• Shruti GOCHHWAL

What is a Low FODMAP Diet? How is it Useful?

Are you frustrated with your digestive issues? Do you often feel the urge of using the loo to empty your stomach contents? Well! Here is the solution! Do you know certain food items which when consumed on a regular basis can have a negative impact on your digestive system? Identifying and avoiding these food items can protect you from triggering intestinal troubles like bloating, gas, stomach pain and diarrhoea.

Foods that cause digestive issues usually fall under a FODMAP diet.

What is a FODMAP Diet?

FODMAP is an abbreviated form for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols, which are all classifications of carbohydrates. FODMAP is found in a wide range of food items – while some may contain multiple types of carbohydrates, others may have only one.

  1. Oligosaccharides – Wheat, cereals, legumes, bread, rye, some fruits and vegetables (especially onion and garlic)

  2. Disaccharides – Lactose (found in dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt), table sugar

  3. Monosaccharides – Sweet fruits (like mangoes and figs) and honey, as fructose is the main component

  4. Polyols – Sweeteners

What is a Low FODMAP Diet?

A low FODMAP diet includes reducing or avoiding food that is high in FODMAP sources. Doing this would reduce your symptoms significantly. Consuming a low FODMAP diet also ensures that you do not feel intestinal trouble to the extent you did before.

Some of the foods that are considered to be low in FODMAP are listed below:

  1. Grains: Wheat-free and gluten-free flour and bread, quinoa

  2. Fruits: Grapes, kiwi, mandarin, pineapple, lemon, lime, orange, berries (except blackberries and boysenberries), rhubarb and passion fruit.

  3. Vegetables: Potato, carrot, beans, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, eggplant, lettuce, celery, silverbeet, capsicum, yam, parsnip and bok choy.

  4. Nuts: Walnut, almond, peanut, macadamia nuts, pine nuts and pecans (all only in low amounts).

  5. Dairy: Lactose-free products, almond or soy-based milk, yoghurt, ice-cream, hard cheese and cottage cheese.

  6. Sweeteners: Maple syrup, golden syrup.

Benefits

The FODMAP diet helps overcome various digestive problems. By reducing the high FODMAP content in your food, you can get rid of various health issues. Here they are:

  1. IBS, or Irritable bowel syndrome: People suffering from IBS usually find themselves suffering from symptoms like bloating, stomach pain, diarrhoea, constipation, gas and various other intestinal problems. Some of the causes of IBS include consuming high FODMAP food, stress, and menstrual pain. Being on a low FODMAP diet can reduce IBS symptoms.

  2. Improves digestion: A low FODMAP diet can help improve your digestion. Symptoms like gas and bloating are the first ones that will not bother you again when you start taking this diet. It is important for you to plan your diet properly so that your intention to be healthier, may remain intact and you receive all the essential nutrients your body needs.

  3. Reduced Stomach Aches: Studies have shown that consuming a low-FODMAP diet can significantly reduce stomach ache. The stomach ache may result due to gas buildup in the abdomen or from the need to have a bowel movement. With the low-FODMAP diet, the chances of stomach ache and bloating are reduced by 81% and 75%.

  4. Better quality of life: It might surprise you to read this one but it’s true! By following the low FODMAP diet, you decrease your intestinal issues and as a result, you have chances of leading a better life. Let’s see How:

  5. Boosts energy and enhances mood: The discomfort of bloating, gas, or those grumpy stomach aches can hamper your mood and decrease your energy. With a low FODMAP diet, the bloating and gas is gone and you may feel fresh, energetic and healthier overall.

  6. Boosts confidence: That bloated stomach may restrain you from wearing your favourite clothes. But, when that bloated stomach is gone you may start to look better and feel more confident.

  7. No More Public Restrooms: People suffering from IBS or similar conditions often feel reluctant to go outside as they frequently need a restroom. However, with a low FODMAP diet, your digestive system is regulated and you may not feel the urge of using restrooms more frequently.

  8. Better Love Life: Worried to go on a date and have to find a restroom? Or embarrassed to tell your date that you need one urgently as your IBS kicks in? The low FODMAP diet will save you from this embarrassing conversation.

  9. Reduced stress: A gut can be stressed too! Have you ever noticed stress obstructing your bowel movements? Well! Yes, high FODMAP foods can trigger stress and a low FODMAP diet can protect you from stress-related IBS symptoms. However, more research needs to be elucidated on this mechanism where a low FODMAP diet is known to regulate the normal functioning of the gut-brain axis.

There are many benefits to following a low FODMAP diet. Ensure you pick out the right food sources so that you don’t miss your daily requirements of essential vitamins and minerals.

#LowFODMAPDiet

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