Individuals who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome should avoid eating foods that add to the appearance of symptoms. Foods that should not be consumed are marked under the label FODMAP, “Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Disaccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols”, or oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which are micronutrients from power fermentation.



How do the intestines of an individual who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome look like?

“Those who suffer from this benign and extremely common condition often complain of swollen stomach, bloating, abdominal discomfort or pain, constipation or diarrhea, as well as weakness.  It is a “pink” chronic disease because it affects women in high prevalence, “says Dr. Silvio Danese, Head of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Humanitas hospital and medical specialist in the operative unit for inflammatory bowel diseases at Humanitas Gavazzeni hospital.


“Dietary intervention can bring about important benefits: eliminating 21 days of FODMAP foods can improve the entire symptomatology. This diet has been shown in the journal of Gastroenterology. Foods that are high in sugar, once digested, draw water into the intestine. Their over-fermentation is what causes the disorder, “adds the specialist.


Here is a list of fermentable “forbidden” foods for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Fruits: mango, watermelon, plums, peaches, apples, pears, nashi (or pear-apple)
  • Nuts: pistachios and cashews
  • Vegetables: asparagus, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, beets, cabbage, sweet corn, celery
  • Milk and dairy products: yogurt, soft cheeses, ice cream and custard
  • Legumes, cereals such as rye and wheat, bread, pasta and biscuits



Irritable bowel syndrome: what to eat


There are, however, foods with low content, such as:

  • Fruits: banana, orange, tangerine, grape, melon
  • Nuts: almonds (maximum 10 pieces), pumpkin seeds
  • Vegetables: zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, chives, green beans
  • Meat, fish, chicken, tofu, hard cheeses and lactose free dairy products; rice oats, quinoa, gluten-free products


“However – Dr. Danish concludes – we do not know how long the body of a person with IBS suffers from a nutritional point of view, such as eliminating foods rich in FODMAP. Therefore, by undergoing a diet we can act on the symptoms but not the causes of the disease.”


It is always advisable to receive precise instructions from your doctor or nutritionist because these symptoms could hide behind gluten sensitivity or other major diseases.