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While some foods are recommended for good transit, others should be consumed in moderation. Difficult and long to digest, they can cause discomfort and pain. Here they are.

Bloating, gas, stomach pains and other transit disorders can occur after eating too large a meal or eating hard-to-digest foods that slow down the digestive system. But it’s not just the content of our plates that influences the digestive system. Professor Bruno Bonaz, gastroenterologist and former director of the stress and neuro-digestive interactions team at the Grenoble Institute of Neuroscience, explains how chronic stress can generate digestive disorders.

On the same subject

Difficult digestion: 9 foods to favor for better transit

What do we know about the connection between gut and brain?

These two organs communicate above all via the autonomic nervous system represented by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system (in particular the vagus nerve). We talk about the gut-brain axis, which works both ways. The intestine sends information to the brain about its state (digestion, motricity, secretion, sensitivity, etc.) and, conversely, the brain can adapt the functioning of the intestine. The intestine also produces 95% of the serotonin, a neurotransmitter sometimes also called the “serenity hormone”, which regulates functions such as mood or behavior. If the gut-brain axis is disturbed by emotions, disorders appear.

What can cause this imbalance?

At the beginning, stress (psychological, immune, physical) generates digestive disorders and amplifies their severity by complex neurological and hormonal mechanisms. But the origin of the pain is not only in the head. For example, people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (SII) have intestinal motility disorders, hypersensitivity of the digestive tract, as well as micro-inflammation of the intestine which exacerbate digestive symptoms. This suffering then becomes an additional stress which can only reinforce the intestinal pain.

How does the organism react?

Either the emptying of the stomach is slowed down and can cause early satiety, nausea and vomiting. Either the motor activity of the colon is accelerated and its secretions increased, which promotes diarrhea. In addition, stress accentuates intestinal permeability and modifies the microbiota, in particular via a hormone called CRF (corticotropin-releasing factor), released in the brain and the digestive tract. This increase in intestinal permeability promotes the passage of compounds from the contents of the intestine which will activate the intestinal immune defense system. In response, this will trigger inflammation and pain. Moreover, we know that outbreaks of inflammatory bowel disease and IBS can be favored by stress. And as, in addition, stress lowers the pain tolerance thresholdwe understand why these disorders can be so painful.

What foods are bad for digestion?

The food consumed remains approx. 4 hours in the stomach before passing into the small intestine. Certain food combinations can cause digestion time to vary. For example, the digestion time of fruits is only 15 minutes: their fermentation in your stomach can cause digestive disorders. Combining animal protein with very sweet foods causes the same inconvenience.

To overcome the disturbance and digestive slowness, certain foods should be eaten in moderation: coffeeTHEfatty foodsI’alcohol For example. Also limit foods that promote feelings of heartburn, such as citrus where the soft drinks. Finally, if the dairy products can cause bloating, alternatives exist to counter any frustration. Cream, butter and cheeses with a bloomy rind such as camembert or brie take care of your intestinal flora, in particular thanks to the molds present on the surface.

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The fruit at the end of the meal
Eat 5 fruits a day, but avoid consuming it for dessert. Fruit digests more slowly at the end of a meal. This is because they will stagnate more in your digestive tract when mixed with other foods. Prefer fruit at the start of a meal or as a snack for your digestive comfort.

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soy
Soy disrupts digestion. It contains many carbohydrates unknown to your body. The digestive system cannot eliminate them. Bloating or stomach cramps may reflect this poor assimilation.

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Water during meals
Drinking at the table is harmful to your digestive system. Whether it’s water, a cup of tea, a glass of wine, the liquid will be in your stomach in less than 10 minutes. It will dilute the effective enzymes to assimilate carbohydrates, lipids, as well as proteins. Less effective, digestive juices will disrupt and slow down your digestion.

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Cheese bread slices
Certain combinations of foods make digestion more difficult. The bread/cheese combination should be limited. The carbohydrates present in the bread prevent the proper digestion of the calcium in the cheese. They can cause stomach and intestinal discomfort.

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Raw vegetables
Raw foods ferment in your stomach. Cooked vegetables are much easier to digest. Namely: at the end of the day, your body has more difficulty digesting the nutrients you bring to it. Also, avoid consuming raw vegetables or fruits from the end of the afternoon for a less swollen belly, even less painful.

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wine vinegar
Wine vinegar is often used to season your dishes or make your vinaigrettes with mustard and oil. However, the acetic acid it contains increases the acidity of the stomach. Replace wine vinegar, which is too acidic, with cider vinegar. Natural antioxidant, it contains few calories.

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Pork
Your body takes about 5 hours to digest pork: a long time compared to the 30-minute digestion process of cooked vegetables. Meat remains a dense protein: it depletes digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid which helps regulate the acidity of food. When you eat pork, you swallow all the toxins that the animal has not eliminated.

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onion
If the onion remains a food rich in fiber, it can be harmful for good digestion. Your stomach may not digest all the fiber it contains. The undigested parts of the onion will stagnate in your stomach. This fermentation can cause bloating, gas, or heartburn.

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Beef
Once consumed, beef takes about 4 hours to reach your intestines. Difficult and long to digest, beef remains complicated to chew. This meat can cause bloating and flatulence.

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The cold cuts
Delicatessen causes fermentation in the colon causing sour stomach or fatty or even diarrheal stools. The important digestion time is linked to the fat solubilization time. Prefer white meats.

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Frying
Fried foods have a high fat content. They digest slowly and can cause heaviness in the stomach. To fry a food, you need a large amount of fat brought to a very high temperature. This association dangerously modifies the fatty acids. They stagnate in the stomach and promote acid reflux.

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