The black list of foods that are difficult to digest

Foods that contain fodmaps, carbohydrates that ferment in the intestines and produce gas, are more difficult to digest. Which ones to avoid? Raw or cooked? In meat or vegetables? List to have in mind.

Bloating, abdominal heaviness... The type of food and the quantity ingested during a meal influence the quality of digestion. If some food passes by itself, others on the contrary, are (too) heavy to digest. This is particularly the case of foods high in fodmapscarbohydrates poorly absorbed by the small intestine. “They are not very well tolerated because these carbohydrates tend to ferment in the intestines and produce a more or less significant quantity of gas“says Dr. Pierre Nys, endocrinologist-nutritionist. A big meal in terms of quantity slows down digestion. What foods are difficult to digest? And the night ?

What is the list of hard to digest foods?

  • raw fruit
  • pome fruits
  • the tomato
  • fatty foods (cold meats, fried foods, dishes in sauce)
  • raw vegetables
  • crucifers (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli)
  • pulses such as beans, chickpeas, lentils or fava beans
  • spices (chilli, curry, etc.)
  • seasonings (vinegar, industrial sauces)
  • sugary soft drinks
  • the alcohol
  • fruit juices or juice concentrates
  • high-fat animal protein such as beef or pork
  • soft or pressed cheeses, cooked cheese
  • white bread

► The cooked fruit (apple compote) are more digestible than raw fruit (apple). “Preparing the fruits, if only cutting them in a salad with a little lemon helps prepare digestion by breaking down the fibers” underlines our interlocutor. Some fruits are richer in fodmaps and are therefore more indigestible: watermelon, mango, apple, plum, prunes. “Fruits with seeds like grapes are difficult to digest because the human body does not have an enzyme or microbiota system to digest the seeds. In addition, if you suffer from colitis (inflammation of the digestive wall) with micro diverticula, the seeds can stick together and accentuate the local inflammation.“says the nutritionist.

► It is best to peel and seed the tomatoes. They contain histamines responsible for the activation of mast cells which can cause painful attacks (mastocytosis)notes Dr. Nys.

► The raw vegetables are foods whose fibers are difficult to digest so we eat them in small quantities. “For crucifers, they are cooked in two different waters to whiten them and reduce indigestible elements“suggests the nutritionist.

“For homemade sauces, we use a small amount of condiments diluted with water recommends our expert.

“Animal protein is never isolated i.e. meat has a fat content“explains Dr. Nys. Lean meats (chicken or rabbit for example) are lower in fat than beef or pork. However, fats slow down digestion. No restrictions on the fish side, even the most fatty species are leaner than white meats. “SIf you take badly farmed salmon, it will be bad for your digestion” notes our expert, however.

Cooked cheeses are better tolerated for digestion (cheddar, mozzarella) because the lactose is degraded.

Sourdough bread or spelled bread is better digested.

What is the list of foods that are difficult to digest at night?

More than at any other time of the day, the evening meal should be light. For example forget: Red meat, raw vegetables, white bread, the cold cuts…

“Fatty or sugary foods and red meat should be avoided in the evening because they put too much strain on the digestive system, both enzymatically and hormonally (digestive hormones). These foods “go through” badly during digestion just before sleeping and seriously impair the quality of sleep“says the endocrinologist-nutritionist. We also digest more slowly when we sleep. In general, we do not practice physical activity in the evening so the body spends less than during the day that is why it is better to bet on a light dinner.

Thanks to Dr Pierre Nys endocrinologist-nutritionist.

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