5 Hardest Foods to Digest
Stomachaches, indigestion, gas, bellyache, agita, heartburn, upset stomach: Whatever you call it, digestive problems can be inconvenient and sometimes downright painful. Indigestion can be caused by a variety of reasons, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a physical condition in which stomach acid flows backward up into the esophagus. For many people, however, indigestion results from overeating, eating too quickly, stress eating, or eating certain foods. You may be able to avoid all causes of digestive problems. However, if you avoid these hard-to-digest foods, your digestive system will thank you.
Believe it or not, that inconspicuous loaf of white bread can cause your body to work harder. Bread is considered one of the hardest foods to digest primarily because it offers no help in the form of enzymes. Enzymes are secreted by the pancreas and serve to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins so that the body can digest and use them. Because bread lacks any natural occurring enzymes, it requires the pancreas to work in overdrive, and in rare cases, it can result in illness.
Nutritionists and vegetarians have debated whether humans were biologically designed to eat meat. Regardless, humans have one of the most meat-heavy diets in the animal kingdom. And of the meats we consume, pork is one of the most difficult to digest. Pork takes approximately four and a half to five hours to digest. What's important to note about foods that take a significantly longer time to digest than others is that any easily digestible foods are held in the stomach until the slowest digesting foods are released. During this lay time, fruit, vegetables, and other fast-digesting foods begin to ferment—producing gas, acid, and indigestion.
Their notorious gaseous reputation aside, beans are high in protein and fiber and can be an asset to your diet. But the truth remains—they can produce less-than-desirable effects. The enzyme that is required to sufficiently break down beans is found only in human stomach bacteria, which means, if beans aren't a regular part of your diet, you may experience bloating, gas, and discomfort.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, broccoli can help minimize the risk of colon cancer. What's more, the Harvard School of Public Health found that broccoli can help prevent cataracts. Yet, for all its positive associations, broccoli also has some adverse effects when it comes to comfortable digestion. Because it is high in fiber and various nutrients, broccoli can cause gas buildup when in the stomach leading to unpleasant bloating.
Whole-Milk Hard Cheese.
Cheese is slow when it comes to the digestive process; it can take between four and five hours to digest. Although it is widely believed that milk and yogurt serves to aid indigestion, the density of whole-milk hard cheese puts significant strain on your pancreas. In many countries where cheese is eaten more regularly and in place of meat or eggs, problems with cheese digestion are not as prevalent. As Americans, we tend to eat cheese at the beginning or end of a large meal, resulting in an overloaded stomach that needs to rid itself of the protein that has been forced in first.
Curbing the Bellyache Blues
In most cases, lifestyle changes can aid in preventing indigestion. Eating foods low in fat, eating slowly, taking care not to overeat, and cooking legumes and raw vegetables are just a few of the ways you can make strides towards a gasless day. In some cases, indigestion is caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), GERD, ulcers, or stomach infections. If symptoms persist over an extended time, you may want to consult a doctor.
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