Locations:
Search IconSearch

5 Foods to Avoid When Digestive Troubles Arise

Substitutions that will help you feel, and eat, better

woman eating greek yogurt because of digestive disorder

The human body can do amazing things, but this sometimes might not feel so great — especially when it comes to your digestive system. Between bloating, constipation, diarrhea/vomiting, and reflux, choosing foods to eat consistently that don’t upset you can be difficult.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Wellness expert Michael Roizen, MD, explains the five types of food and drink to substitute out of your diet for relief from digestive woes.

Spoiled or unwashed foods

Bacteria from old or raw foods can cause food poisoning, cramps, or other issues if it gets into your system. Instead, eat more whole grains or cooked vegetables for a boost of fiber to improve your digestive health.

Spicy and hot foods

Foods with a bit of a kick can trigger problems like heartburn. For relief, try incorporating more ginger into your diet. Though not scientifically proven to help, it’s a traditional remedy that may help your stomach empty properly. If you must have some spice to your foods, try seasoning with a bit of cinnamon or caraway for a gentler effect.

Dairy products

Vitamin D doesn’t just have to come from milk, cheese, and cream products. Opt for salmon and leafy greens instead. Still craving that yogurt parfait? Try Greek yogurt (with no added sugar, syrup or fat), which doesn’t include lactose.

Acidic foods

High acid foods, like oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes and lemons can cause discomfort and irritate your stomach lining. More bland options, like apples and bananas, or vegetables rich in fiber like asparagus, onions and artichokes, are a safer option.

Alcohol

While you’re unwinding with that glass of wine in the evening, so is the sphincter in your esophagus, increasing your level of heartburn. Opt for a tall glass of water instead to keep everything moving smoothly. It’s the best thing you can drink for a healthy digestive system.

This article was adapted from the best-selling book “What to Eat When” by Michael F. Roizen, MD, and Micheal Crupain, MD, MPH with Ted Spiker (©2018 National Geographic Books)

Advertisement

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Piles of sugar alcohol
June 17, 2024/Nutrition
What You Should Know About Sugar Alcohols

Often labeled as ‘diabetes-friendly’ or ‘calorie-free,’ these sugar substitutes warrant caution

Person prepping mason jars with meals
June 14, 2024/Nutrition
Should You Eat the Same Thing Every Day? Learn the Pros and Cons

Repeating your meals can help simplify meal planning and counting calories, but it could also lead to boredom and nutritional deficiencies

Person looking in fridge, filled with salad, milk, berries, veggies, juice
June 12, 2024/Wellness
Power Up: 10 Ways To Boost Your Energy Naturally

Making certain food and lifestyle choices can help keep your battery full

Shirataki Miracle noodles on chopsticks and in red bowl
May 20, 2024/Nutrition
4 Reasons To Give Shirataki (Miracle) Noodles a Try

Fiber-rich shirataki noodles may improve blood sugar, aid in digestion and help with weight loss

Assorted healthy foods spread out over a table and cutting boards
May 20, 2024/Digestive
What To Eat When You Have Diverticular Disease

Reducing inflammation is key when you’re in a flare-up, but so is having a preventive nutritional plan in place when you’re not

Healthcare provider talking with patient with overweight in office
May 17, 2024/Weight Loss
The HCG Diet Is Ineffective and Unsafe

The U.S. FDA prohibits HCG use without a prescription — and the hormone isn’t approved for weight loss at all

Bowl of white konjac noodles in wooden bowl
May 15, 2024/Nutrition
5 Ways Konjac Can Help Boost Your Health

The glucomannan fiber in konjac can be good for your digestion, heart, weight loss and more

Field of barley
May 13, 2024/Nutrition
Bank on Barley for a Health Boost

Eating this grain could help keep tabs on your appetite and protect against diabetes and cancer

Trending Topics

Female and friend jogging outside
How To Increase Your Metabolism for Weight Loss

Focus on your body’s metabolic set point by eating healthy foods, making exercise a part of your routine and reducing stress

stovetop with stainless steel cookware and glassware
5 Ways Forever Chemicals (PFAS) May Affect Your Health

PFAS chemicals may make life easier — but they aren’t always so easy on the human body

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims

Ad