Habits That Damage Your Intestines

Habits That Damage Your Intestines

Last update: 31 May, 2015

The intestines are an essential part of the body and central to the digestive process. Problems with the intestines can reveal themselves with inflammation, excessive gas, bloating and abdominal pressure. There are many factors that can contribute to intestinal issues and even stress can interfere with the intestines. Many people experience irritable bowel syndrome, an illness associated with the digestive system, and there are many habits that damage the intestines. Read on to find out how you can reduce digestive problems and which habits you should avoid in order to protect your intestines.

A stressful lifestyle


Stress has a big impact on the body and this is an issue everyone needs to take seriously. High stress levels can interfere with the digestive process and damage the intestines. This part of the body acts almost as a ‘second brain’ because the intestinal area is where neurotransmitters are synthesised. This means that stress and anxiety can cause havoc with your digestive processes. A peaceful life means an easier time for your intestines, whereas a life filled with stress and worry can cause irritable bowel syndrome.

High stress levels changes your autonomous nervous system, altering intestinal movement and changing the rhythm to make it faster or slower. Anxiety also alters the endocrine system of the body. This causes the body to produce more stress-related hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which can interrupt the digestion of food and cause an irritable bowel.


Another cause of intestinal problems that are related to stress is excessive food intake. Many people use eating as a way to calm their nerves. Food often has an emotional connection and ‘comfort eating’ can become a problem for the intestines. Too much food stresses the intestines and food absorption slows down causing blockages and bloating. In order to protect your intestines try to cut down on the stress and anxiety in your life and eat moderate meals. Your emotional life is linked strongly with your body and a peaceful, relaxed lifestyle benefits your intestines.

Poor diet


The food you eat has a huge impact on your intestinal health. You should try to limit the consumption of fried and processed foods, red meat and dairy products in order to encourage healthy intestines. Fast food, junk food and other processed convenience meals are easy and quick but they are a disaster for your body. These kinds of foods contain little soluble fibre so they often cause constipation and/or diarrhoea. They can also cause stomach pains, bloating, gas and indigestion.

Red meat is another culprit. Too much red meat in your diet is hard on the intestines because it is difficult to digest. Red meat is also high in fat. If you do eat red meat always try to get organic meat from a known source. Non-organic meat is more likely to contain toxins, especially if the meat has been genetically modified to make it grow quickly. A better choice for meat-eaters is lean chicken or turkey which has been grilled or oven-baked.


Excessive dairy consumption can cause irritable bowel syndrome. Many dairy products are not easily digested, blocking the intestines due to their low fibre content. The high fat and lactose content can also cause constipation. It is a good idea to replace cows’ milk with alternatives, such as oat milk, rice milk and almond milk.



Whenever you take medication is has to be processed by the body. Some studies say that irritable bowel syndrome can be caused by antibiotics. These drugs kill harmful bacteria but they also kill good bacteria in the stomach which is necessary for proper function, so this can lead to digestive issues. Other medications can have a similar effect, such as drugs you might take for constipation. It is always preferable to use natural methods where possible and try to limit your consumption of medications.

There are many natural ways to help your intestines and eating a healthy diet is an important way to protect and nurture not only your digestive system but your whole body. Foods that are high in fibre, such as wholemeal bread and fresh fruit and vegetables, are excellent for the digestion. They help the bowel to keep active and reduce problems with the intestines, such as slow digestion and irritable bowel syndrome.