How a FODMAP diet can help ease your digestive issues

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Being bloated is never pleasant, especially when you feel like you’re doing all the right things to maintain a healthy body. If you’re experiencing excess gas production, water retention and stomach bloating on the reg, it might be time to dissect your nutrition.

You’re probably including plenty of fruit and veg in your diet without realising that some of these foods could be contributing to your tummy troubles.

But, why? Not all fruits, vegetables and grains are created equal, and your everchanging gut microbiome may be struggling to break them down, even if you were able to tolerate them well in the past.

A FODMAP diet could be the answer to a reduction in symptoms.

What is FODMAP?

The term FODMAP was founded by Monash University researchers to describe specific classes of carbohydrates that can trigger digestive distress and exasperate symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Beginning in the small intestine, foods fail to break down, travelling into the large intestine without being properly absorbed. The result is unpleasant bloating and fluid retention within the gut, as well as stomach pain, abdominal distension and bowel irregularity.

Here’s three steps to eliminating and reintroducing FODMAPS:
Food elimination has been deemed an effective plan to help control symptoms and identify troublesome foods that could be causing the most gut discomfort. Here’s how to go about it:

1. Food journaling.
Make a list of what high FODMAPs you eat daily and isolate those items.

2. Eliminate.
Completely remove these foods from your diet for four to six weeks.

3. Reintroduce.
Add ONE of the eliminated foods every three to seven days and assess tolerance in your food journal. If an item is not tolerated, remove it again and move on to the next food. Those foods wreaking the most havoc, consider removing from your diet for the foreseeable future to help control symptoms.

Far from a cure for IBS or a permanent nutrition strategy, the FODMAP elimination diet should not exceed six weeks; eliminating too many high-fibre and nutrient-rich foods can lead to unhealthy gaps in your eating plan. It’s always advisable to get a proper check-up by your Doctor first, to ensure your symptoms are not being caused by something more sinister. If you continue to experience symptoms or think you require a longer elimination, discuss it with a GP or an Accredited Practising Dietitan.