Did you know that there are otherwise healthy foods that might be making your IBS symptoms worse? We’re sure you’ve heard that eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a good foundation for overall health. But if there was ever a time when generalizations don’t work, it’s when dealing with IBS! Today we’ll introduce you to the idea of FODMAPS, so you can start tracking them in your diet to see if they exacerbate your IBS symptoms. To start tracking your symptoms, diet and lifestyle factors and how they relate to your IBS, make sure you check out our recent article Tracking IBS Symptoms is the First Step in Healing. FODMAPS stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols. In other words, short chain fermentable carbohydrates which are hard to digest. They stay in the digestive tract where your gut bacteria eat them and wreak havoc in digestively sensitive people. Studies have shown they can worsen bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and gas. The problems stem from malabsorption, lacking the enzymes you need for digestion such as lactase which digests lactose, and problems with the transporters that help you absorb nutrients like fructose. Having the wrong type or balance of bacteria in your gut, a condition called gut dysbiosis can also be linked to FODMAPS. Common FODMAPS you should be tracking in your symptom journal, and may consider avoiding are: - Lactose is a carbohydrate found in dairy products. For example milk, yogurt, ice cream, and soft cheeses - Fructose is a sugar found in fruits, vegetables, and agave nectar. For example apples, cherries, grapes, fruit juice, asparagus, artichoke and watermelon - Fructans and found in many goods, but especially wheat, spelt, barley and rye. You will also find them in cabbage, leeks, onions, snow peas and broccoli - Galactans are found in high quantities in legumes like baked beans, broad beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils - Polyols are found in sweeteners like zylitol, maltitol, sorbitol, and mannitol as well as fruits and vegetables like avocado, snow peas, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, cauliflower and celery This list isn’t exhaustive, but if you find that you’re struggling with apples for example, you might also be having trouble digesting other fructose rich foods too! FODMAPS can be overwhelming as they can leave you wondering what else is there to eat? Here are some ideas: - Protein like meats, poultry, fish, tofu, eggs and most nuts and seeds - Grains like buckwheat, maize, polenta, quinoa, rice and tapioca - Dairy like hard cheeses (for example cheddar and parmesan), feta cheese, cream, butter, ghee, and clarified butter. - Cheddar cheese, cream, feta cheese, lactose-free milk and Parmesan cheese. - Fruits and vegetables like kale, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, ripe bananas, blueberries, kiwifruit, citrus fruit, pineapple, raspberries, white potatoes and plantains. It’s common to feel you have little to no control when you’re experiencing IBS. Tracking the food you're eating, and monitoring if FODMAPS are exacerbating your symptoms can help. Once you have identified problematic foods try eliminating them for a few months. You’ll notice an improvement in your symptoms, and this is when you need to start a gut healing protocol which will ultimately allow you to restart food introductions.