Are you wondering what the flaxseed FODMAP content is and if flaxseeds are safe to eat on the low FODMAP diet? Then you are in the right place!
In this article, we will discuss the FODMAP content of flaxseeds and flaxseed-based products and if they are safe to eat on the low FODMAP diet. We will also share some delicious recipes.
Is flaxseed FODMAP free?
According to Monash University, a leading institution in FODMAP testing, flaxseed is low in FODMAPs at 1 tablespoon (1).
It isn’t clear on the app if Monash tested whole or ground flaxseed so we emailed them to find out. They said it was whole flaxseed but ground would likely have a similar content.
2 tbs of flaxseed is high in GOS – galacto-oligosaccharides which are a part of “O” (oligosaccharides) in the term “FODMAP”.
That is why consumption of more than 1 tbs of flaxseed should be avoided when on a low FODMAP diet.
If you ask yourself: “Is ground flaxseed low FODMAP?”, the answer is that for both ground flaxseed and seeded flaxseed the portion of 15 grams will be low FODMAP.
You should note that 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed weighs less than 1 tablespoon of seeds. So the volume of a low FODMAP serving of ground flaxseed will be greater, about 2 tablespoons.
Health benefits of flaxseed
Did you know that flaxseed is high in fibre, vitamin E, and healthy, polyunsaturated fats?
One tablespoon of flaxseed is FODMAP-free and:
- Contains 2 grams of fibre which is 7% of the daily recommended intake (2).
- Covers over 90% of daily recommendations for vitamin E (4)
- Contains 800% of daily recommendations for linoleic acid (flaxseed contains 55% of ALA) (6)
Adding flaxseed to your daily diet can help increase your daily fibre intake.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant fighting against oxidative stress and cell damage and has a positive impact on the immunological system (5).
Does flaxseed cause gas and bloating?
More than 1 tablespoon of flaxseed contains high levels of GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides). Galacto-oligosaccharides consist of chains of galactose sugar combined with a glucose sugar molecule (7).
Humans lack enzymes to break down the bonds between those molecules, so they are poorly digested and absorbed in the gut.
When they move down to the large bowel, they are fermented by gut bacteria. This causes gas, bloating, and abdominal pain in some people (7).
Is flaxseed safe in IBS?
Due to a high content of fibre, flaxseed eases constipation, which may be especially helpful in patients with constipation-predominant IBS (IBS-C) (8).
Constipation improvement can lead to an improvement in gas and bloating.
As the beneficial effects of flaxseed have been found with an intake of as little as 10 grams per day, which is still within a safe, low FODMAP portion, it may be worth a try in IBS patients (8).
If you suffer from IBS, you may start with a FODMAP friendly portion size of 10-15 grams and observe your symptoms.
Is flaxseed oil FODMAP friendly?
Unlike flaxseed, flaxseed oil is low FODMAP and can be consumed freely. It also has multiple health benefits as mentioned in section 1.
It should be tolerated by most people with IBS. But keep in mind that this is a high-fat product.
Fat slows down the gut motility which can trigger symptoms of abdominal distention, fullness, or gas retention in some people (9).
Is flaxseed bread low FODMAP?
As we know that the FODMAP content of flaxseed is low at 1 tablespoon, the same amount can be consumed in bread with flaxseed.
But how much of the ready-made flaxseed bread can be consumed?
It will depend on the amount of flaxseed in the ingredient list and on the FODMAP content of other ingredients (in the UK ingredients will be listed in order of highest amount, in the US given in % value).
Usually, for the US bread, the content ranges between 1-5% of flaxseed in one loaf. If having a 500g loaf with 5% flaxseed, divided into 10 slices, each slice will contain 2.5g of flaxseed and will be low FODMAP.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to apply this method in the UK, but it gives an estimate of how much flaxseed bread, on average, can be consumed on a low FODMAP diet.
You will also need to remember to check other ingredients on the packaging. Most ready-made breads will contain different types of flour, seeds, etc. which can be high in FODMAPs.
For more ideas, read our detailed article on low FODMAP bread.
If you fancy baking a low FODMAP flaxseed bread yourself, measure the amount of flaxseed you put into the recipe to make sure that one portion will not contain more than 15 grams.
See the link to the recipe for a low FODMAP flaxseed bread.
Low FODMAP flaxseed recipes
Below are some low recipes which you can try:
- Flaxseed crackers
- Flaxseed muffins
- Low FODMAP Seed Cycling Energy Balls
- Blueberry flaxseed muffins
- Easy flaxseed bread
Flaxseeds are low FODMAP at 1 tbsp. If you are following a low FODMAP diet, make sure you pay attention to the portion size.
There are many ways you can incorporate flaxseed into your diet to gain its health benefits.
With shop bought products, remember to always check the amount of flaxseed and other ingredients to make sure they do not contain high FODMAPs.
Article written by Anna Kowalczuk, Student Dietitian reviewed by Kirsten Jackson, Consultant Dietitian BSc Hons, RD, PG Cert
Serena is UK HCPC Registered Dietitian. She graduated from Coventry University in 2021 with an upper second class in Dietetics and Human Nutrition.
Serena has previously worked as an Acute Dietitian supporting inpatients with both oral nutrition support and enteral tube feeding. She is now currently working as a Specialist Weight Management Dietitian. Alongside this, Serena has worked for The Food Treatment Clinic since 2022 and has created our low FODMAP, histamine intolerance and SIBO ebooks.
Serena has a keen interest in IBS and gut health, most specifically the low FODMAP diet. She is dedicated to helping those with gut conditions to improve their overall quality of life.
Last updated on September 3rd, 2023 at 11:40 am