Why you should know about FODMAPs

20 April 2017 by
First published: 22 July 2016

Ever heard of FODMAP foods? Here’s why you should know about FODMAPs. If you’re one of the many who suffer uncomfortable and often painful digestive symptoms after eating, this diet acronym needs to be on your radar. The shortened term for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols, FODMAPS are a type of carbohydrate that can cause gas, bloating, abdominal pain and other key symptoms of IBS. They come in different forms – these are fructose, fructans, lactose, galactans and polyols – which are present in a range of common foods. You’ll be surprised to discover that most of the foods that are problematic are healthy foods, and these include fruits, (apples, pears, peaches), vegetables (garlic, asparagus, cabbage and cauliflower), wheat and rye products like bread, dairy items such as milk and certain cheeses and honey.


What’s the problem?

Even if you’ve always been able to tolerate most foods, things can change as you get older. Your system can underproduce certain enzymes needed to break down specific ingredients, and the lining of your gut might not react well to certain foods containing FODMAPs which can spark digestive discomfort straight after eating. In a well-functioning digestive system, FODMAPs are automatically absorbed through the lining of the small intestine, but for those with an intolerance, FODMAPs are poorly absorbed and treated as a foreign substance by the large intestine, which causes an overgrowth of bacteria. It’s this bacterial imbalance that brings on spasms, flatulence, stomach pain and other digestive problems, and the only thing that brings about relief is a trip to the bathroom!


What to do?

The best way to find out if your diet is the cause of any digestive upset is to identify the culprits and then eliminate trigger foods to find out if symptoms persist. Going FODMAP-free might sound like zero fun, but thankfully there’s still plenty of choice out there for those with a sensitive tum (see our list below). For sufferers, the key is to find a balance, a diet that’s low enough in FODMAPs to keep symptoms at bay yet high enough to ensure the nutrition needed to stay healthy.

Along with cutting out trigger foods, there are a few simple ways you can naturally improve digestion and help minimise any abdominal woes. Whether you’re eating while multi-tasking or not really concentrating on what’s on your plate, eating quickly means swallowing more air, which results in more bloating and excess gas. Drinking plenty of water away from meals is also a good digestive aid, as staying hydrated keeps things moving. Finally, always reading food labels will help to minimise any diet offenders and ensure you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.


8 low FODMAP foods

These diet boosters also come with some added benefits


1 Pumpkin seeds

A great source of zinc, which helps to balance female hormones.


2 Spinach

Spinach is a good source of fatigue-fighting iron.


3 Bananas

A great snack on the go, bananas are packed with the electrolyte potassium.


4 Quinoa

Quinoa is easy to digest and a fab source of plant protein.


5 Blueberries

These are a powerhouse of anti-ageing antioxidants.


6 Strawberries

With a low sugar content, strawberries are also high in vitamin C.


7 Coconut milk

Crammed with good fats, coconut milk is an ideal weight loss aid.


8 Oats

Oats offer the perfect start to the day as they are high in fibre and keep you feeling full for hours.