Knowing which low FODMAP vegetables you can eat and tolerate for irritable bowel syndrome can seem overwhelming at first, due to the wide variety and different types of vegetables available.
It is important to ensure you do not make the mistake of just avoiding all vegetables as they are vital for your gut health.
So, just which low FODMAP vegetables can we consume and tolerate when following a low FODMAP diet?
In this article, I will explain which low FODMAP vegetables are suitable for those with IBS who are following a low FODMAP diet as well as the importance of consuming vegetables for our gut health.
Make sure to scroll down to the end to find some delicious low FODMAP vegetable recipes!
Which FODMAPs are found in vegetables?
You may be familiar with other FODMAPs like lactose in dairy or fructose in fruit. These FODMAPs are talked about often on social media and you may have learnt about them even in school. But what about vegetables?
The FODMAP’s that are found in vegetables are mainly fructans and mannitol (1).
Fructans are made up of chains of fructose (sugar molecules) that vary in size and structure (2).
Interestingly, everyone has a limit on their ability to absorb and break down fructans in the small intestine. Therefore anyone can experience digestive symptoms if they eat large quantities.
Those with IBS have a hypersensitivity and so their limits are lower(3).
Vegetables that are particularly rich in fructans include (3);
These high fructan vegetables can lead to gastro-intestinal symptoms by increasing the gas content of the large intestine (4).
An example of a fructan includes inulin, a non-digestible, fermentable type of dietary fibre also known as a prebiotic that feeds our gut microbiota (4).
Mannitol is a type of polyol (sugar alcohol) found in various vegetables including (3);
- Snow peas
- Butternut squash
Like fructans, we all have a limited ability to absorb mannitol due to its slow absorption into the small intestine and malabsorption often occurring by the time it reaches the large intestine.
GI symptoms often experienced in people with IBS when they consume vegetables containing mannitol include abdominal pain, excess gas and bloating (3).
Which vegetables are low FODMAP?
Below are a few examples of low FODMAP vegetables (3):
- Green Beans
- Pepper (green, orange, red, yellow)
Includes fresh, dried, frozen or tinned
Which vegetables are high in FODMAPs?
Below are a few examples of high FODMAP vegetables (3);
- Beans and pulses
- Onion (red, white, Spanish, shallots)
- Chicory root
- Spring onion (white part)
Are mushrooms low FODMAP vegetables?
Mushrooms are a type of fungi that provide a range of nutrients into our daily diets including protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Mushrooms can be used as a delicious savoury ingredient by adding them into a range of meals including curries, soups and stir fries.
There are a variety of different types of mushrooms which can be high or low in either mannitol, fructans or both FODMAPs together. Overall, portobello, shiitake and button mushrooms are high in FODMAPs. According to the Monash app, 1 serving (1 cup) of oyster mushrooms is considered low in FODMAPs (3).
High FODMAP Mushrooms (3)
- 1 cup – Button Mushrooms: High in mannitol (75g) and moderate amounts of fructans (10g)
- 4 mushrooms – Shiitake Mushrooms: High in mannitol (75g)
- 1 mushroom – Portobello Mushroom: High in mannitol (75g)
Low FODMAP Mushrooms
- 1 serving (1 cup) Oyster Mushrooms: This serving size is low in FODMAPs (3).
See the Monash app for more details on the FODMAP content of mushrooms and the serving sizes that may be tolerated in small amounts.
Celery and IBS
You are probably aware that there is a lot of conflicting and inaccurate information around the consumption of celery when following a low FODMAP diet.
Celery contains mannitol. However when it is consumed in small amounts (10g) which equates to ¼ of a celery stick (one portion per sitting), then celery is low FODMAP (3). However, as this is such a small amount, it is often advised to avoid consuming celery in you have IBS.
To find out more about celery and IBS, see the previous blog post on ‘Is celery low FODMAP?’.
Why are low FODMAP vegetables important for gut health?
All, vegetables are important for our gut health as most vegetables contain high amounts of fibre alongside a range of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.
So when you are on the restriction phase of the low FODMAP diet you need to get familiar with the allowed vegetables to ensure you still get these benefits.
Benefits of fibre on our gut health
Fibre is essential for the normal functioning of our gut as it can regulate our bowel movements.
Fibre prevents constipation by softening the stools and making them easier to pass as well as enabling a shorter transit time of waste products through the gut.
There are many different types of fibre that can have different effects on your gut. See our previous blog post on ‘How does fibre affect IBS?’ to understand more about the types fibre that are suitable to consume without experiencing symptoms of IBS.
Why you need 30g of fibre per day
The intake of fibre is still equally as important for those with IBS as it is for those in the general population. You should aim for 30g of fibre a day for the general benefits to health that it provides as mentioned above (6).
Depending on the type of IBS you have (constipation, diarrhoea or mixed) you may need to modify the amount of fibre in your diet as larger amounts can cause bloating, gas and diarrhoea. Seek advice from a specialist dietitian about the amount of dietary fibre that is best tolerated for you.
See the previous blog post on ‘how to get 30g of fibre a day’ to ensure you are meeting your daily fibre intakes!
10 low FODMAP vegetable recipes
Low FODMAP vegetables – summary
There are a variety of vegetables that can be consumed on a low FODMAP diet in adequate amounts due to their low levels of fructans and mannitol.
Eating a range of vegetables is essential for our gut health. Make sure to get 30g of fibre a day as recommended for the general population to reap these benefits for your gut and long-term health!
Post written by Emily Stynes BSc. in Human Nutrition and reviewed by Kirsten Jackson
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.
Last updated on September 29th, 2022 at 12:01 pm