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Digestion: Which Foods Help And Hurt?

First Posted: 12/19/11 08:21 AM ET Updated: 12/19/11 02:41 PM ET

By Amanda Gardner

In theory, you should be able to digest just about any type of food you put in your mouth. But changes in food processing and preparation (think fried) not to mention lifestyle (think sedentary) mean our stomachs don't always react well to everything we eat.

It's best to avoid some food -- like fatty meats -- to avoid upset tummies. But, fortunately, nature also provides foods that can ease our digestion. Here's a guide to what's good and what's bad when it comes to keeping your system running smoothly.

High-Fat And Fried Food
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Both high-fat and fried food can overwhelm the stomach, resulting in acid reflux and heartburn. "The body can only handle so much at one time," says Jessica Anderson, R.D., a diabetes educator with the Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center, in Corpus Christi.

High-fat food also can result in pale-colored stool, a phenomenon called steatorrhea, which is essentially excess fat in the feces. And people with irritable bowel syndrome definitely need to stay away from foods high in fat, she says, including butter and cream.

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Flickr photo by Kate Ter Haar


Filed by Sarah Klein  |