Help Your Gut with the Low Fodmap Diet

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Learn how to help your gut with the low Fodmap Diet if you’re experiencing IBS or other bowel disorders. Change your eating habits for the better!

Irritable bowel syndrome and other bowel disorders are on the rise, with hundreds of thousands of people being diagnosed, or experiencing symptoms, every year. While the causes aren’t always clear, and there are no known permanent cures as of yet, what we do know is that gastrointestinal issues affect people of all ages and gender – even children.

The foods that you eat can have a massive effect on the body, and while the rise in IBS and other illnesses have a direct correlation to the often stressful, hectic and chaotic lives that we lead, it is also essential to have a look at our diets and the effects it has on our health. Suffering from IBS or perhaps you’ve noticed that your stomach isn’t quite right? The Low Fodmap diet is a stronger contender for helping to manage many digestive problems as well as the unpleasant symptoms of IBS. Read on to find out more about the diet and how it might be able to benefit you.

Woman eating a healthy Low Fodmap diet to show how to help your gut

What are Fodmaps?

Fodmap stands for fermentable oligo -, di – and mono- saccharides, and polyols and are a type of carbohydrate found in certain foods that are resistant to digestion. Instead of being absorbed into the body, the fodmaps find their way to the far end of the intestine where they become fuel for gut bacteria. As a result, the bacteria cause digestive pain in individuals with sensitive guts which can conclude in irritable bowel syndrome. Recent studies, most notably the 2005 hypothesis released at Monash University, Australia, have found strong links between these carbohydrates and unpleasant digestive issues such as abdominal pains, constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating. The Low-Fodmap diet can therefore provide many benefits for those suffering from common digestive disorders, improving daily quality of life.

Common Fodmaps include: 

  • Polyols – Sugar alcohols that are found in certain fruits and vegetables such as peaches and plums, as well as sweeteners
  • Fructose – Another sugar commonly found in many fruits and vegetables such as asparagus, apples and watermelon
  • Fructans – Found in grains such as wheat, barley etc.
  • Lactose – Found in dairy products 
  • Galactans – Found in legumes

For a more detailed list on high and low fodmap foods check out IBS diets.

Benefits

While the diet is challenging and involves making a lot of changes that will affect your day to day eating, and sometimes even drinking habits, many can testify to the proven positive effects on their IBS symptoms and overall gut health. It is also important to note that this doesn’t mean that you can’t eat any high fodmap foods even again, with the diet being designed to help you find your triggers through a process of elimination. Other benefits include:

It alleviates symptoms of IBS 

IBS relief is the most significant known benefit of the Low Fodmap diet, and most of the research on low fodmaps are directly related to IBS and overall gut health. IBS is very difficult to diagnose and treat, and the low fodmap diet is known to be one of the most effective ways in treating the symptoms commonly associated with the digestive disorder including stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. In fact, a study found that 76% of IBS sufferers reported an improvement in their symptoms while on the diet. In general, researchers have found that the low fodmap diet is an effective treatment for a wide range of digestive and gastrointestinal issues and symptoms.

The diet helps to identify triggers 

One of the worst things when suffering from gastrointestinal issues is not knowing what causes them, which can then lead to a fear of eating and food in general. That’s why one of the tremendous benefits of the low Fodmap diet is its ability to help people identify what their food triggers are so that they can avoid them and prevent uncomfortable reactions and symptoms. As high-fodmaps can be found in many foods, those on the diet often have to drastically cut-out many items completely, which makes it one of the most restrictive diets around. The second part of the diet includes a gradual reintroduction of high fodmap foods which helps followers to identify foods that cause a flare-up in symptoms. This is why it is also sometimes referred to as an elimination diet, and is a great tool, allowing IBS sufferers to curate a diet that is healthy for them and can be enjoyed without the fear of getting ill. It also allows these individuals to stay engaged with their favourite sports via www.chatsports.com, go out and meet up with friends, or even just go to the shops worry and pain-free. 

It can help to reduce inflammation in IBS sufferers 

Unfortunately, even though Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects millions of people worldwide, there is currently no known cure. However, research has found that the low Fodmap diet can help to significantly reduce inflammation in sufferers by reducing fuel loved by problematic and unfriendly bacteria in the gut. This results in a calmer gastrointestinal tract which can help to reduce inflammation around other areas in the body such as the joints. The low Fodmap diet can also help those who are suffering from other irritable bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, with patients being advised to lower their fodmap intakes. Unfortunately, it is not guaranteed to help everyone, and it is also worth knowing that doctors do not recommend that patients with an IBD all have one particular diet. This is due to everyone’s individual nutritional requirements, and more research is needed to determine how effective a treatment the diet is for IBD sufferers. 

There are many resources available 

Once a fairly unknown diet and treatment for IBS sufferers, unless directly provided by a doctor or dietician, resources were hard to come by. However, thanks to the success and relief in symptoms experienced by many followers, you can now find low fodmap recipes in various books and the internet. Monash University, the original researchers and founders of the diet, have even come out with an official app, providing further information and recipes to help you at the click of a button. While committing to the diet can be overwhelming and stressful, with so many resources available and low-fodmap meal alternatives out there, you can still enjoy some of your favourite meals and feel less alone in the process. 

It has been highly researched

The diet was founded by professionals in Melbourne, Australia at the Monash University, the largest in the country and known for groundbreaking findings and research. The research team published their first hypothesis regarding fodmaps in 2005, believing that they increased susceptibility and sensitivity to IBD’s such as Crohn’s disease. As their research progressed, they discovered that the diet was actually best suited to those who had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Thanks to this, there are hundreds of studies currently being done related to the diet and its various benefits on the gut and body. Therefore, you can be reassured that this isn’t just another fad diet designed to help you lose weight, but one that is safe, has been thoroughly researched and has been uniquely designed to provide relief for those who suffer from gastrointestinal issues. If you are thinking of trying the low fodmap diet, however, as it is quite restrictive, it’s always best to consult with a doctor or dietitian first. 

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