High Fiber, Low FODMAP Foods for IBS

High Fiber, Low FODMAP Foods for IBS

Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be challenging because it often involves navigating several dietary restrictions and uncomfortable symptoms.

 

One of the most common treatments for IBS is the low FODMAP diet. However, the low FODMAP diet is quite restrictive and often leads to not getting enough fiber. That’s why you need to incorporate high-fiber, low-FODMAP foods into your diet.

 

In this blog post, we will review the importance of fiber for people with IBS and introduce a range of high-fiber, low-FODMAP foods that can be safely incorporated into an IBS-friendly diet.

 

Understanding IBS and the Role of Fiber

IBS is a common digestive disorder that causes symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. While the exact causes of IBS are unknown, several factors, such as diet, stress, and imbalances in the gut microbiome, are believed to play a role in its development.

 

Fiber, a type of indigestible carbohydrate found in plant-based foods, plays a crucial role in maintaining gut health. It adds bulk to stool, promotes regular bowel movements, and feeds your good gut bacteria, which increases the diversity of your gut microbiome (this is a good thing!).

 

One of the most important functions of fiber is the formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). When certain gut bacteria feed on fiber, SCFAs are produced as a by-product. SCFAs play an important role in regulating metabolism, the immune system, and cell growth. They are also used as a source of energy by the cells of the large intestine.

 

When a person does not eat enough fiber, the diversity of their gut microbiome decreases. It also leads to a shift in the gut bacteria, who start using proteins and the mucous layer of the gut as fuel. This can lead to the production of harmful molecules, which can cause inflammation and damage to the gut wall.

 

For people with IBS, getting enough fiber can improve symptoms by improving how waste moves throughout the digestive tract, reducing bloating, and promoting overall gut health.

 

Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber

There are two main types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.

 

Soluble fiber dissolves in water. There are two types of soluble fiber – viscous and non-viscous. Viscous soluble fiber forms a gel in the digestive tract. This can help reduce diarrhea, as the viscous soluble fiber absorbs excess water from the stool. Non-viscous soluble fiber is rapidly fermented by the gut bacteria, which can lead to gas production. 

 

Insoluble fiber bulks stool and helps waste move through the digestive tract more quickly. This type of fiber can help with constipation.

 

Fiber and the Low FODMAP Diet

The low FODMAP diet is a widely recommended approach for managing IBS symptoms. FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. They are a group of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the body and can trigger IBS symptoms in certain people.

 

While some high-fiber foods are also high in FODMAPs, it is possible to incorporate fiber into a low-FODMAP diet by choosing high-fiber, low-FODMAP foods. This ensures that people with IBS can reap the benefits of fiber without making their IBS symptoms worse.

 

How Much Fiber Do I Need?

The amount of fiber you need depends on your gender and your age.

 

Amount of fiber needed per day:

 

 Age 19 – 50Age 51+
Male38 grams30 grams
Female25 grams21 grams

 

If you haven’t been including a lot of fiber in your diet, it’s important to start slowly. Increase your fiber intake too fast, and you’ll likely have some uncomfortable gut symptoms.

 

Start by increasing your fiber intake by a few grams per day. After you’ve done that for a few days, increase by another few grams. Continue this pattern until you’re consistently able to hit your daily fiber goal.

 

In addition to starting slowly, it’s also important to drink plenty of water as you increase your fiber intake.

 

Click here to download our free monthly fiber tracking worksheet.

 

High Fiber, Low FODMAP Foods to Try

 

Fiber Content of Low FODMAP Foods per the Monash University FODMAP app

 Fiber (grams)Serving Size
Quinoa2.7½ cup, cooked
Oats3.71/2 cup, raw
Raspberries4.21/3 cup
Kiwi Fruit2.11 medium kiwi
Oranges3.11 medium orange
Carrots1.81 medium carrot, raw (75g)
Green beans1.6½ cup
Potatoes (skin on)1.91 medium white potato
Canned lentils1.91/4 cup  (45g)
Chia seeds3.71 tablespoon

 

Quinoa

When cooking quinoa, the ratio of quinoa to water is 1:2. For example, add half a cup of quinoa to 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

 

Try tossing quinoa in salads, enjoying it for breakfast (topped with fresh berries and peanut butter), or use it instead of couscous, rice, and pasta.

Looking for more gluten-free grains?  Here are the 6 best gluten free grains.

 

Oats

Oats will have different cooking instructions depending on what kind of oats they are. Some types of oats you might see include steel-cut oats, whole flake oats, quick oats, and instant oats.

 

Oats can be used in hundreds of different ways. Try making your own DIY granola bars, layering them with berries and peanut butter for overnight oats, or blending them into flour to make pancakes.

 

Raspberries

If you can’t find fresh raspberries, frozen raspberries are just as nutritious (and keep for longer!).

 

Try tossing a few raspberries onto a yogurt parfait, blending them into smoothies, mixing them with your overnight oats, or baking them into a low FODMAP muffin.

 

Kiwifruit

If you’re struggling with constipation, kiwi is the fruit for you! Research shows that eating two kiwi fruit per day helps waste move through the gut, improving constipation.

 

It’s thought that kiwi helps relieve constipation due to its high fiber content and because it contains an enzyme called actinidin, which breaks protein down and stimulates the large intestine.

 

The easiest way to eat kiwi fruit is to cut it in half and scrape the flesh out with a spoon, but it also tastes delicious as part of a fruit salad or in a constipation-busting smoothie!

 

Oranges

In addition to their high fiber content, oranges are packed with vitamin C, which helps support a healthy immune system.

 

Enjoy sliced oranges and vanilla yogurt for a creamsicle-inspired snack, or add to a wrap with chicken, bell peppers, onions, and ginger for an Asian-inspired chicken wrap.

           

Carrots

Carrots have numerous health benefits, but perhaps the most well-known is their importance for vision and eye health. This is due to their high content of alpha- and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of vitamin C, which is important for immune health.

 

Try shredded carrots in your overnight oats, steam them and serve as a side dish, or slice them and add them to a stir-fry. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try baking shredded carrots into carrot ginger muffins.

 

Green Beans

Like many colourful vegetables, green beans are packed with vitamin C and beta-carotene. They’re also a good source of folate and potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure.

 

Try adding chopped green beans to a casserole or roasting them with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

 

Potatoes

Ah, the humble potato! It gets a bad rap by people who promote low-carb diets, but it’s a wonderful source of nutrients, especially if you leave the skin on.

 

Try a baked potato topped with lactose-free plain Greek yogurt, green onion tops, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, and lean ground beef. Or, if you’d prefer potatoes as a side dish, nothing beats smashed potatoes with some butter, salt, and pepper.

 

Canned Lentils

Canned lentils are considered low FODMAP at half-cup serving size. Canned lentils are lower in FODMAPs because the FODMAPs leach into the fluid they’re canned. By draining and rinsing the canned lentils before use, you get rid of a lot of the FODMAPs, making canned lentils an excellent high-fiber, low-FODMAP choice.

 

Try using lentils as a substitute for beef in your spaghetti Bolognese recipe, use them in a comforting lentil soup or use them to make a vegetarian chilli.

 

Chia Seeds

Small but mighty, chia seeds pack a serious nutrient punch. In addition to their high content of low FODMAP fiber, they’re also rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins.

 

One of the easiest ways to add chia seeds to your diet is to sprinkle them over cereal or into a smoothie. If you have a bit more time on your hands, try making chia seed pudding by mixing chia seeds with your milk of choice and some maple syrup and letting it sit overnight in the fridge.

 

Final Thoughts

Incorporating high fiber, low FODMAP foods into your diet is a fundamental step towards managing your IBS symptoms and promoting overall gut health. To get you started, we’ve created a 3-day low FODMAP meal plan that you can sign up for here.

 

If you struggle to get enough fiber with IBS, consider consulting with a registered dietitian to create a personalized IBS management plan. To speak with Keren, click here to book a one-time, free consultation for us to discuss your nutritional needs and see whether we’re a good fit.

Low FODMAP Eating Out

Low FODMAP Eating Out

Eating out on a low FODMAP diet can seem daunting, but with the right strategies and tips, you can confidently enjoy meals outside the house. 

 

The low FODMAP diet is designed to minimize the intake of certain carbohydrates that can trigger digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. However, navigating the menu at a restaurant can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the ingredients in the dishes.

 

Eating out on Low Fodmap

 

In this article, we’ll provide you with tips and strategies for low FODMAP eating out. Whether you’re at a fast-food restaurant, a fine dining restaurant, or just grabbing a bite on the go, you can follow these guidelines to ensure you can stick to the low FODMAP diet even when you don’t have control over the menu.

Low FODMAP eating out can feel impossible, but with a few tips and tricks, you can make it work!

 

How to Eat out on Low Fodmap Diet

Infographic with 6 Tips for Low FODMAP Eating Out

One of the best things you can do when eating out is to do some research before you head to the restaurant. Here are some ways you can plan ahead to make low FODMAP eating out less stressful.

 

Before You Arrive at the Restaurant

 

Check out the menu online

 

Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to check out a restaurant’s menu online before you go. Take a look at the menu and make a note of any options that look like they’ll work for you. Once you arrive at the restaurant, you can confirm with the serving staff that the meal doesn’t include any high FODMAP ingredients.

 

Call ahead

 

If you cannot find menu information online, try calling the restaurant beforehand to see whether they can accommodate low FODMAP options. Restaurants appreciate being told in advance that they may need to make substitutions to suit your dietary needs, and this can provide peace of mind that you’ll be able to eat at the restaurant.

 

Consider restaurants that offer gluten-free options

 

While gluten isn’t technically the problem on a low FODMAP diet, gluten-free options are also wheat-free. Since wheat is a significant source of FODMAPs, choosing gluten-free options can be an easy switch to ensure your meal is low FODMAP. Try choosing restaurants that offer a good range of gluten-free options.  Read my blog 6 Best Gluten Free Grains to learn how to identify gluten-free options on a restaurant menu.

 

Consider dining during off-peak hours

 

If possible, try to dine during times when the restaurant is not as busy. This will make it easier to chat with the server about your dietary needs and will ensure the kitchen has enough time to prepare your food.

 

Bring a printed list of foods you need to avoid

 

Communication is key, and having a list of foods you need to avoid can be extremely helpful for the restaurant staff. Try to bring a printed list of the foods you need to avoid so that your server can provide it to the chef and ensure that no high FODMAP ingredients are added to your meal.

 

Keep the rest of your meals low FODMAP

 

FODMAPs tend to have a “bucket” effect. Everyone has a different-sized “bucket,” and it’s only once your FODMAP intake passes a certain threshold that symptoms appear. By keeping the rest of your day low FODMAP, you’ll ensure that your FODMAP “bucket” is almost empty when you go out to eat. That way, even if you eat some FODMAPs with your restaurant meal, they will be less likely to cause symptoms.

 

At the Restaurant

 

Once you’re at the restaurant, try to choose meals that can be easily adapted to be low FODMAP. Here are some types of meals that are usually safe to order or can be easily adapted to be low FODMAP.

 

Grilled or roasted chicken, beef, pork, or fish

 

Grilled proteins are often safe options for low FODMAP eating out. Be sure to ask whether the meat has been marinated or seasoned with high FODMAP ingredients like onion and garlic. If it has, ask if they can prepare the protein without these ingredients. Pair with a side of steamed vegetables and a carbohydrate like rice, quinoa, or potatoes for a complete meal.

 

Salads

 

Salads are typically easy to tailor to your dietary requirements. Many dressings contain garlic, so ask if they can dress the salad with lemon juice or vinegar and olive oil instead (or bring your own dressing to use!). When ordering a salad, look out for high FODMAP ingredients like croutons and dried fruit.

 

Pizza

 

Choose a gluten-free pizza base with plain tomato paste. Top the pizza with low FODMAP ingredients and request that they do not add any high FODMAP ingredients like onion or garlic to the toppings or sauce.

 

Sushi

 

Many types of sushi are naturally low FODMAP. If you order rolls with avocado, limit your serving size, as avocado is high FODMAP in serving sizes of ¼ avocado or higher. You may also want to limit any rolls that contain tempura, as tempura is made with wheat flour, which is high FODMAP. The small amount of wheat found in soy sauce usually isn’t a problem for someone following the low FODMAP diet.

 

Pasta

 

Many restaurants will offer a gluten-free option for their pasta dishes. Be sure to check whether the seasonings and sauce have high FODMAP ingredients like onion, garlic, and cream, and ask if these ingredients can be omitted.

 

Keep your non-FODMAP IBS triggers in mind

 

While it’s possible to choose low FODMAP options when dining out, it’s important to remember that FODMAPs are not the only cause of symptoms for people with IBS. Some of the other triggers for IBS symptoms include:

  • High-fat meals
  • Spicy food
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

 

Try to be mindful of these other IBS triggers to ensure you’re not inadvertently eating non-FODMAP foods that could cause symptoms.

 

FODMAP Dietician can help

 

Low FODMAP eating out can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re struggling to understand your IBS triggers, working with a registered dietician, like Keren Reiser, who is trained on using a low FODMAP diet for IBS by Monash University, can help.

 

The Low FODMAP Mediterranean Diet: What You Need to Know

The Low FODMAP Mediterranean Diet: What You Need to Know

If you’re interested in nutrition, you’ve probably heard of the Mediterranean diet. After all, it’s consistently ranked as the #1 Best Diet Overall by nutrition experts. It’s been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases and is an excellent way of eating for overall health.

 

However, if you’re living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may be following a low FODMAP diet to help manage your symptoms. You probably don’t want to miss out on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, so you may be wondering – is it possible to follow a low FODMAP Mediterranean diet?

 

Today, we’ll review what foods are included in Mediterranean and low FODMAP diets and provide tips for combining the two to improve your overall health and manage your IBS.

 

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that originated in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish, and extra virgin olive oil.

 

The Mediterranean diet is more than simply a dietary pattern – it’s a way of life that focuses on not only what you eat, but how you eat and live. It emphasizes the importance of enjoying meals with friends and family and being physically active in addition to its guidelines around what to eat.

 

The Mediterranean diet has been studied extensively and has been shown to have many health benefits. These include:

 

What is the Low FODMAP Diet?

If you’re living with IBS, you might have heard about or tried the low FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the body and rapidly fermented by your gut bacteria.

 

To understand why FODMAPs can worsen symptoms in people with IBS, it’s important to understand how IBS works. While we’re still learning about what causes IBS, we do know that people with IBS have what’s called “visceral hypersensitivity.” This means that your threshold for pain in your organs is lower than normal.

 

When FODMAPs are fermented by your gut bacteria, they can cause an increase in gas production. For people with visceral hypersensitivity, this gas production can be quite painful.

 

The low FODMAP diet is often used to for the management of IBS symptoms. It typically has three phases: the elimination phase, the reintroduction phase, and the maintenance phase.

 

During the elimination phase, all foods containing FODMAPs are eliminated. This involves limiting wheat-based products, onions, garlic, most legumes, certain dairy products, and many fruits and vegetables.

 

Once the elimination phase is completed and symptom relief is achieved, you move onto the reintroduction phase. During the reintroduction phase, you’ll systematically reintroduce the different types of FODMAPs one at a time so that you can determine exactly which FODMAPs cause symptoms for you.

 

Finally, once you’ve reintroduced all the different high FODMAP foods, you’ll move onto the maintenance phase. This involves limiting the FODMAPs that caused symptoms for you, while consuming the high FODMAP foods that didn’t cause symptoms.

 

Unfortunately, many people avoiding FODMAPs do not move on from the elimination phase. This means that they are severely restricting their diets. Also, people do not always replace high FODMAP foods with low FODMAP alternatives. This often leads to not consuming enough fibre. Since fibre is an important source of fuel for our gut microbes, this can be a problem if you’re following a low FODMAP diet long-term, so check out my post on high fibre low FODMAP foods.

 

The Mediterranean Diet and IBS

While emerging research is beginning to suggest the Mediterranean diet may improve IBS symptoms, there are currently no studies looking at the effects of a low FODMAP Mediterranean diet in people with IBS. However, a recent review article looked at the effects of the Mediterranean Diet on the immune system and reviewed whether combining the two diets made biological sense.

 

In IBS, we often see an imbalance between the “good” and “bad’ bacteria in the gut. This is associated with increased levels of inflammation in the intestine. Given that we know that the Mediterranean diet can help lower markers of inflammation in the body, it’s possible that following a low FODMAP Mediterranean diet could lead to lower levels of inflammation in people with IBS. While studies still need to be conducted in this area, it’s an exciting potential treatment option.  Read more about other anti-inflammatory diets here.

 

What Can I Eat on a Low FODMAP Mediterranean Diet?

Luckily, there are still plenty of foods you can eat on a Low FODMAP Mediterranean diet!


 

Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is the fat of choice on the Mediterranean diet. It contains mostly monounsaturated fats and is also high in antioxidants. Try drizzling it over salad, using it in marinades or sauces, or drizzling over cooked pasta or vegetables.

 

Low FODMAP Vegetables

Vegetables are an important source of fibre on the low FODMAP diet. Try to include a wide variety of low FODMAP vegetables. These include carrots, cucumber, lettuce, oyster mushrooms, parsnip, potatoes, and spinach.

 

You may also feel comfortable including vegetables that are low FODMAP at smaller serving sizes. These include eggplant (1 cup), green beans (15 beans), green bell peppers (1/2 cup), broccoli (heads only, 3/4 cup), cabbage (3/4 cup), corn (canned, 1 cup), zucchini (1/3 cup), and Roma tomatoes (1 small).

 

Low FODMAP Fruits

Low FODMAP fruits are another important source of fibre. Some popular low FODMAP fruits include bananas (firm, as FODMAPs increase as bananas ripen), oranges, kiwis, and papaya.

 

For increased variety, you may also want to include fruits that are low FODMAP at smaller serving sizes. These include blueberries (1/4 cup), pineapple (fresh, 1 cup), raspberries (30 berries) and strawberries (5 medium).

 

Low FODMAP Grains

Grains are an oft-neglected part of the low FODMAP diet, but there are actually many low FODMAP grains that you can enjoy. Try brown rice, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, or spelt sourdough bread.  Gluten-free grains are low in FODMAPs, so check out my blog on the 6 Best Gluten Free Grains.

 

Legumes

Aim for at least two legume-based meals per week. While it’s true that many legumes are high FODMAP, canned chickpeas (1/4 cup) and canned lentils (1/2 cup) are both low FODMAP options.

 

Legumes are an excellent source of fibre, which helps keep you regular and provides fuel to your gut microbes.

 

Fish

The Mediterranean diet recommends a moderate intake of fish. Aim for at least two servings of fish per week. Try to include oily fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines. They are high in omega-3 fats, which have been shown to reduce inflammation.

 

Final Thoughts

Just because you’re following a low FODMAP diet to manage your IBS symptoms doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. With a few small tweaks, you can easily adapt the Mediterranean diet to be low FODMAP.

 

Not sure where to start with low FODMAP Mediterranean diet meal planning? Schedule a free 15-minute phone call to chat about how our Registered Dietitian can help you reach your health goals.

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