Our article this week is based on a number of questions from those experiencing digestive discomfort from particular foods. Learn more about FODMAPs and what you can do, plus more gut healing strategies for everyone.
Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, otherwise known as FODMAPs, are a group of fermentable carbohydrates which can be poorly absorbed and the cause of abdominal bloating, gas and distension. Common examples are apples, pears, onions, garlic, legumes, wheat and milk.
When it comes to garlic and onion, it can be disappointing to first learn that these may be triggers foods, as they are so often used for flavour in cooking. There is good news though – infused olive oils can often be tolerated as the fructans (the fermentable oligosaccharide) are not soluble in oil. This also applies to when you are cooking in oil – simply add the raw onion and/or garlic and lightly fry to add flavour, and remove them before adding the remaining ingredients. This is a great way to achieve the best of both worlds – the flavor profile without the distended stomach.
If you are experiencing negative digestive symptoms with increased consumption of any of the above foods, the good news is that you may not need to remove these foods altogether. With some trial and error, identify the amount you can tolerate without experiencing negative digestive symptoms. If, for example, lentils or chickpeas are a trigger food of yours, you may find this improves if you only consume them at half a cup, once or twice per week. Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower may be best consumed at one quarter of a cup, once a week, to begin.
The above strategies are extremely important as FODMAPs offer amazing prebiotic benefits, which support the growth of good bacteria in our gut and contribute to our overall health and wellbeing. A low FODMAP diet may be a fantastic short-term solution for those with quite significant digestive symptoms, but foods should then be re-introduced, so as to not limit the prebiotic nature of the diet.
Interestingly, an increasing number of food triggers that can often be linked back to poor gut health, or ‘leaky gut’. The consumption of broth is a fantastic strategy to heal your gut and help to resolve digestive symptoms and food triggers, as it is rich in glutamine, collagen and calcium (to name a few). Most simply, broth can be used in any recipe in place of standard stock. Broth and stock are similar in nature; however, the increased cook time of broth allows for greater nutrient extraction. Commonly vegetable broths are cooked for 24 hours and bone broths, up to 72 hours. For a high quality and nutrient rich store-bought brand, we recommend The Stock Merchant.
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