IBS-Friendly Foods to Add to Your Diet

Christine Lothen-Kline, MPH, MCHES, RDN, LDN

Foods containing short-chain carbohydrates, called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, and Monosaccharides and Polyols), trigger symptoms in many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  A high percentage of people with IBS are able to get significant symptom relief by identifying which of the FODMAPs trigger their symptoms and eliminate or limit foods high in those types of FODMAPs.  Even while having to limit these foods, most people with IBS can enjoy a wide variety of foods and get all of the nutrients they need.  Below is a short list of FODMAP-friendly foods that can add important nutrients to your diet.   

Water - First and foremost, water is the most important nutrient to include in your diet every day. It is essential for nearly every function in our body and to general health, so it’s important to be sure to get enough water each day. It is recommended that you drink approximately 6 - 8 ounces every 2 - 3 hours.  But if you struggle with heartburn, limit your fluids during meals and prior to going to bed.

Cooked vegetables – Cooking vegetables makes them softer and more easily digested.  Some FODMAP friendly vegetables include carrots, green beans, cabbage, kale, parsnips, white potatoes, spinach, tomatoes and water chestnuts.  As always, chew your vegetables, and all of your foods, well to get your digestion off to a good start!

Easily Digested Protein – Many high protein foods are easily digested, provide healthy fats, and do not have FODMAPs.  Some high quality, easily digestible proteins include tuna, salmon, eggs, and moist cooked chicken.

Good Fats - It is important to consume healthy fats daily.  Some good sources of healthy fats include first pressed olive oil, olives, egg yolks and fatty fish, such as salmon.  Small amounts of FODMAP friendly foods, such as almond butter, walnuts, and peanuts also good sources of healthy fats.


Foods to Avoid

While a wide variety of foods can be enjoyed by someone living with IBS, there are a few that should be avoided as much as possible for your comfort and health. Sugar and processed foods can feed bacteria that contribute to IBS symptoms and compromise our immune system.  Caffeine can stimulate the GI tract, which is the last thing that you need if you are struggling with frequent diarrhea.  So if you are having diarrhea, limit your intake of caffeine, and if you do drink something with caffeine, don’t do it on an empty stomach.  


What Next?

ModifyHealth can help make the Low FODMAP protocol much easier. Instead of worrying about restocking your pantry, meal prep, whether a meal is “safe”, let us take the work and guesswork away.

At ModifyHealth, we provide home-delivered Low FODMAP meals as well as optional dietitian support. Our program is great for all 3 phases of the Low FODMAP protocol:

  1. Elimination – use our meals and dietitian support to take the guesswork out of elimination and make this process so much easier.
  2. Reintroduction – use our meals as the baseline when you are reintroducing new food categories. Our dietitians will also guide you through this process.
  3. Personalization – use our meals as safe, convenient options after you have identified your specific trigger food categories.

Visit modifyhealth.com to learn more.