4 Surprising Foods That Can Be So Bad For Your Gut Health

- Your gut controls more of your health than you may realize, from your digestive tract to your mood. 

That means keeping your gut healthy is an essential part of your overall wellbeing, and one of the most important parts of that is your diet. 

There are many foods out there that can help keep your gut microbiome balanced, but there are also many that can throw it all off track—including some that may surprise you.

To discover some of the lesser-known culprits of poor gut health, we spoke to Dietitians Johanna Angman; Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, author of Recipe For Survival; and Trista Best, RD. 

They pointed out four in particular you may want to avoid if you want to get your digestion back on track: dates, peas, meat, and certain plant-based milks.

1. Dates

Although dates (which are dried fruits that can serve as a better-for-you candy alternative) do offer many nutritional benefits, Angman tells us that they can also take a toll on your gut health if you eat them in excess. 

"While they have essential nutrients, including fiber and vitamin B, people with sensitive digestive systems should be careful when consuming them," she warns. 

This is partly due to their high fiber content. Fiber is an essential part of your diet and can help regulate your gut health, but when you eat too much of it, it may irritate your stomach. 

"[Dates] also have sulfites, which can cause diarrhea, bloating, nausea, and skin rash if you are sensitive to Sulphur," Angman continues. "To avoid the risk, always stick to one or two per meal."

2. Peas

Did your parents ever tell you to eat your peas? Well, if you always hated this green vegetable, now you have a good excuse not to eat too many of them. 

Angman says that although they are certainly healthy for the most part, they may cause an upset stomach. 

"Peas contains fructose and mannitol, which contain sugars and alcohol that can result in stomach discomfort, especially when consumed in excess," she says. 

We're not telling you to cut them out of your diet completely, but Angman says you should "eat smaller portions per serving to reduce the irritation." Noted!

3. Meat

If you really want to keep your gut health in check, it may be worth cutting down on on the meat you consume and veering towards a more plant-based diet. 

"There’s research to suggest that eating animal proteins is detrimental to gut health and disturbs the healthy natural balance of our gut Bacteria (microbiome)," Hunnes tells us. 

"This can lead to constipation, gas, cramping, pain, inflammation and stress." Yikes! Instead of chowing down on red meat, you can try adding more plant-based proteins to your diet. 

"They are anti-inflammatory and our healthy gut bacteria feed on their fibers," she explains.

4. Plant-based milk

Speaking of plant-based diets, it's important to remember that just because something is plant-based, that doesn't necessarily make it healthy. 

Best tells that, although "plant-based milks are certainly healthy," you should be careful about the kind you're drinking. "Some of the flavored

varieties contain added sugar, which can be harmful for the gut," she warns. For this reason, "it is

important to read the nutrition label for added sugars on plant based milks." Best also stresses the importance of choosing high-fiber milks. 

"A plant milk's fiber content is another way these milk alternatives can either help or hinder gut health," she says. 

"While it isn't essential to have a significant amount of fiber in your plant milk, the more the better." 

Just like with anything else you consume, paying attention to the ingredients is essential to keeping your health in check.

Of course, the foods that work or don't work for you when it comes to gut health will all depend on your body and health needs. 

If you're experiencing ongoing digestive issues, your best option is to speak to a doctor. 

But in the meantime, seeing how you feel when you cut out some of these foods could be a good place to start.

Author: Faith Geiger

S: shefinds.com

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