Healthy eating on a low FODMAP diet
Are you confused about healthy eating? It seems everywhere you look someone else is championing the latest and greatest way “heal your gut” and eat yourself healthier.
The problem is that the information changes week to week or just depending on the source of the information. While one person says potatoes are toxic and the next is saying we should all be Vegan. It’s no wonder we’re left not knowing what to believe.
Being on a low FODMAP diet only makes things even more confusing when many seemingly healthy foods are limited due to the havoc they can cause in your gut.
So how to eat healthier on a low FODMAP diet?
- Choose extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive has been shown again and again to be beneficial to health and wellbeing. It has been shown protect us from heart disease by improving markers of chronic inflammation including cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels (1, 2) .
Extra virgin olive oil has been shown to be stable and one of the best oils for cooking with. It’s also delicious fresh on a salad or fresh sourdough bread.
Why not use garlic or onion infused extra virgin olive oils to recapture flavour.
- Eat 5 veggies and 2 fruits per day. Numerous studies show that people who eat their veggies are more likely to be in a healthy weight range and less likely to have diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease (3).Fruit and veggies are also low in calories and high in gut friendly fibre. Research shows that on average only 7-8% of Australians eat enough fruit and veggies (4) so this is an area most of us can improve on.
Why not add increase your veggies by adding a crunchy summer salad or some grilled veggies to your next meal. For more ways to enjoy low FODMAP veggies, check out this article for 5 ways to enjoy more low FODMAP veggies
- Choose high fibre whole grains, nuts and legumes. Fibre helps to normalising bowel movements, keep your gut bugs happy and healthy, keep blood glucose levels stable, helps to achieve a healthy weight as well as protecting against heart disease and certain cancers (5, 6, 7, 8).
Many high fibre whole grains are limited on a FODMAP diet, so you might have to think outside the box. Try rolled oats for breakfast, quinoa or canned chick peas mixed into a salad, sourdough toast or snack on low FODMAP nuts.
- Slow down and eat mindfully. Being healthy is as much about how you eat as it is about what you eat. Eating too fast often leads to overeating, swallowing excess air. This will of course contribute to weight gain and exacerbate IBS symptoms. Eating mindfully is about paying attention to your food and enjoying it without distraction. Think about the aroma, the taste and the texture in your mouth. Eating mindfully also helps us listen more to our body and trust them to tell us when to eat, what to eat and when to stop eating.
At your next meal why not turn off the tv and put away your phone. Take smaller bites, chew well and really think about tasting and enjoying your food.
- Remember to re-challenge. The low FODMAP diet is not intended to be a forever diet. FODMAPs don’t cause damage and in fact are shown to provide many health benefits. There are four types of FODMAPs (oligosaccharides, di-saccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) and not everyone will be sensitive to all of them. The re-challenge phase (phase 2 of the FODMAP process) is designed to help you work out which FODMAPs are a problem for you, which ones you can have in small amounts and which ones you can eat freely. This will in turn give you as much variety as possible with as few symptoms as possible.
The low FODMAP diet as only been researched under the guidance of a specialised dietitian. If you are struggling with the rechallenge phase a FODMAP trained dietitian can help you find your food freedom.
What is right for you may be very different to what is right for your neighbour or friend, and that’s ok. The world would be a very boring place if we were all the same. Focus on variety and enjoying a wide range of plant foods including extra virgin olive oil, fruit, veggies and high fibre wholegrains. This will provide your body with the wide range of nutrients it needs to function at its best as keep you feeling well and full of energy.