You make every effort to live a healthy lifestyle. You prioritize exercise, stock your fridge with healthy fruits and vegetables, and get a solid night's sleep... so why do you feel bloated all the time? According to Carly Brawner, holistic nutritionist, health coach, and founder of Frolic and Flow, high-FODMAP foods might be to blame.
"FODMAPs are a group of foods containing a type of sugar, specifically short-chain carbohydrates, that aren't fully digested or absorbed in the gut," the nutritionist told MyDomaine. "When fermented in the gut, they can lead to digestive problems and cause IBS symptoms like gas, bloat, and abdominal pain," she explained. For a healthier digestive system (and, bonus, a flatter stomach), Brawner recommends staying away from high-FODMAP foods.
Although this might just be the holy grail of bloat-banishing diets, Brawner is quick to caution that sticking to a low-FODMAP diet shouldn't necessarily be forever. "Eliminating FODMAPs and carefully reintroducing them is an excellent way to understand which ones your body can tolerate, how much, and how frequently," she explains. "The more diverse our diets are, the better," she added.
Ahead, a Brawner explains which low-FODMAP foods you should be eating (and which to avoid) for a gut-friendly diet that could cure your bloating for good.
TOP 5 FOODS NOT TO EAT
"Avocados are an excellent source of fat, potassium, and antioxidants but can cause digestion issues for some," explains Brawner. "Reducing avocado intake to three to four small slices at a time can be a good way to still enjoy this creamy fruit without the stomach pain."
Garlic and Onion
"Garlic and onion are famous for causing bloat," Brawner tells MyDomaine. "They contain oligosaccharides (FODMAP) which can be hard on the gut for some," she elaborates. "If my clients are experiencing bloating, this combo is one of the first things I ask them to temporarily eliminate from their diets."
"When someone I work with mentions that apples are hard on their stomachs, I begin to suspect FODMAPs may be an issue," notes Brawner. "Apples contain a high amount of fructose, and fructose is a monosaccharide, a FODMAP sugar," she explains. "Note that not all fruit is high in FODMAPs, just those high in fructose like apples, cherries, mangos, watermelon."
"Dairy contains disaccharides, which puts the D in FODMAP," says Brawner. "Products containing high amounts of lactose are high FODMAPs and are just one reason dairy can be problematic for people," she notes. "Some dairy products are low in lactose (making them low in FODMAPs) like certain cheeses and butter."
"Honey is known as a 'healthy' sweetener, but it has a dark side," cautions Brawner. "Honey is 40 percent fructose, which is not only hard on the liver but can also cause digestive problems for those who are FODMAP-sensitive," she explains. "Again, fructose is a monosaccharide (the 'M' in FODMAP), and high amounts can cause bloating."
TOP 3 LOW-FODMAP FOODS TO EAT
"Chives are an awesome alternative to cook with when trying to avoid onions and garlic," offers Brawner. "They bring a nice pungent flavor and can be cooked or used raw for a nice allium flavor," she adds. "They are FODMAP-friendly and are a great way to diversify the flavors on your plate!"
"Salmon is one of the biggest nutritional powerhouses available," advises Brawner. "It contains large amounts of B12, vitamin D, selenium, and is full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids," she notes. "I recommend grilling up some salmon with some low-FODMAP veggies for a bloat-free dinner."
Coconut milk (full fat)
"Dairy products aren't very low-FODMAP friendly," reminds Brawner. "Coconut milk is an awesome replacement. I like it as a milk alternative because it has heart-healthy qualities, contains manganese for bone health, and is full of medium-chain-triglycerides for energy," she explains. "It's also a great alternative [milk] for those who are allergic to nuts."
Next up: This is what French girls drink to cure a bloated stomach.