High Fiber, Low FODMAP Foods for IBS

by | Jul 11, 2023 | Low FODMAP

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.

Get in touch with Keren and book a free 15-minute discovery call today!

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