Do blackberries or chickpeas make your stomach turn upside down? Do Artichokes or kidney beans have you keeled over on the bathroom floor? If you answered yes to these questions, you might want to look into FODMAP. FODMAP is not necessarily a diet, but scale to measure the irritability certain foods cause in the gastrointestinal system. Foods that cause discomfort like bloating, stomach pain, gas or constipation are considered FODMAPS because of the way they react with the body’s digestive tract. This discomfort is caused by the fermentable carbohydrates, which for some, can be difficult for the colon to digest causing these uncomfortable symptoms to occur, but knowing what foods are FODMAPS and what foods are considered low FODMAPS can help you avoid these afflictive symptoms. While sensitivity to these carbs differs between individuals, researchers believe that diets high FODMAP could contribute to issues such as IBS.
FODMAP stands for “Fermentable oligo- di, monosaccharides, and polyols”. FODMAPs are foods that have short-chain carbohydrates. Short-chain carbohydrates are more difficult and slower to digest,”(Healthline). Instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream, they reach the far end of your intestine where most of your gut bacteria reside.” Since the food is unable to be absorbed properly by the small intestine, the food moves along the digestive tract until it arrives at the colon. The small intestine does not adsorb FODMAPS easily, instead, they increase the amount of fluid in the bowel and create more gas. When food arrives at the colon, FODMAPs produce hydrogen, a gas that could lead to gas, bloating, cramping, stomach pain and constipation.
Some might think that FODMAPs only consist of overly processed sugary junk food, and while foods don’t exactly help irritable stomachs, some of the biggest FODMAP offenders are actually nutrient-dense healthful foods like Brussel sprouts and watermelon. Just because a food is considered a high FODMAP, doesn’t necessarily make it “unhealthy”. Some of our favorite nutrient-rich commodities such as chickpeas and cauliflower are considered FODMAPS. Now before you kiss these foods goodbye forever, remember that everyone’s gut is different! While some people cannot persevere through the discomfort caused by FODMAPS due to their increased sensitivity, others might find that cutting down on these foods rather than dismissing them completely does the job and relieves them of their symptoms.
So who are the culprits causing all of this stomach discomfort? There are four groups of FODMAP that include
- Oligosaccharides: Wheat, rye, legumes and various fruits and vegetables, such as garlic and onions.
- Disaccharides: Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and soft cheese. Lactose is the main carb.
- Monosaccharides: Various fruit including figs and mangoes, and sweeteners such as honey and agave nectar. Fructose is the main carb.
- Polyols: Certain fruits and vegetables including blackberries and lychee, as well as some low-calorie sweeteners like those in sugar-free gum.
If just reading that list of food made your stomach turn, looking into a low FODMAP diet could be the solution to the easily irritated stomach. Foods that are considered low FODMAPS are easy to digest and help to heal the gut and improve its functionality. Low FODMAPs can also relieve symptoms of other gastrointestinal issues like IBS or SIBO. Since there is no “cure” per-say to IBS or SIBO, there were ways to manage them so the symptoms are more tolerable. Looking for easy low FODMAP recipes? Be sure to scroll to the bottom and check out our super easy FODMAP recipes!
Low FODMAP Foods
- Low FODMAP fruits and veggies-Alfalfa sprouts, carrots, bok choy, zucchini, bell peppers, oranges, grapes, strawberries, and bananas.
- Low FODMAP starches-Oat bran, millet, sourdough spelt bread, gluten-free pasta and bread, rice bran, and corn flour
- Low FODMAP animal products-Feta cheese, Camembert cheese, eggs, chicken, and beef.
- Low FODMAP Drinks-Tea, coffee, fruit juice not from concentrate, rice milk, and almond milk.
- Low FODMAP Nuts and Seeds-Almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts.
Whether you’re looking to improve your gut health or trying to alleviate a troubled stomach, trying out a low FODMAP diet could be the answer to your stomach’s prayers.
And remember, colons are like snowflakes, no colon is made the same! What works for your cousin’s GI tract might not work for yours. The best way to construct a diet that you and your gut will both love is trial and error. Try different amounts of different foods and see how they make you feel. You might discover you can tolerate some FODMAPS in smaller portions, or maybe you’ll notice a new food that you never knew you loved so much that you and your gut both love. Throughout the years, food proved itself to be one of the greatest medicine remedies out there. Eating honest foods that make your body feel good inside and outside is one of the finest remedies for health and happiness!
Low FODMAP Rainbow Rolls- Makes about 2 servings
-Rice paper wraps
-1 large bell pepper
-1 large cucumber
-Peanut sauce for dipping
-Place spring roll wrapper in warm water for 10-15 seconds, make sure the entire wrapper gets covered
-Place wrapper on a wet surface
-Add sliced veggies and bean sprouts
-Wrap like a burrito
-Dip in your favorite sauce and enjoy!
Greek Quinoa Summer Salad Makes about 5 servings
-1&½ cup of cooked quinoa
-1 large tomato
-¼ cup of olives
-¼ cup of parsley
-¼ cup of feta cheese
-¼ cup of roasted pine nuts
-Dice cucumber and tomato into small pieces and add to a large bowl
-Add cooked quinoa, olives, feta cheese, parsley and roasted pine nuts
-Squeeze lemon juice over salad, add salt and pepper to your liking
-Serve warm (make sure quinoa is warm to ensure this) and enjoy!
Low FODMAP Bolognese Pasta
-1 box of gluten free pasta (save the pasta water!)
-2 cans of crushed tomatoes
-½ an eggplant
-½ cup of zucchini
-¼ cup of basil
-¼ cup red wine
-Boil pasta and save a cup of the pasta water to use later
-Dice eggplant and zucchini into small cubes
-In a separate saucepan, add olive oil and saute eggplant and zucchini
-Once sauted, add crushed tomatoes
-Bring to a simmer and add chopped basil, salt, pepper, paprika and thyme. If sauce is too thick then add pasta water. Let simmer on low for 20 minutes and serve over gluten free pasta and enjoy!