This Is Actually The Worst Processed Food You Could Eat If You Struggle With Indigestion, According To Health Experts

One of the most quintessential, tasty and healthy summer dishes is a nutrient-rich salad. For those who struggle with indigestion and bloating, adding one processed food item to this meal in particular might exacerbate your stomach pains, experts say. We checked in with health and nutrition aficionados to learn more about how you might make or break your lunch or dinner with this processed food, and how it can exacerbate indigestion. Read on for tips and suggestions from registered nutritionist Jay Cowin, NNCP, RNT, RNC, CHN, CSNA, ASYSTEM’s Director of Formulations and registered dietitian Katie Tomaschko, MS, RDN, contributor at Sporting Smiles.

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How Processed, Creamy Salad Dressings Can Trigger Indigestion

Creamy salad dressings, especially commercially made (and processed) ones, Cowin says, “can worsen indigestion because they’re high in acid and are usually full of fat, sugars, and other additives.” This, he explains, “slows down the digestion process or makes it difficult to break down food properly.” This then results in the “extra production of stomach acid.” Additionally, Cowin notes that “the acid regulators in salad dressings can irritate the stomach and also cause heartburn.”


While some processed and bottled salad dressings might seem like ‘healthy’ options, Tomaschko explains that not all seemingly nutritious foods will be beneficial for your gut. “We are all so vastly different from one another, so what may be ‘healthy’ and beneficial for some may not be for others,” she says. “The only way to truly tell if your bloating and indigestion is caused by a certain food is to stop eating it, and note how you feel,” she continues. “If you feel better after a few days of avoiding a certain food, then go back to eating it and find discomfort, you are probably intolerant to that food,” Tomaschko stresses, “This can be referred to as a form of an elimination diet.”


If you can’t skip the dressing when eating a salad, Cowin acknowledges, then the helpful alternative is to make one of your own. “This is so you know exactly what goes in and you can avoid any ingredients that will aggravate your GERD or acid reflux,” he adds. “A bit of extra virgin olive oil is a good ingredient to add or choose as your dressing since it has a low acidity level,” he suggests. This, he concludes, also “lubricates the intestinal tract, which can help with digestion.”

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