Most of us know the saying ‘beans means farts’ so if you are used to trumpeting after having a plate full of beans then we are not surprised. If you suffer from a sensitive gut then beans can often lead to more unpleasant symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain and altered bowel movements. We completely understand if you’ve ditched beans to reduce your gut symptoms, but just remember that beans provide fibre and nourishment for your healthy gut bacteria. In this article, we’re going to help you get some low FODMAP beans back into your diet to support your gut health.
Table of Contents:
- What’s in beans that makes us windy and triggers gut symptoms?
- Are there any low FODMAP beans and legumes?
- Do you need to rinse low FODMAP beans before you use them?
- How do you bring low FODMAP options back into your diet?
- Low FODMAP recipes with beans and legumes
- What about bringing high FODMAP beans back?
What’s in beans that makes us windy and triggers gut symptoms?
Beans and legumes are a healthy source of fibre that can keep our gut microbiome happy. However, beans and legumes are normally high FODMAP and commonly contain oligosaccharides in the form of GOS or fructans. Often these two types of FODMAPs are found together in larger serves of beans like adzuki beans, moth beans, black beans, four bean can mix, haricot beans, lima beans, navy beans, or soy beans.
Oligosaccharides can make everyone windy. This is because humans lack the enzyme to break down this FODMAP group. Unfortunately for those with sensitive guts, when beans are fermented by our gut bacteria the FODMAPs in them can sometimes trigger a wave of other gut-based symptoms.
The first phase of the low FODMAP diet focuses on reducing these gut-based symptoms by removing high FODMAP foods like beans and legumes that our gut bacteria feed on. So where is the balance? How do we keep our gut microbiome happy while reducing our gut symptoms? The trick is to keep small serves of some beans and legumes in your diet.
Are there any low FODMAP beans or legumes?
Yes, there are! You don’t need to be entirely bean free while on the first phase of the low FODMAP diet. Some types of beans and legumes have small low FODMAP serving sizes that are generally well tolerated. Low FODMAP bean options include:
1/4 cup canned chickpeas
1/4 cup canned lentils
1/4 cup boiled lentils (green or red)
1/4 cup canned butter beans
1/4 cup boiled lima beans
2 tbsp black beans
Portion size is important here – stick to the green rated serving sizes mentioned above during the first phase of the diet. Larger serving sizes of these beans/legumes can contain moderate or high amounts of FODMAPs. Make sure you check out the Monash University FODMAP Diet App for more information.
Do you need to rinse low FODMAP beans before you eat them?
Great question. Fun science fact for you – FODMAPs are water soluble. When beans are canned in brine or water some of the FODMAPs escape out of the beans and into the liquid. This means you need to discard the liquid and rinse the beans before using them to lower the FODMAP content of the meal.
How do you bring low FODMAP beans back into your diet?
If you’ve been bean free for a while now, then you need to start with a small serving. Try mixing 1 to 2 tablespoons of the low FODMAP options listed above into your favourite soup, stew, casserole, salad or roast vegetables.
Be realistic about your symptoms. When you add a low FODMAP serving of beans back into your diet, you are increasing the fibre and food you are giving your healthy gut bacteria. As these bacteria break down the food, they might get a little bit excited so expect a small increase in bloating and gas. Both of these are healthy signs that you are nourishing your gut bacteria and your digestive system is working properly. What we don’t want are gut symptoms that cause you pain or embarrassment, so if your symptoms interfere with your daily routine then reduce your serving size.
Low FODMAP Recipes with Beans/Legumes
Ideally, we want you to have a low FODMAP serving size of beans/legumes several times per week. These tasty recipes can help you bring low FODMAP beans back into your diet:
- Low FODMAP Zingy Lime & Basil Roast Veggie Salad (with butter beans)
- Low FODMAP Orange & Miso Roast Veggie & Lentil Salad
- Low FODMAP Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- Low FODMAP Hummus
- Low FODMAP Curried Carrot & Chickpea Frittatas
- Low FODMAP Minestrone Soup
What about bringing high FODMAP beans back?
Once you know that the low FODMAP diet has helped you reduce your symptoms, you can jump in to your FODMAP reintroductions. High FODMAP beans usually contain GOS, fructans or a mixture of both. This means you will need to do a couple of dedicated food challenges to see how you tolerate these different FODMAP groups and determine if you can bring these foods back into your diet while keeping symptoms settled.
The low FODMAP diet doesn’t need to be bean and legume free. Instead, focus on bringing small serves of low FODMAP beans and legumes into your diet a few times a week. Not only will this boost your fibre intake but it will also help you support your gut health.