List of Foods That Are Hard to Digest

By Brad Chacos

Foods of all shapes, sizes, types and flavors exist, both natural and artificial, but the ability to satisfy your cravings comes with a high digestive price for some. A number of individuals with gastrointestinal (GI) conditions have to limit certain types of foods that are harder for the human body to digest.

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Highly fiberous foods can be hard to digest.

Dairy Products

Variety of dairy foods
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Many people have trouble digesting dairy products.

Runner's Digest reports that many people have trouble digesting milk, cheese and ice cream because dairy products contain lactose. Lactose is a type of sugar that many people find difficult to digest. Diets for people with digestive diseases, such as Crohn's disease, commonly forbid dairy products.

High-Fiber Foods

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Lettuce can be difficult to digest.

While the bowel cleansing and stool softening properties of a high-fiber diet are well known, the reason that foods high in fiber pass through the intestinal tract so quickly is that the body has a difficult time digesting them. The resulting gas buildup can be painful for many people. If digestion is an issue, try to avoid foods with insoluble fibers, such as whole-wheat products and pastas, as well as leafy green vegetables, such as lettuce or cabbage.

High-Fat Foods

Fried chicken
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Fried chicken can be difficult to digest.

High-fat foods--such as ice cream, cooking fats and oils, some nuts and many animal-based food products--are hard to digest. Fried foods, which are typically a meat product dipped in batter and cooked in a vat of oil, are especially difficult to digest.

Spicy Foods

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Avoid spicy peppers.

Hot peppers are used in many regional cuisines to add a dash of heat or kick to dishes. Unfortunately, the heat doesn't stop in one's mouth, and spicy foods can irritate the esophagus on the way down. The resulting pain is often associated with heartburn. Spicy food can also cause pain during bowel movements.