As I get older, I start to notice that my stomach seems to be more sensitive to a variety of foods. Gone are the carefree years when I could eat practically anything and get away with it. These days, I have to put a lot of thought into the foods I want to eat to ensure that they are not going to send me rushing to the bathroom soon after eating.
If you’ve also noticed an increased proclivity to upset stomach after eating regular meals, you may be surprised to discover that some of the most popular everyday ingredients are causing your digestive discomfort. Here are five common foods items that might be upsetting your stomach.
1. Citrus Fruits
I’m a huge fan of lemon water, oranges and recipes that call for generous amounts of lime juice or zest. Unfortunately, I recently discovered that citrus fruits give me acid reflux. After researching the link between an upset stomach and citrus fruits, I found out that the high acid content in these fruits is known for causing indigestion and acid reflux in some people.
2. Dairy Products
Dairy products are some of the most common causes of stomach upset. Nearly 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant, which means they can’t properly digest dairy products. If you eat or drink a lot of dairy products and experience IBS-type symptoms, you may want to stay away from dairy for a while to see if your symptoms subside. If they do, you are likely intolerant to dairy and should seek dairy-free alternatives.
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your coffee habit could be causing some of your stomach issues. The caffeine content in coffee stimulates the gut and can cause food to move through more quickly. What this means for you is that you might have to run to the bathroom soon after drinking your favorite latte or double espresso.
To see if coffee is causing your digestive woes, simply stop drinking it for a few days to a week. If your stomach pains subside, you have probably found your culprit.
There is a class of vegetables known as nightshades that have a reputation for causing stomach issues. Nightshades include tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplant. Some people are intolerant to nightshades, which means they are unable to digest them properly. As a result, they’re likely to experience bloating, gas, heartburn, diarrhea and other unpleasant symptoms after consuming them.
If you’ve noticed that you get a stomachache after enjoying tomato-based spaghetti sauce or consuming peppers, you are probably intolerant to nightshades. Remove them from your diet for at least a week, then try to reintroduce them to see if they cause your stomach pains to start up again. This test will help you figure out if nightshades are the problem or if something else is irritating your stomach.
5. Whole Grains
You may be thinking, “Wait! Whole grains are supposed to be good for your body!” While this is true in general, many people have a hard time digesting some whole grains. Wheat, in particular, is known for causing stomach discomfort in many people.
The high fiber content in whole grains can be overwhelming for some people’s digestive systems. This is especially true if you rapidly switch from a low-fiber diet to a high-fiber one. If you think you may have a hard time digesting whole grains and they seem to upset your stomach, try to cut back on them or eliminate them from your diet for some time before slowly reintroducing them (one at a time).
Take Control of Your Digestive Health
If you have chronic stomach issues, you may want to cut back on or stop eating one or more of the above foods to experience relief from your symptoms. If your symptoms subsist, consider consulting with your healthcare provider or nutritionist.