So, you’re eating what you should be: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and more. But there’s one problem: it hurts.
Health foods are considered “healthy” because they are nutrient-dense. They provide the body with everything it needs to function properly, prevent inflammation, and maintain cell health.
Even though food might be “healthy” and promote better heart health, it doesn’t necessarily mean everybody can tolerate it. For example, if you have irritable bowel syndrome, a sensitive gut, or regularly experience indigestion despite a healthy diet, not all healthy foods may be right for you.
Typically foods that can irritate the gut are called high-FODMAP foods. In some people, they can initiate gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or other uncomfortable digestive issues.
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are types of carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that can cause problems for some guts. Maybe yours.
The thing is, there are some very healthy high-FODMAP foods. They include:
- Some legumes
- Brussels sprouts
- Broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables)
- Added sugars
As you can see, many of those foods are typically recommended as part of a healthy diet.
If you have a sensitive gut or IBS, should you full out cancel each of them? No. You don’t have to. But what you can do is pay attention to see if any of them give you indigestion. One way to do this is by keeping a journal or adopting an elimination diet.
Electing to perform an elimination diet for two-to-six weeks, then slowly re-integrating foods, can help you identify problems.
Thankfully, you likely won’t have to eliminate all the foods on the above list. Most people may have a few trigger foods, but it is largely individualized. There are also a bunch of low-FODMAP alternatives that can serve as ready replacements if needed.
Low-FODMAP alternatives include:
- Peanut butter
If you’re eating healthy but experience indigestion, it could be a result of high-FODMAPs. Experiment with different options to see if improves your digestion and gut health.