Despite being completely delicious, there are certain food combos to avoid if you’ve got a sensitive tummy. Check out our cheat sheet for the biggest indigestion-causing culprits, and how you can get away with eating them anyway.
Banana Smoothies with Milk
Milk-based banana smoothies are indigestion’s best (or worst) friend. The combination of milk with bananas is listed in Ayurveda practices as being the top offender when it comes to creating a feeling of heaviness in the body and can make your mind feel sluggish. Instead, try dairy-free options like nut or rice milk, or add a dash of cardamom and nutmeg to your dairy-based banana smoothie to help stimulate digestion.
Bean and Cheese Burritos
This may seem like the most obvious indigestion-inducing combination, but don’t blame it on the beans. While beans and cheese make up the backbone of any good burrito, it’s the magical combination — not the beans alone — of cheese, beans and hot sauce that creates the perfect storm and the quickest route to gas and bloating. Reduce the chances of an upset stomach by skipping the cheese and hot sauce and load up on more fresh vegetables instead.
Melon and Prosciutto
Like any great loner, the humble melon is best when left alone. This high-sugar fruit takes just a bit longer than others to digest so if you’ve got a craving, plan to eat it at least 30 minutes before or after anything else.
One of the biggest indigestion culprits is the one-two punch of animal proteins and carbohydrates, like lasagna or a steak sandwich. Since protein and starch need different enzymes and different levels of acidity to be digested, eating them together forces the body to make a choice between the two. You can help bypass the effects of indigestion and get things moving by adding a leafy green salad to the mix.
Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Parmesan
This one made us weep. If you suffer from indigestion, pairing acidic tomatoes with starchy pasta can spell disaster for a weak tummy. When you add dairy to the mix, you can cue the nap — this already difficult combination becomes even worse since it takes a whack of energy to digest.
Pancakes with Blueberries
Fruit is the quickest digesting item from your arsenal, but eating it with carbohydrate-rich foods like pancakes slows digestion down to a halt. Avoid this indigestion-causing combo by eating fruit on an empty stomach as early in the day as possible.
Fruit After Dinner
A bowl of fresh berries or Japanese-style orange segments after dinner may be the smart choice calories-wise, but isn’t so great if you’re sensitive to digestive issues. The simple sugars found in fruit digest quickly. When you reach for fruit after a meal rich in starch or protein like a steak or pasta dinner that tends to stick around much longer, the sugars from the fruit will stick around too and begin to ferment.
Yogurt with Tart Berries
Sour fruit on your yogurt parfait sounds like the healthy choice, but this food combination can slow down digestion and actually alter intestinal flora. In fact, this particular duo can also produce congestion, colds and allergy-like symptoms.
Egg Scramble with Bacon and Cheese
Eggs fried with meat and cheese is definitely delicious, but doubling up on different protein combinations means only one of them will be efficiently digested. Instead, try spreading out your protein intake over the day to help aid digestion. When in doubt, opt for a veggie-packed omelet instead.
Oatmeal with Cream and a Glass of Orange Juice
This otherwise perfectly-healthy breakfast can do a number on your belly, since the acids in orange juice kill the enzymes essential for digesting starchy oatmeal and cereal. The acidity of orange juice can also curdle milk in the stomach and lead to too much mucus. Need that juice? Try knocking back that glass of OJ at least 30 minutes before diving into your bowl of oatmeal.
Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s 1 Dish, 2 Ways column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca. For more recipe ideas, visit bonniemo.ca, or catch her on Instagram @bonniemo.