Tough to Digest

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Fried chicken nuggets

Anytime you take a food, dip it in batter and then deep-fry it, you turn it into something that can be a bit hard on your stomach. Fried foods are generally greasy and high in fat, both of which spell trouble for the stomach. If you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, greasy foods can cause symptoms like nausea and diarrhea.. To make a healthier version, take frozen chicken nuggets (or use your own breadcrumb batter on chicken breasts) and bake them rather than frying.

To get the crunchy, salty sensation of chips without the unfortunate side effects, look for baked versions of potato chips or switch to low or no fat snacks

Spicy food

Hot peppers may give food a wonderful spicy kick, but they can also irritate the lining of your esophagus on the way down, resulting in an unpleasant heartburn like feeling after you eat.  Even if you try to cool down the heat by adding sour cream, you’re still getting all the spice and the same amount of irritation. So rather than trying to mask spice with high-fat cream, opt for milder versions if you routinely suffer side effects.


Most of the unfortunate consequences come not from simply eating chocolate, but from overeating it. One small brownie as an occasional treat probably is fine but a triple brownie a la mode probably is not. But anyone who suffers from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) can experience problems from even a small portion of chocolate. That’s because chocolate causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing your stomach acid to come back up.

Citrus juices

These acidic drinks can irritate your esophagus, stimulating your sensory nerves to feel more inflamed. This might feel like acid reflux, but in reality is just irritation. In your stomach, however, the extra acid of the drink can cause other problems. If you haven’t eaten and you down a big glass of OJ first thing in the morning, your gut is already full of acid, so adding the extra can give you a stomachache. And if you’re drinking lemonade that’s sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, the huge influx of sugar is often a cause of diarrhea.

Mashed potatoes

Nothing seems homier than a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes. After all, that’s why it ranks near the top of the list when it comes to comfort foods. But if you happen to be one of approximately 30 to 50 million Americans who are lactose intolerant, you’ll find no comfort in mashed potatoes, since most are loaded with milk or even heavy cream. If you make them at home using lactose-free whole milk for the same creaminess minus the after-effects.

Raw onion

Onions, garlic, leeks and shallots are filled with a variety of phyto nutrient compounds, some of which seem to offer healthy, heart-protective benefits, and some of which cause stomach distress.  Cooking them seems to deactivate some of the problem causing compounds. But on the chance that you’re also deactivating some of the good stuff, try using a mix of cooked and raw so that you can reap the benefits without suffering the consequences.

Ice cream

There’s no quicker way to determine if you’re lactose intolerant than to sit down with a big bowl of ice cream. The bloating, cramping and gas are clear messages that your system is trying to tell you to stay away from rich dairy products. If that’s the case, the only solution is switching to lactose-free frozen treats.  But even if you’re not lactose intolerant, eating a pint of Ice Cream in one sitting still will give you some stomach trouble. That’s because it’s essentially all fat, and fat lingers in your stomach longer than other foods before getting digested.

Broccoli and raw cabbage

These fiber-and nutrient rich vegetables are incredibly healthy, but they are also well known for causing gas buildup in your stomach. The solution is simple. Cooking them or even just blanching them slightly will deactivate the sulfur compounds that cause gas.


Beans also have a notorious reputation for causing gastric distress. The enzyme needed to break down beans is found only in our stomach bacteria. And if you don’t routinely eat beans, you might not have enough of this enzyme to comfortably digest them. The result, of course, is gas and bloating. Cooking beans in soup can help as the extra fluid will help digest the large amounts of fiber beans contain, and the extra cooking time will start breaking the beans down even before you eat them. By adding beans to your diet gradually, you will help build up the enzyme necessary to digest them without issue.

Sugar-free gum

Sorbitol, the ingredient found in many sugar-free gums, candies and diet bars and shakes, could cause an uncomfortable buildup of gas in your stomach. Check the labels before you buy to see if you can find sugar-free products that use less troublesome sugar substitutes. Most people can handle two or three grams without any problems, but a product that packs 10 or more grams will undoubtedly be tough on your digestion.

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