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.

Advertising Policy

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.

Advertising Policy

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.


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.

Advertising Policy

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)

Advertising Policy