Do you eat enough fibre in your diet? Sometimes on the low fodmap diet we might find that we have inadvertently reduced our fibre intake as we cut out wheat, most legumes, certain fruit and vegetables etc, but what does this really mean for our health?
“Adequate dietary fibre is essential for proper functioning of the gut and has also been related to risk reduction for a number of chronic diseases including heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes” – Australian Government National Health & Medical Research Council.
This got me thinking lately about whether there is a relationship between fibre and IBS… and I was suprised by what I uncovered.
Late last year, The American Journal of Gastroenterology published a paper¹ that was based on a systematic review of randomised control trials (from a total of 906 people) of using fibre to help treat IBS. What they found was that soluble fibre is effective in treating IBS.
Ok, so if we know that soluble fibre is helpful for those of us with IBS, what exactly is it and what should we be doing differently to get more of it?
The Dietitians of Canada have published a simple and insightful brochure² on this topic, and these are their key points:
Dietary fibre comes from plant foods. There are two types: soluble and insoluble fibre. Most fibre containing foods have a mix of both.
- Insoluble fibre is found in the skins of vegetables and fruit and the bran portion of whole grains. Insoluble fibre helps promote regularity and a healthy digestive system.
- Soluble fibre can be found in some vegetables, fruit and legumes like beans and peas. When water is added to food the soluble fibre thickens and becomes sticky, gummy and gel like. Soluble fibre can help slow the digestion of food.
Soluble fibre helps to:
- Lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Control blood glucose (sugar) levels.
- Manage diarrhea and loose stools
- Reduce some of the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Reduce the risk of getting intestinal ulcers
- Have a healthier colon by increasing the amount of healthy bacteria
So, which are the best low fodmap sources of soluble fibre?
To make things easy for you, I have captured below the best low fodmap sources of soluble fibre based on my research² ³:
Vegetables & Fruit (approximately highest to lowest)
- passion fruit
- brussell sprouts *
- sweet potato*
- potato, skin on
- rockmelon / cantaloupe
- green beans
- oats, rolled*
- oat bran
- brown rice
- pasta, spelt
- whole spelt bread
Beans, Nuts, Seeds
- kidney beans, canned*
- butter beans, canned*
- chickpeas, canned*
- chia seeds
- sunflower seeds
- sesame seeds
- lentils, canned*
- brazil nuts
- psyllium husks are also a good source of soluble fibre, but often dietitians say to avoid this on the elimination stage of the low fodmap diet. [I use it occasionally.]
* Limit serving sizes of these foods. Check with the Monash University App for correct serving sizes.
Next week I’ll share a post with some handy tips for how we can include more of these foods in our daily diet.