You read the title correctly! Some vegetables can actually HARM your gut! So if you’re making a drastic diet change to improve your health and help heal your gastrointestinal tract, eating every vegetable in sight might actually cause more harm to your already damaged GI tract.
What are the most gut damaging vegetables
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc.)
- Shelled peas, including sugar snap peas
How do these vegetables irritate the GI tract
These vegetables can take longer to digest and most are not broken down by stomach acid. They then move into the intestines as larger particles that sit longer. For those with already irritated intestines, having larger food particles sitting there longer may cause more discomfort.
These foods require more digestive enzymes such as amylase which aids in digesting carbohydrates. Some of the foods on the list contain high carbs but also have a high fiber skin. The skins are packed full of nutrients and fiber is good food for the gut flora to thrive. The problem with these foods in people who have reduced digestive enzymes and reduced gut flora, these foods could feel like they are tearing up your insides for hours and most of the vegetable is eliminated.
How to improve gut health
Those who are switching from a high acid-forming diet to more healthy choices that include more vegetables, may want to eliminate these vegetables from the menu for a while. NOT forever, but until your GI tract heals to a level that your body can tolerate these harder to digest foods.
You DO want to start with these more gentle vegetables. These vegetables discussed in our previous article here, are still extremely healthy packed with beneficial nutrients but are the fasted vegetables to digest, do not contain a high fiber skin or have skins that are easily removed until your body is better at digesting them, and have other benefits to support gut health.
Another way to improve your gut health is by spending time chewing up your food. I’m sure all of us have been told to do this but do we really understand why? That amylase enzyme I was talking about can also be found in your saliva. So spending more time chewing releases more saliva that contains amylase and helps breakdown your food before it hits your stomach.
Restoring your gut flora is extremely important! The beneficial bacteria is what helps breakdown those fibers in these vegetables. If you have to limit the fiber, you won’t be able to restore the gut fiber. Not very helpful here. You will need a supplement with probiotics until your gut flora is restored.
Supplement recommendation for gut health
The reason why I write these types of articles is to share what I have learned from trying to help my sister with her gut health. She has had her gallbladder removed, diagnosed with IBS, and has been on a very high acid-forming diet forever. This means soda, fatty salty meats, cakes, candy bars, processed foods, and lots of bread and pasta. Her body struggles to breakdown lipids since she has no gallbladder, she has disrupted her gut flora, her pancreas and liver are damaged causing her other digestive enzymes like amylase to diminish and the cells in your intestines are damaged also reducing other enzymes such as protease, maltase, sucrase, and lactase. She is very tired with severe abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
Switching to a more alkaline diet including fruits and vegetables may heal her intestines but, she will need to start with the more gentle vegetables and take a supplement to aid in digestion.
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There is one supplement that can help her and you with similar digestive problems. It’s fairly inexpensive compared to other supplements, contains enzymes needed to breakdown fats, proteins, and complex carbohydrates, and has the right amount of beneficial probiotic bacteria.
This supplement has VERY impressive reviews and there is no harm from added enzymes or probiotics. It is gluten free for my gluten free friends.
- Vegetables high in complex carbohydrates and fiber take longer and are harder to digest for those with gastrointestinal damage.
- Eliminate acid-forming foods from the diet.
- Introduce gentle fast digestive vegetables first.
- MAV nutrition offers digestive enzymes and probiotic supplement to help restore gut flora and digest foods for improved gut health.
- Introduce these complex vegetables slowly once gut health begins to improve.