomachs.


There are two key types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibres are the beneficial ones, slowing down our digestion and making it easier for us to clear our bowels. Insoluble fibres are not easy to break down and can have a laxative effect. As such, it can cause bowel irritation and bloating.


Whole grains contain high levels of insoluble fibre that, on good days, is beneficial. However, if you are experiencing an existing upset stomach, it can aggravate the condition even more.



With that being said, we are not telling you to avoid these five foods. Rather, you should avoid them if you are experiencing an upset gut and digestive system. Nevertheless, if you suffer from chronic gut and digestive discomfort, you should make a gastroenterology visit as soon as possible.


Here at GUTCARE, we offer not only extensive gastroenterology solutions but also affordable gastroenterology treatment costs. You can be assured that we will provide you with a comprehensive care plan to treat your condition. Do not continue to live with discomfort and pain; get the diagnosis and treatment you need.


Click here to make an appointment with us today!

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