Gut health is all the rage these days and with good reason! The more we learn about the gut microbiome, the more we learn about its impact on not only digestive comfort but also immunity, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, how we store fat and even mental health! A more abundant and diverse microbiome is associated with improved digestion and better health outcomes.
So, you might be asking how you can improve your gut health?
Well, we know that the gut microbiome is impacted by lots of factors. Some things we have little control over, like how you were born or fed as a baby, if you had pets growing up, or where you live. Other factors, however, we can have some input into, like what you eat each day.
Research shows that diet can alter the gut microbiome in as little as 24 hours! In recent years The American Gut Project found that people who eat 30 or more different plant foods each week have a much more diverse and abundant gut microbiome than people who eat 10 or less plant foods per week.
30 different plant-based foods may seem like a lot, especially if you’re on a low FODMAP diet. Well, we have your back! To make things easy for you, we’ve put together a list of 74 low FODMAP plant-based foods that you can use for inspiration to boost your gut health.
74 Low FODMAP Plant-Base Foods To Boost Your Gut Health
Fruits are nature’s gift to snacking! Sweet, juicy, delicious and packed with fibre and a heap of micronutrients. Dietary guidelines for adults recommend 2 servings per day with 1 serving being 1 medium piece, 2 small pieces or 1 cup chopped of fruit. On a low FODMAP diet, the FODMAPs in fruit can build up quite quickly, so we recommend spreading your fruit out across the day and limiting your serving size. For example, 1 piece in the morning and another piece in the afternoon or evening.
You can enjoy these fruits while on the low FODMAP diet:
- Firm common banana
- Sugar banana
- Dragon fruit
- Canned young jackfruit
- Navel orange
- Papaya (yellow or green)
- Berries – small serves of raspberries, strawberries
Just remember that low FODMAP fruit needs good portion control during the first phase of the low FODMAP diet. Check the Monash University FODMAP Diet App for serving size information.
These tasty recipes will help you sneak more servings of low FODMAP fruit into your week:
Packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, leafy greens are a great low FODMAP option to up your veggie intake. They work well in all sorts of meals including salads, stir-fries, risottos and pasta dishes. Tip: maximize your iron absorption from dark green leafy vegetables by pairing them with a source of vitamin C like a squeeze of lemon juice, sliced tomato or a low FODMAP serving of red capsicum. Think about including these options:
- Bok choy
- Lettuce (Ros/Romaine, Butter, Iceberg, Red Coral)
- Swiss chard
- Spinach (baby or English)
- Collard greens
- Endive leaves
- Common cabbage
Most of these leafy greens are low FODMAP in 1-2 cup servings with the exception of common cabbage and bok choy which need a smaller serving. Check the Monash University FODMAP Diet App for serving size information.
One of the cool things about veggies is that the different colours represent different nutrients. Red fruits and veg for example are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and antioxidants while green tend to be higher in vitamin K, folate, antioxidants and iron. By including a variety of colours on your plate you are much more likely to meet your needs for all the different vitamins and minerals. Try experimenting with these vegetables:
- Canned or pickled beetroot
- Green capsicums/pepper
- Green beans
- Broccoli florets
- Red cabbage
- Sweet corn (small serves of fresh corn, canned corn, creamed corn)
- Oyster mushrooms
- Canned tomatoes
- Fresh tomatoes (small serves of common, roma or vine or cherry)
- Japanese/kabocha pumpkin
- Spaghetti squash
Low FODMAP serving sizes vary for these vegetables vary, so check the Monash University FODMAP Diet App for serving size information.
There are so many fun ways to eat the rainbow:
Lets take a moment to appreciate all the amazing low FODMAP ways to enjoy potatoes. Root vegetables, like potatoes, are plants so they absolutely count towards your 30+ different plant foods per week. Like other veggies, the different nutrients are reflected in the different colours with most being a great source of folate, potassium, manganese and vitamins A, B and C. Here are some of our favourite low FODMAP options:
- Sweet potato
Some of these root vegetables need good portion control so check the Monash University FODMAP Diet App before eating a plateful.
We love root vegetables as they are super versatile to use and you can enjoy them in anything from mashed potatoes, platters of roast veggies, soups and frittatas:
Yes, grains come from plants and they count too! Grains are a great source of B vitamins and fibre, both of which can be a little tricky to get on a low FODMAP diet. While gluten itself is a protein and not a FODMAP, many grains that contain gluten also contain high amounts of fructans which are FODMAPs. These are two different molecules that are often in the same foods. What’s important to know is that gluten free doesn’t mean low FODMAP and containing gluten doesn’t mean high FODMAP. You can read more about FODMAPs vs Gluten here. The grains listed below all have low FODMAP serves which can be included on all stages of the low FODMAP diet:
- Brown rice
- Spelt based sourdough bread
- Gluten Free Sanitarium Weet-bix
- Couscous made from maize
- Buckwheat flour
- Wheat bread at 1 slice per serve
- Wheat pasta at ½ cup serve
Check the Monash University FODMAP Diet App for serving size information.
Its a myth that you can’t eat legumes on a low FODMAP diet. One of the cool things about FODMAPs is that they are water-soluble, and while canned chickpeas and lentils sit in water or brine the FODMAPs leach into the liquid. Once you drain and rinse them they can be included in small serves on a low FODMAP diet. Legumes are also super high in fibre and are linked to:
- Supporting good digestion
- Supporting mental health
- Supporting immunity
- Reducing risk of heart disease and diabetes
We recommend checking the Monash University FODMAP Diet App for serving size information on each of the legumes listed below before including a low FODMAP serving in your meals:
- Canned butter beans
- Canned cannellini beans
- Canned chickpeas
- Canned red kidney beans
- Canned lentils
- Black beans
We have some lovely recipes using low FODMAP servings of legumes, all you need to do is follow the recipe instructions and divide the recipe into the recommended number of servings:
Being vegan or vegetarian and low FODMAP can be tricky. Firm Tofu and Tempeh (along with some nuts, legumes and dairy) are really your best protein options. Try preparing these in different ways to keep them interesting and don’t forget to push your boundaries with some high FODMAP options when you are able to relax your diet a little bit.
- Firm tofu
Nuts & Seeds
Fibre can be tricky on a low FODMAP diet and some people even find their gut a bit sluggish as a result. Snacking on nuts can be a great low FODMAP way to boost your fibre intake and increase your variety of plant foods. Just like legumes, nuts also come with a range of health benefits to support heart, immunity, mental health and blood glucose levels. Look at including some of these nuts and seeds in your low FODMAP diet:
- Macadamia nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Chia seeds
Check the Monash University FODMAP Diet App for up-to-date serving size information.
As a dietitian, I believe that the most liberal diet possible is the best diet for any individual. We know from research that more food variety is highly correlated with good health and reduced risk of chronic diseases. Variety also keeps food colourful and interesting, which helps with satisfaction after eating too. There is nothing more boring than eating the same thing day in and day out.
Of course, moving through the FODMAP process and expanding your diet is key to helping you find your food freedom. In the meantime, we hope this list of 74 low FODMAP plant foods helps to reach the goal of 30+ plant different foods each week. That way you can look after the diversity and abundance of your gut microbiota while working out your symptom triggers.
The University of California. The Amercian Gut Project Summary. Science Direct. 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180515092931.htm Retrieved on: 2023-01-14
Singh R., et al. Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. Journal of Translational Medicine. 2017: Issue 15. Retrieved from: https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-017-1175-y Retrieved on: 2023-01-14
Hero image – KatyGr5/Shutterstock.com; Pineapple image – BudOlga/Shutterstock.com; Leaf image – Zhe Vasylieva/Shutterstock.com; Eggplant – BudOlga/Shutterstock.com; Potato; Grains Bowl image – Zhe Vasylieva/Shutterstock.com; Bean image – HappyPictures/Shutterstock.com; Tofu image – judyjump; Brazil Nut – BudOlga/Shutterstock.com