The Healing Power of Food: Lessening FODMAPs Load May Spell IBS Relief

FODMAPs sounds like it might be the latest automobile GPS navigation system or weather radar detection unit. Instead, FODMAPS is a therapeutic eating plan that has been gaining ground as an effective protocol to help people who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The quirky name FODMAPs stands for

F= Fermentable

These are a family of carbohydrates and short-chain sugars that are more easily fermented in the digestive tract and most likely to contribute to gas, bloating, pain, and other frustrating gut symptoms. Digestive detectives have known for many decades that some foods may be more problematic than others if you have IBS. But more recently, scientists from Australia and the United States have been on the trail of tracking down FODMAPs as instigators of IBS. Total elimination of FODMAPs may not be necessary or realistic, but lessening the FODMAPs load may spell IBS relief.

Begin by experimenting with a lighter load of the highest FODMAPs foods if you suffer from IBS. Keep a food journal to figure out if this is indeed comfort food for your digestive tract!

High FODMAPs Foods

Fruits: Apples, apricots, avocado, cherries, mango, pears, nectarines, peaches, plums and prunes, watermelon, canned fruit, dried fruit, or fruit juice

Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, fennel, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, radiccio, scallions, shallots, sugar snap peas, snow peas

Grains: Wheat, rye

Legumes: Lentils and beans, including chickpeas, kidney beans, soybeans, etc.

Dairy: Milk (cow, goat, sheep), yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese

Sweeteners: Fructose, high fructose corn syrup, isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol (Be sure to check labels of packaged foods and avoid these ingredients!)

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Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, EBQ, an author, teacher, and clinical nutritionist, is cofounder of the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy, and directs the Center for Mind Body Medicine’s Food As Medicine program.

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