• Michelle Ang

Foods to Cut Out for Better Health

Updated: Jun 7

From bloating to constipation to bowel issues, many digestive issues can usually be traced back to the foods that we consume daily. While salads and superfoods have been on the rise in recent times, many of us still remain loyal to overly salty, fatty and sweet foods, or simply just foods that don’t sit right with our digestive system.


Milk and Cheese


Did you know that a high proportion of Asians are lactose intolerant -- meaning that they don’t have enough lactase to break down the proteins that can be found in dairy products? Many people don’t know this and continue to consume dairy on a frequent basis such as cheese, butter and even cream.


Especially with trendy foods being topped with copious amounts of cheese these days, such as Korean cheesy corn dogs and all kinds of cream kinds of pasta, bloating, discomfort and diarrhoea are issues bound to surface when we consume such foods as frequently as we do.


While the tangy, acidic kick of cheese gives the extra oomph in many foods, especially western foods, try to avoid cheese and instead opt for alternatives such as mayo, mustard or lemon juice, which have a similar tangy, acidic taste to it to spice up your food.


For dairy products, there are many alternatives such as nut milk -- almond, soy and even oat milk so you don’t get the runs.


Ramen


While this is a staple in many Korean dramas, where the main characters eat ramen together, ramen in fact shouldn’t be a staple, or a frequent food to consume. Besides being high in sugar, salt and oil which present a host of health problems to many people, it can also cause water retention and extreme bloating, which is extremely uncomfortable for many.


Instead, opt for lighter noodles such as rice noodles or sweet potato noodles that aren’t deep fried beforehand, and season with sauces such as light soy sauce, fish sauce, or even some shrimp paste and stir fry together for a delicious and quick meal.


However, if you really have to insist on eating this extremely unhealthy food, bring the water to a rolling boil in a pot, and boil your noodles for about 2 minutes to get rid of the oil, and pour it away. Replace the water and cook your noodles as per usual.


Pasta


Run! Especially if it’s cream-based pasta.


While pasta is an extremely filling, satisfying and hearty meal, it is extremely high in sugar, and is a source of empty carbohydrates as it does not provide ample nutrients by itself. In people who are sensitive to gluten, pasta can cause gut inflammation as well.


On a more general scope, pasta, like many other starchy foods, can cause constipation if not enough fibre is eaten, and can cause bloating.



When eaten with a cream base, the dairy can further exacerbate the negative effects of consuming pasta and cause discomfort, especially in the digestive tract.



Ice Cream


Ice cream contains a large amount of sugar, dairy, artificial flavouring, colouring and trans fat, all of which aren’t the best for your health. While ice cream is a good occasional treat when you’re feeling stressed out and need a treat, twice or thrice a month is fine. For a much healthier option, try acai puddings. Acai has a similarly rich texture that ice cream has, and goes extremely well with tropical fruits like mangos, which makes for a delightfully tasty yet healthy dessert instead of ice cream. Acai is also rich in antioxidants, unlike ice cream which is chock full of artificial colourings, sugar and trans fats which makes it a wonderful food to snack on.




Alcohol


Alcohol is a terrible beverage -- the cons of this drink include even stunting brain function and development, which makes it almost biohazardous if you ask me. Alcohol is also rich in sugar and contains empty calories, and the gassiness of beer can also lead to bloating, which is extremely uncomfortable. Excessive consumption of alcohol can also lead to stomach discomfort, diarrhoea and acid reflux, which is not a pretty experience to have.


However, variants such as red wine are high in antioxidants and can lower your blood pressure. There are also healthy liquors such as herbal liquors, which are said to promote healthy blood flow and circulation around the body.




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