Eating a balanced diet is key to reducing inflammation in the stomach. You always want to choose foods that help fight inflammation and provide other health benefits. While there are foods you should eat to reduce inflammation, there are also foods, especially carbohydrates, that you should avoid because they can cause stomach upset.
We checked in with Lisa Richards, registered nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet, about carbohydrates that can cause an inflamed stomach. She said: “There is one form of carbohydrate that causes stomach upset, refined carbohydrates, and they are found in a worrying amount of foods. Three of the worst refined carbohydrate foods are pasta, bread and pastries. Find out more below!
While you can make this versatile dish healthy by adding an abundance of vegetables, the pasta itself is high in carbohydrates. This can slow down your metabolism and cause inflammation and bloating, making it harder for you to lose weight in the long run. We all know that pasta is bad for us, especially if you eat it often, but just how bad is it?
Richards says, “These foods also contain refined carbohydrates and are responsible for intestinal inflammation and a host of other problems. This form of carbohydrate lacks fiber, which can help the good gut bacteria [need] as a food source,” she continues. ‘This ultimately leads to an imbalance because the good bacteria die and the bad gut bacteria are encouraged to grow. When the gut is out of balance in this way, inflammation often results.”
Fortunately, there are many anti-inflammatory alternatives to refined carbohydrate-based pastas. “Choosing whole-grain options like brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat pastas is a great way to avoid refined carbohydrates and incorporate extra fiber from whole-grain sources,” notes Richards. “This fiber can actually begin to heal inflammation in the gut by feeding the good bacteria and correcting gut dysbiosis. Whole foods can also replace refined pasta like spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini.” Yum!
Bread, it’s delicious and filling – and it’s probably an essential item in your kitchen. However, Richards says that if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to limit your consumption of these high-carb foods. She says, “A lot [types of bread] are made with refined carbohydrates, which lack fiber and other beneficial nutrients. Refined carbohydrates are very anti-inflammatory and quickly turn into sugar, causing a rapid rise in glucose,” continues Richards. “This rapid rise in glucose can cause an inflammatory response in the body and the more often these carbohydrates are consumed, the more likely the body is chronically in a state of mild inflammation.” Certain breads are worse than others. White bread, in particular, is worse because of its high content of refined carbohydrates. You should eliminate white bread from your diet altogether (or at least as much as possible) if you want to reduce stomach inflammation and lose weight.
Just like pasta, white bread can easily be replaced with wholemeal bread. And when it comes to what to look for in bread, says Richards, “It’s important to look at the ingredient label and make sure the word ‘enriched’ isn’t present. This would indicate that the flour used is a process where nutrients have been removed and artificial ones added, making it ‘enriched’ and thus refined/processed.” Noted!
Finally, baked goods, such as doughnuts, cakes, and pastries, are also made with refined carbohydrates that are very harmful to the gut because they are highly inflammatory. Richards says this is due to the “refined nature of the carbs and the presence of refined sugar and oils that cause inflammation and balance out the good and bad ratio of bacteria.” Yuck! For people who can’t completely eliminate baked goods from their diet, Richards again recommends looking for items made with whole grains. She continues, “If the first word on the ingredient label reads ‘enriched,’ then this product is made with refined carbohydrates. You can also choose to make it yourself at home with whole wheat flour or satisfy your sweet tooth with carb-free candies.”