7 Common Foods You Don't Know Are Hurting Your Gut Health
You may have never suspected these 7 ubiquitous foods of being so bad for you
It’s no secret these days that your gut is critical to the rest of your overall health. Scientific studies have shown that the gut is related to many parts of your body, from your brain all the way to your muscles and joints.
Maintaining a healthy gut is a vital step to improving your energy, digestion, and other health issues. When we load up on junk food, it usually doesn’t take long for us to notice some of the negative effects.
But what if you found out that some of the most common foods (and not just junk food) can be some of the most dangerous to your gut?
Unfortunately, it’s all too true. Here is a list of seven common foods that could be harming your gut health from the inside. And the most shocking part is that some of these gut-busters are frequently marketed to you as “health foods.”
1. Red Meat
This is one of the most commonly consumed foods in America, but unfortunately it has also been linked to a long list of health problems. Eating too much red meat can “protein overload” your system, which can cause painful bloating, gas, digestive discomfort, and other gut health problems.
Of course, eating a moderate amount of red meat can still be a fine dietary option, but be sure not to eat it every day, or you could be wrecking your gut.
Soy is an interesting case, because it has received much praise as a “health ingredient” here in the United States, but unfortunately, this only applies to a particular type of soy—fermented soy.
When soy undergoes the fermenting process, it creates good bacteria that can be a healthy addition to your diet. But most soy products in America are not fermented, meaning they contain none of the benefits associated with fermented foods.
And this unfermented soy has been linked to serious side effects, like hormone imbalance.
The scientific community is constantly debating whether or not dairy is good for you. Dairy was thought to be good for so long that it was even included in the Standard American Food Pyramid. But the reality is, there is very little evidence to support the fact that milk is necessary for building strong bones.
In fact, experts are now saying that dairy can cause negative side effects ranging from poor skin to digestive issues. So the next time you’re thirsty and reach for a glass of milk, consider sticking to water instead.
For a long time, it was assumed that high-fat foods were worse than foods high in sugar. But recent research shows that sugar is in fact one of the most harmful substances for your gut. One study even indicated that sugar could be more addictive than cocaine!
It’s easy to see why we love the stuff—it tastes so sweet and delicious. But sugar has been linked to unwanted weight gain, energy crashes, and junk food cravings. So stay away from the sweet stuff when you can.
5. Diet Soda
In an effort to avoid sugar, sometimes people will turn to artificial sweeteners, like the kind found in many types of diet soda. But these artificial sweeteners can often be even worse than sugar itself. They often contain even more harmful compounds, and some of them have been linked to serious health problems.
The best bet for your gut and your overall health is to avoid all sodas completely, but especially steer clear of the diet variety.
6. Fruit Juice
Fruit juice is a tricky one, because at first glance it may seem like a healthy option. But the truth is, most fruit juices are made with negligible amounts of real fruit. And they often contain even MORE sugar than some sodas.
If you want the delicious sweet taste of fruit, stick to the real thing, and leave the juice on the shelf.
Gluten has been all over the news the last few years. Long ago, it seems, bread was considered a healthy staple of a balanced diet. But new information has shown gluten, one of the key ingredients in bread and other grain-based foods, to be very harmful to certain people’s digestive tracts.
And even if you don’t have a gluten intolerance or allergy, the extra carbs contained in gluten are best avoided if possible. Next time you order a sandwich or a burger, try getting it without the bread or bun. Avoiding gluten can reduce gas and bloating, and it can also help you avoid daily sluggishness.
As you can see, threats to your gut are lurking in even some of the most unexpected places. It’s not enough to trust the flashy labels and slick marketing that food companies use to attract you. The important thing is to consider the real nutritional value of your favorite foods, even ones you assume are healthy.
When you take good care of your gut, you’ll notice the effects throughout your entire body. Studies have shown that a properly balanced digestive system may be linked to a wide range of health benefits, including a better mood, sharper focus, and an easier time losing weight.
The Natural Conclusion
The world is becoming more conscious of gut health, and restaurants are starting to take note. Many establishments these days offer plenty of gut-friendly options, like gluten-free fare or desserts with minimal amounts of sugar.
And even if you occasionally cheat and indulge in one of these foods, it’s okay.
The key, like anything else, is moderation. Simply being more aware and more active in your choice of foods can go a long way to preserving your gut and keeping your overall health on the right track.