If you love veggies but worry about their FODMAP content, cauliflower may be one that you are cautious of.
This article will explain which FODMAPs are found in cauliflower and provide you with suitable alternatives.
Table of Contents
WHAT IS CAULIFLOWER?
Cauliflower is from the Brassica family, alongside other vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli.
Cauliflower is a popular staple in the diets of many and is a great source of fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K (1).
IS CAULIFLOWER LOW FODMAP?
Unfortunately, cauliflower is a no-go when it comes to a low FODMAP diet. This is because cauliflower contains high levels of mannitol, a common FODMAP within vegetables.
FODMAPS are carbohydrates which your small bowel cannot digest. Instead, the bacteria in your large bowel ferment them, result in gas production.
Other vegetables that contain mannitol include:
- Snow peas
- Butternut Squash
- Mange tout
WHAT IS MANNITOL?
Mannitol is a sugar alcohol, a type of polyol (the P in FODMAPs).
Mannitol can be found naturally occurring in fruit and vegetables such as the ones listed above, or it may be added to food products.
DO I NEED TO AVOID CAULIFLOWER IF I HAVE IBS?
You should only avoid foods that you know you are intolerant to and even then, you will be able to tolerate a small amount. This is why there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to IBS.
To identify if the mannitol in cauliflower is an issue for you, you will need to follow the low FODMAP process. If you find your symptoms worsen with mannitol reintroduction, then you will have to limit your intake of cauliflower to avoid symptoms.
Cauliflower provides a range of health benefits as previously stated, which is why reintroduction is such an important step. Unnecessarily avoiding foods is not good for your gut health.
WHAT IS A SUITABLE LOW FODMAP ALTERNATIVE TO CAULIFLOWER?
If looking for a similar vegetable, then broccoli would be a suitable swap. Broccoli is low FODMAP up to 75g as it only contains small amounts of fructans – another type of FODMAP (2).
If you’re missing the classic cauliflower cheese dish, you could try this low FODMAP sheet-pan broccoli cheese and rice casserole.
There are also plenty of other low fodmap vegetables which you can integrate into your diet to provide you with important fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Although cauliflower is not suitable for a low FODMAP diet during the restriction stage, there are lots of other alternatives!
You may also find that cauliflower does not trigger IBS symptoms for you, so it is important to get the right guidance from a registered Dietitian when reintroducing FODMAPs.
Article written by Georgia Cohoon and reviewed Beth Willson Specialist Gastroenterology Dietitian BSc Hons 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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