In the US, millions suffer from the pain, discomfort, and gastrointestinal problems, or digestive diseases. 21.7 million people were admitted to hospitals in 2010 for such diseases, and 245,921 people lost their lives in 2009 as a result of digestive diseases, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Many different medications are available to treat these diseases, but simple dietary changes can have a profound impact on the severity of digestive disease symptoms. In addition to following a physician’s guidelines, the following dietary changes will have a positive impact of GI problems.
Avoid Spicy Foods
No one wants to eat a spice-free diet; however, many spices contain ingredients known to cause gastrointestinal problems. Avoid spices containing capsaicin, which is the compound found in hot peppers. Additionally, the following spices should not be consumed:
- Chili Powder.
- Onion Powder.
- Large Amounts of Garlic.
If you have experienced heartburn after eating any other spices, you need to stop using them. Additionally, highly-acidic foods, such as citrus, should also be avoided.
Reduce Use of Fats
Many different food items can be deep-fried; however, deep-frying food results in food absorbing excess amounts of fat. Greasy food items irritate the intestinal tract by producing high levels of acidity in the stomach, difficulty in passage within the small intestine, and rapid movement through the colon, which results in irritation and loose stools.
Reduce Concentrated Sugars
Concentrated sugars, or desserts, result in the release of insulin in the body and additional enzymes from the pancreas. Furthermore, excess sugars result in a rich environment for harmful bacteria to grow out of control within the colon. When suffering from Ulcerative Colitis, the presence of undigested sugars impedes the healing of the ulcers. In the stomach, excess sugars result in additional work in the liver, which occurs as glucose becomes transformed into glycogen and stored in the liver.
Reduce Carbohydrates and Starches
Saliva begins the digestion process, and the first aspect of digestion occurs as starches are transformed into glucose. As a result, carbohydrates and starches should be consumed in moderation. The damage happens in the same manner as consuming too many concentrated sugars. Many feel eating whole grains will be better than processed breads; however, whole grains require additional work by the intestines. Unfortunately, processed flours and foods are also detrimental to intestinal health. Rather than switching to bleached, enriched flour-based breads, consider the possibility of switching to a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free flours can be used to make high-quality breads that will have a lesser impact on digestive diseases.
Avoid Dairy Products
Dairy products contain lactose, which the body normally has difficulty digesting. In those suffering from digestive diseases, it becomes a major factor in the exacerbation of symptoms. However, taking a lactase supplement can help when dairy products cause minor irritations, such as slight abdominal discomfort.
Try Yogurt for Gastrointestinal Problems
Yogurt’s natural culturing process results in the production of beneficial bacteria for the intestines. However, yogurt remains a subjective dietary change for GI patients due to the presence of lactose. Try eating one yogurt per day, and take a dose of the lactase supplement at the same time. If you experience additional problems, discontinue the yogurt. You may also try taking a high-quality probiotic to obtain the same benefits as yogurt.
Dealing with digestive diseases is frustrating and painful. Fortunately, you can take a proactive role in assisting your body’s healing process by knowing which foods to avoid. What you eat does impact your digestive disease.