Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that causes various symptoms, including diarrhea, constipation, abdominal bloating, and stomach cramps.
Most people find that certain foods may worsen their IBS, so they may need to avoid them.
Researchers are not sure of the exact cause of the condition, but they believe that changing a person’s diet
Read on to find out which foods to choose, which to avoid, and some simple non-IBS-triggering recipes.
Many doctors recommend people follow a low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet.
FODMAPs are a group of sugars that the gut finds difficult to absorb, potentially triggering IBS symptoms in individuals with the condition.
Foods that health experts consider low FODMAP include:
- Fruits: Blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, kiwi, oranges, pumpkin, strawberries.
- Vegetables: Baby spinach, broccoli, carrot, chives, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, zucchini.
- Protein: Beef, chicken, eggs, tofu, turkey.
- Fish: Crab, lobster, salmon, shrimp, tuna.
- Dairy alternatives: Lactose-free products, almond, oat, or soy alternatives.
- Nuts: Peanuts, macadamias, walnuts.
- Starches and cereals: Brown rice, quinoa, popcorn, potato, sweet potato.
The American College of Gastroenterology suggests that a diet high in soluble fiber can help people with IBS. The organization also recommends taking a supplement, such as psyllium, to help with symptoms.
High FODMAP foods may worsen the symptoms of IBS and may cause IBS attacks.
However, foods that cause IBS symptoms in some people may not cause them in others, so a person should pay attention to which foods cause a flare-up. Some typical foods to avoid include:
- Fruits: These include apples, blackberries, pears, and watermelon. They also include stoned fruit such as apricots, cherries, mango, nectarines, and plums. People should avoid them whether these foods are whole, canned, juiced, or dried.
- Vegetables: Including artichokes, asparagus, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic and garlic salts, mushrooms, onions, and sugar snap or snow peas.
- Dairy: These include milk, milk products, soft cheeses, yogurt, custard, and ice cream. Unless the food is lactose free, it will aggravate symptoms.
- Pulses: Such as lentils, peas, and beans.
- Certain sweeteners: Any sweeteners ending with “-ol,” for example, products containing sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, or maltitol.
- Wheat and rye products: These include bread, pasta, crackers.
- Honey and foods with high-fructose corn syrup: Such as candies, sugary drinks, and other sweetened foods.
Other foods that may cause a person with IBS to experience a flare-up include:
- caffeinated beverages
- fried foods
- processed foods
- spicy foods
- high sugar foods
However, a person may not need to avoid these foods all the time, especially as individuals have different food sensitivities. Some people may be able to tolerate FODMAPs after a period of time. Working with a doctor or dietitian can help individuals determine when this might be possible.
We have not tested these recipes, but according to their ingredients, they are low FODMAP meals.
Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and cream cheese
Ingredients for low FODMAP scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and cream cheese:
- 3–12 medium eggs, beaten (depending on servings)
- pinch of black pepper
- 2 tbsps of unsalted butter
- 8 oz. of cold-smoked salmon, torn or cut into bite-sized pieces, divided
- 4 oz. of lactose-free cream cheese
- fresh chives
- fresh dill
- Heat the butter in a frying pan over low-to-medium heat.
- Whisk the eggs with a splash of water and season well.
- Add eggs and cook gently for 1–2 minutes.
- Bring the edges of the eggs toward the center as they begin to set.
- Spead in half the smoked salmon and half the cream cheese
- Continue to scramble the eggs until they are light and fluffy.
- Add the remaining smoked salmon, cream cheese, snipped chives, and fresh dill.
Simple fruit salad
Ingredients for no FODMAP fruit salad:
- 1 lb of strawberries
- 4 clementines
- 2 cups of grapes
- Hull the strawberries and quarter them.
- Peel and section the clementines.
- Halve the grapes.
- Combine the fruit in a large bowl.
- Chill until ready to serve.
Chicken and grape salad
Ingredients for low FODMAP chicken and grape salad:
- 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups of seedless red or green grapes
- half a cup of walnut pieces
- 1 medium stalk of celery
- half a cup of low FODMAP mayonnaise
- 2 tbsps of Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsps of chives
- low FODMAP bread, lettuce leaves, or both, for serving
- Cook the chicken using any method and dice.
- Prepare the salad ingredients and toss together with chicken, grapes, walnuts, and celery in a large bowl.
- Whisk together mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and 2 tbsps of minced chives.
- Add the dressing to the chicken mixture and toss until everything is well coated.
- Garnish with optional minced chives and serve immediately on low FODMAP toast or lettuce leaves.
- 2 medium-sized baking potatoes
- olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400oF (204.4oC).
- Wash the skin of the potato under cold water before drying thoroughly and pricking in several places with a fork.
- Bake potatoes for about 40 minutes or until tender.
- Remove from oven, split lengthwise on the top, about halfway down into the potato flesh.
- Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.
Ingredients for low FODMAP salmon fishcakes:
- 14 oz. of potatoes, boiled and mashed
- 14 oz. of skinless salmon fillet, poached and flaked
- 2 scallions, green parts only, finely chopped
- 2 tsps capers
- 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
- half a lemon, zested and juiced
- 3 tbsps butter
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Peel and boil the potatoes for 10 minutes.
- Grate the potatoes into long strips into a bowl.
- Add the crabmeat, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper and combine well.
- Scoop out spoonfuls of the mixture onto a flat baking sheet and press it together to form patties.
- Cover and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, so they become firm.
- Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a frying pan on a high heat.
- Slide in the crab cakes and cook until golden brown, for about 5 minutes each side.
- Preheat the oven to 350oF (176.6oC).
- Place all the ingredients for the fish cakes except the butter in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix the ingredients.
- Divide the fish cake mixture into four balls and shape each into a patty.
- Place a frying pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the fish cakes and brown on both sides. Transfer the fish cakes to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Ingredients for peanut sauce:
- a three-quarter cup of smooth peanut butter, either natural or no-stir style
- half a cup of low sodium soy sauce — use gluten-free soy sauce if following a gluten-free diet
- 2-in piece peeled fresh ginger root
- one-quarter cup of rice vinegar
- one-quarter cup of toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsps of firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tbsps of low FODMAP garlic-infused oil, made with vegetable oil or purchased equivalent
- half a tsp of low FODMAP chili powder, ground red serrano chile, or cayenne to taste
Zoodles and tofu:
- 14 oz. of firm or extra-firm tofu
- 2 medium carrots, scrubbed or peeled, stem end removed
- 1 red bell pepper, cored
- 1 medium zucchini, stem end removed
- 1 tbsp of low FODMAP garlic-infused oil, prepared with vegetable oil, or purchased equivalent
- a-quarter cup of fresh cilantro leaves
- a-quarter cup of chopped scallions, green parts only (optional)
For the sauce:
- Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, oil, and chili powder in a blender and blend until smooth and combined.
- Thin with as much water as necessary to create a nice flowable texture
- The sauce can keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
For the zoodles and tofu:
- Cut the tofu block in half lengthwise.
- Place a triple layer of paper towel on a cutting board, place the tofu slabs on top, then cover them with another triple layer of towel.
- Put something heavy on top, such as another cutting board with a heavy pot.
- Use a spiralizer to cut the carrots, bell pepper, and zucchini.
- Cut each tofu slab in half lengthwise, then each piece into fourths.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the low FODMAP garlic-infused oil, and heat until shimmering.
- Add tofu and cook for several minutes until golden brown on the bottom.
- Flip the tofu over and cook for a few more minutes until second side is golden brown.
- Remove tofu and set aside, keeping warm and covered loosely with foil.
- Toss the vegetables in a large bowl with just enough peanut sauce to lightly coat, then arrange on a platter.
- Arrange the tofu on top, drizzle with more sauce, garnish with cilantro and scallions, if applicable.
- 1 cup of lactose-free milk or alternative
- 1 cup of baby spinach
- half a fresh or frozen unripe banana
- 10 frozen raspberries
- 1 tbsp of peanut butter
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add maple syrup if necessary.
- one-third cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup rolled porridge oats
- 3 tbsps of chia seeds
- 1–2 tbsps of maple syrup (optional)
- The night before, mix everything well.
- Scoop out the serving. The mixture will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
Potato wedges or fries
- 1 lb of potatoes
- 2 tbsps of oil canola, olive oil, or garlic infused oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 450oF (232.2oC).
- Line two rimmed baking sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray.
- Peel potatoes and cut into 1-cm slabs lengthwise, then stack a few slabs at a time.
- Place potatoes in bowl, drizzle with oil, and toss to coat well. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Bake for 12–15 minutes or until the bottoms of the fries are golden.
- Flip fries over and bake for about 12–15 minutes more or until fries are golden brown on both sides.
If a person has IBS, some foods may trigger a flare-up of symptoms.
Food triggers may be different for individuals with IBS. However, some foods may be more likely to cause flares. People can work with a doctor or dietitian to help identify their trigger foods.
By choosing low FODMAP recipes, individuals may be able to minimize their risk of an IBS attack.