If you would like to find out more about low FODMAP spices, then this article is for you!
Following a low FODMAP diet can initially seem quite bland, but there are SO many spices you can use to make things a little tastier.
In this article, we will explain which spices are low FODMAP, which spices you should avoid on the low FODMAP diet and how to substitute them.
Table of Contents
LOW FODMAP SPICES
When you start following a low FODMAP diet you may be overwhelmed by all the foods and ingredients you can’t eat.
Luckily, we have prepared a list of low FODMAP spices that you can use to add flavour to your meals without having IBS-related symptoms afterwards!
Low FODMAP spices are:
- Asafoetida powder aka ‘hing’ (good as an onion / garlic alternative)
- Chilli powder
- Coriander seed
- Dill seeds
- Fennel seeds
- Fenugreek seeds
- Ginger root
- Mustard seeds
- Star anise
LOW FODMAP SPICE MIXES
You can also have low FODMAP spice mixes, but it is important to ensure that they do not contain additional high FODMAP ingredients e.g. onion and garlic. Some low FODMAP spice mixes are (1):
- Curry powder
- Five spice
- Garam masala
- Wasabi powder
CERTIFIED LOW FODMAP SEASONINGS
Brands that produce seasonings certified low FODMAP are:
WHY SHOULD WE INCLUDE SPICES IN OUR DIET?
Spices contain antioxidants which have an important role in overall health as they protect us against oxidative stress (2).
They also count as a plant source in our diet. We should be aiming for 30 different plant sources per week to optimise our gut health (3).
Now you have a list of low FODMAP spices, it is time to start using them to make your low FODMAP meals even more flavourful!
HIGH FODMAP SPICES
Garlic (fresh or powder) is high FODMAP due to fructans, a type of FODMAP. It is high FODMAP, even in small quantities so you should avoid it.
Research showed that we are able to break down and absorb only 5-15 % of the fructans we consume (4). That is because our body lacks the enzyme which breaks down the molecules. When fructans come to the large intestine our gut bacteria ferment it and produce gas (4).
In one study it was discovered that 24% of IBS patients may be sensitive to fructans (5).
How to replace garlic?
You can easily swap garlic with garlic-infused oil. Fructans (a type of carbohydrates) don’t dissolve in the oil and therefore garlic-infused oil is low FODMAP.
Other great substitutes for garlic are garlic shoots or low FODMAP garlic scape powder.
Onion is like garlic high FODMAP due to fructans.
Low FODMAP alternatives to onions
Onions are high FODMAP but are a common ingredient, making it difficult to make many recipes. Instead of having food that tastes awful, try some of these low – FODMAP alternatives;
- Onion-infused oil (without the pieces)
- Green tops of the spring onion
Natural flavourings are ingredients derived from natural sources. That means natural flavours could be high FODMAP due to onion or garlic. But we don’t know from the label which foods were extracted and if it is suitable for a low FODMAP diet.
Spice mixes with mushrooms
Some spice mixes contain mushrooms like dried porcini mushrooms. You need to avoid it in higher quantities due to mannitol, a type of FODMAP.
Spice mixes with dried beans
Some spice mixes may contain dried beans. So those seasonings can be high inFODMAPs depending on the type and quantity of beans present in the spice mix. To be safe, we advise to avoid these whilst on the restriction phase.
IS CHILLI POWDER LOW FODMAP?
Yes, chilli powder is low FODMAP (1). However, it can cause you symptoms due to capsaicin.
Capsaicin is an active component that is responsible for the spicy sensation. People with IBS report that spicy food triggers symptoms like abdominal pain and gastroesophageal reflux. This happens because capsaicin stimulates one specific pain receptor (6).
You can still enjoy plenty of low FODMAP spices on the restriction phase. Just be cautious with using chilli powder as it can trigger symptoms even though it is low FODMAP.
Adding spices in your diet will actually help your gut microbiome and avoid you having to eat tasteless food.
You should also avoid garlic, onion, and spice mixes that contain them, mushrooms, or dried beans as they are high FODMAP.
Written by Barbara Lešnik, Student Dietitian, reviewed by Serena Bansal Registered Dietitian BSc Hons and Kirsten Jackson Consultant Dietitian BSc Hons, RD, PG Cert
Serena is a UK HCPC Registered Dietitian with a keen interest in IBS and gut health. Serena graduated from Coventry University in 2021 with an upper second class in Dietetics and Human Nutrition.