When looking for low FODMAP vegetables in the season in the autumn, you might wonder, ‘Is cabbage low FODMAP?’.
In this article, we will explain low FODMAP serving sizes for green, red, savoy, and Chinese cabbage. We will discuss why cabbage can make you gassy and the FODMAP content of fermented cabbage and kimchi.
Throughout the article, you will find tasty cabbage recipes to help you get the plant diversity your gut loves.
Table of Contents
Is cabbage low FODMAP?
Cabbage is low FODMAP in specific portion sizes, which varies between different types (1).
This section will explain which portion sizes are low FODMAP. We will also share some tasty low FODMAP recipes for each kind of cabbage.
Is green cabbage low FODMAP?
Green cabbage is low FODMAP at 75g. In larger quantities, green cabbage contains moderate amounts of sorbitol, a type of polyol (1).
Green cabbage is cultivated worldwide and can be consumed raw or processed. If you run out of ideas on how to prepare low FODMAP green cabbage, follow the recipe linked below.
Low FODMAP green cabbage recipes:
- Eat-The-Rainbow Slaw
- Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Veg and Mince
- Corned Beef & Cabbage
- Sesame Cabbage Stir-Fry
- Stir-fried Cabbage
Is red cabbage low FODMAP?
Yes, at 75 g, according to Monash. If you double this, there are moderate fructans and GOS (1).
Red cabbage has purple colour due to the flavonoid anthocyanin, a type of polyphenol. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of phenolic compounds are well-researched.
As well as green cabbage, there are several ways you can incorporate red cabbage in your meals to get the health benefits discussed. Here are some low FODMAP recipes with red cabbage:
Is savoy cabbage low FODMAP?
Even though savoy cabbage looks similar to green cabbage, it differs in FODMAP content. Savoy is low FODMAP at a smaller portion size of 40 g (1). In larger quantities, the fructan content increases.
The low FODMAP portion of savoy cabbage is small, but you can still enjoy it in smaller portions. You can do this by adding savoy cabbage to your salad, soup, or tortilla.
Is Chinese cabbage low FODMAP?
Like green and red cabbage, Chinese cabbage (or Wombok) is low FODMAP at 75 g (1). But in larger portions, Chinese cabbage contains moderate fructans (1).
Chinese cabbage has a mild flavour and is commonly used when making kimchi. Another way to use Chinese cabbage is to make wraps or rolls from its leaves. If you want to try new recipes with Chinese cabbage, check below.
Here are low FODMAP recipes with Chinese cabbage:
Is cooked cabbage low FODMAP?
Yes, is if you stick to the low FODMAP serving sizes. If you are cooking cabbage with other ingredients, remember to check these too.
The most common high FODMAP ingredients when preparing cabbage are:
- Onion (fresh or powdered) – high in fructans
- Garlic (fresh or powdered) – high in fructans
You could use the green part of spring onions or garlic-infused oil as a low FODMAP alternative.
Is fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) low FODMAP?
Fermented cabbage is low FODMAP in a serving size of approximately 20g (1). You could enjoy this in a sandwich or as a salad topper.
It is typically made from green, salted cabbage. Although green cabbage is low FODMAP at 75 g, during the fermentation process, bacteria break down fructose and convert it into mannitol.
Fermented cabbage contains probiotic bacteria, so it can be a great way to increase the diversity of our gut microbiota. However, if you malabsorb mannitol, fermented cabbage can trigger your IBS symptoms and cause bloating, flatulence, and diarrhoea.
You could also make Sauerkraut from red cabbage. Luckily, you can consume fermented red cabbage in larger portion sizes of 75g, as per Monash. However, larger portions contain higher levels of fructans.
Is kimchi low FODMAP?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented dish made from different types of vegetables, spices, and fish sauce. The most common vegetables in kimchi are Chinese cabbage and radish.
According to Monash, a low FODMAP portion of kimchi is roughly 50 g.
You can make kimchi from fermented cabbage, just like Sauerkraut. Therefore, it also contains mannitol produced during fermentation.
Can cabbage make you gassy?
Yes, and there are a few reasons why cabbage makes you gassy.
Firstly, your gut bacteria ferment the FODMAPs in cabbage. This can result in gas production (bloating and flatulence). The larger the portion size, the gassier you may get. You don’t need to entirely avoid cabbage, you can trial different types or portions to find your tolerance level.
Another reason may be due to sulphur compounds found in the cabbage. Passing gas when digesting cruciferous vegetables results in smelly farts (6). But don’t worry; sulphur compounds show anti-inflammatory properties, so smelly farts shouldn’t discourage you from eating cruciferous vegetables (7).
Nutritional benefits from cabbage
Now you know that you can enjoy cabbage, we will discuss the health benefits here.
Cabbage is one of the cruciferous vegetables besides kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and others. Those vegetables are well-known for their nutritional content (8).
Cabbage is low in calories and abundant in nutrients. One low FODMAP portion provides you with roughly (9):
- 2 g of fibre
- 75 % of daily needs of vitamin K
- 35 % of daily needs of vitamin C
- 15 % of daily needs of folate
- 5 % of daily needs of vitamin B6
Green cabbage is especially rich in vitamin K, which has a role in (10):
- Wounds healing
- Blood clotting
- Bone health
Cabbage contains phytochemicals with antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties (8). In a randomised controlled study, they measured inflammation markers in different diets. A study showed that higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables is correlated with lower levels of inflammation (11).
Consumption of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage is also associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality (12).
You can consume any types of cabbages on the low FODMAP diet, fresh or cooked. Green, red and Chinese cabbage is suitable at 75 g, whereas savoy cabbage is low FODMAP at approximately half this portion size.
Sauerkraut is high FODMAP due to the fermentation process when bacteria break down sugar into mannitol and make it high FODMAP. However, you can still enjoy smaller portions of 20 g.
Cabbage is low in calories and abundant in nutrients, especially vitamins C and K. Cabbage also contains phytochemicals which have many health benefits due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
There are various ways to enjoy cabbage – soups, salads, rolls, stir-fry, and more!
Written by Barbara Lešnik, Student Dietitian, reviewed by Bethany Willson, Specialist Gastroenterology Dietitian and Kirsten Jackson, Consultant Dietitian BSc Hons, RD, PG Cert.
Beth is UK HCPC Registered Dietitian who specialises in gastrointestinal surgery. Beth graduated from University of Surrey in 2020 with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.
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