The Role of Probiotics in a Low FODMAP Diet: Supporting Gut Health


Maintaining our gut’s health is important as it is crucial for breaking down consumed food and getting nutrients from it. But, not everyone has a normally-functioning gut; some may have conditions that weaken its efficacy. For instance, some people suffer from irritable bowels or bacterial overgrowth and may need a specific diet.

In this article, we’ll get to learn about the role of probiotics in a Low FODMAP diet. Alongside that, we’ll also know how this type of diet supports gut health.

What is FODMAP?

Before we head over to the matter itself, let’s learn what FODMAP is. It is an acronym that stands for the following compounds: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols.

These four are sugars that the small intestine tends to have difficulty absorbing. The result is that people may experience digestive problems after consuming them. They may also need low FODMAP meal delivery so they can enjoy worry-free food. Consuming foods containing these sugars can lead to digestive issues such as:

  • Bloated stomach
  • Gas build-up and flatulence
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Cramping in certain parts of the body

How Does the Low FODMAP Diet Work?

A low FODMAP diet involves a three-step process that eliminates certain food items. These are the steps:

  • First, you stop consuming specific food items (the ones with high amount of sugar).
  • Next, you slowly reintroduce food items. You need to detect which ones trigger digestive disorders.
  • Once you’ve identified the food items that trigger digestive problems, you can limit their consumption or avoid it in general and other than that you can enjoy everything else without worrying.

What Role Does Probiotics Play in a Low FODMAP Diet?

Now, let’s delve into the crux of the matter – understanding the role of probiotics in a Low FODMAP diet. Here are the roles that probiotics fulfill when they’re included in the said type of diet:

1. Relieves IBS Symptoms

Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers don’t only receive an IBS meal plan but also probiotics that have been used to relieve symptoms. Typically, probiotics such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium are used to alleviate these symptoms. The mentioned probiotics are native gut inhabitants that will aid in promoting better gut health.

2. Inhibits the Growth of Pathogenic Bacteria.

An abundance of nutrients and food in your gut can potentially foster the growth of harmful pathogens. By introducing probiotics containing Lactobacilli and the like, they’ll consume these nutrients. In turn, they suppress the growth of harmful microbes. The good bacteria will flourish while the bad ones will starve out and die off.

3. Fights Intestinal Inflammation

Probiotics are also recommended for people who are on an IBS meal plan since it also fights intestinal inflammation. Specific microbes like the already mentioned Lactobacili can ease the intestine’s self-regulation and maintenance. Thus, introducing these good bacteria can cut down on the effects of inflammation in the gut.

4. Balances the Bowel Movement

Irritable Bowel Syndrome causes either constipation or diarrhea in the sufferer. Let’s start with constipation first. In constipation, the individual suffers from uncomfortable and infrequent bowel movements. This results in hard and dry stool that’s very painful to pass out. On top of that, you don’t feel that you’ve emptied your bowels.

Conversely, diarrhea results in loose bowel movements, cramps, and watery stool. Regardless of the two, adding probiotics to supplement a low FODMAP meal ensures that gut activity can be restored. These good bacteria will do all the work to ensure that your bowels will work properly like before.

5. Minimizes Bloating and Gas Production

An irritable bowel is prone to producing tons of gas which can be irritating to an individual. Incorporating probiotics into a Low FODMAP diet helps minimize gas production in the intestines. The four strains that are recommended to use against bloating and gas in the bowels are these four gut bacteria:

  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus

These four probiotic strains have produced successful results wherein the patient has less gas production inside their digestive tract, therefore making them feel less bloated.

What to Consume and Not Consume on a Low FODMAP Diet?

To ensure that your good bacteria will go to work and lessen the likelihood that pathogens will grow inside your gut, you’ll need to consume the right types of food. We’ll cover what you can consume and what you’ll need to avoid or eat less of.

Let’s start off with the food items that your dietician may suggest you eat less or avoid. Some examples of high-FODMAP foods you need to avoid are the following:

  • Dairy products like milk, cereals, and ice cream.
  • Wheat-based items such as bread and crackers
  • Specific vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, garlic, and onions may also be avoided.
  • Legumes like beans, lentils, and peas are also not going to be consumed much or not at all.
  • Certain fruits will not be allowed in a low FODMAP meal plan such as apples and peaches.

Even though a low FODMAP diet is quite restrictive, it doesn’t mean many of the other food items are off the table. Here are the food items that your dietician may recommend for your diet:

  • Meat and eggs
  • Cheeses such as brie, cheddar, or feta may be recommended for your diet plan.
  • Grains such as rice, oats, and quinoa are a must in a low-FODMAP meal plan.
  • The majority of vegetables, such as potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, and eggplants.

Use this list as a reference if you intend to plan your own meals that are low in FODMAP.

Is a Low FODMAP Meal Ideal for Me?

While a low FODMAP diet offers numerous benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals who take this type of diet usually suffer from an irritated gut or irregular bowel movements. If you insist on taking this diet, you would need to consult and coordinate with your doctor or dietician to see if you’re a good fit.

Your doctor or dietician can provide you with the resources needed to manage the stress of restricting your diet and if needed, extra medication.

Probiotics and a Low FODMAP Diet Assist in Gut Maintenance

Probiotics can help relieve pain and prevent the proliferation of harmful microbes in your gut. They can also aid in regulating bowel movements and improving overall health. These benefits can be enhanced with a diet low in FODMAP. However, despite these notable benefits, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before making dietary changes.

Consult with your healthcare provider to determine if a personalized Low FODMAP diet plan is suitable for you and can help you reap its benefits.

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