It’s no secret that what you eat affects your IBS. In fact, people often come to me afraid to eat because so many foods cause their IBS symptoms to flare up. Because IBS affects your digestive system, the food you eat matters. In fact, eating the wrong food might just ruin your whole day.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been focusing on the low FODMAP diet and how it affects IBS. We’ve talked about how to eat low FODMAP at restaurants, cooking low FODMAP, low FODMAP label-reading, and more.
Now that you’ve got a good overview + some tips and tricks to make it easier, we’re going to zoom in and look at some of the most common “can I eat this with IBS?” foods.
Of course, we’re all unique individuals. So how a food affects you may be entirely different than how it affects another IBS patient. But foods will generally behave in fairly predictable ways once they hit your digestive system. So we’re going to take a close look at some common favorites.
And this week, it’s all about the humble 🍌. It’s time to answer that burning question — Are bananas good for IBS?
Bananas are a marvel of nature. They’re delicious. They’re portable. They even come with their own handle (if you peel them stem-side down). But wait… there’s more!
🍌 A single banana will provide you with 12% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin C, 10% for potassium, and 8% of the DV for magnesium.
🍌 Bananas are full of antioxidants — nutrients that reduce the risk of heart disease and macular degeneration. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals.
🍌 Unripe bananas may help balance blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity (a risk factor for type 2 diabetes). Bananas also provide soluble fiber and resistant starch — both of which may help balance blood sugar.
🍌 Bananas can support digestive health by providing food for beneficial gut bacteria (prebiotics). They also contain pectin, which may help soften stools and prevent constipation.
🍌 Bananas are rich in potassium, which is beneficial for both heart health and kidney health. Bananas are also a good source of magnesium, which is beneficial for muscle, nerve, bone and cardiovascular health.
Here’s where it gets a little bit tricky. There is an answer to this question, but it isn’t a simple yes or no. Really, it depends.
If you’re sensitive to bananas, they aren’t going to do you any favors. But for many people with IBS or SIBO, bananas can be incorporated into their diet without causing problems. But that doesn’t mean you should go buy a bunch of bananas and eat them all in one day.
All fruits contain a sugar called fructose. Some fruits contain a lot of fructose like apples, mangoes, and peaches. Other fruits are lower in fructose. Low fructose fruits include cantaloupe, kiwi, and pineapple.
Fructose belongs in a category of carbohydrates called FODMAPs. Specifically, fructose is an oligosaccharide (the ‘O’ in FODMAP). FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest and absorb for people with digestive issues. So many people with IBS and SIBO find that their symptoms improve when they eat fewer FODMAP-rich foods.
IBS and SIBO patients often rely on the low FODMAP diet to keep their symptoms at bay. If you’re new to the low FODMAP diet, my blog contains lots of free information for you.
Now back to bananas. Bananas are high in FODMAPS. But they’re also low in FODMAPs. Let me explain…
The amount of fructose in a banana varies depending on its ripeness. Think of it this way, fructose is a sugar. And the riper a banana is, the sweeter it gets. That’s because as bananas ripen and become less starchy, the fructose content rises. And if the fructose content rises, so does the level of FODMAPs.
If you’ve got IBS or SIBO and you want to eat bananas, you need to consider two things:
✔ The ripeness of the banana
✔ How much you consume in one sitting
The more fructose in the banana, the higher the FODMAP level, and the less you should eat if you’re working to prevent digestive issues.
According to Monash University (the creators of the low FODMAP diet), a green banana is considered low FODMAP. So you can eat a whole green banana in one sitting. But a ripe banana is considered high FODMAP. So if you want to have a ripe banana, you need to limit your serving to ⅓ of a banana.
Eating ⅓ of a ripe banana isn’t much. But if you put it in a low FODMAP recipe, you can get that banana flavor in a bigger serving.
There are lots of great low FODMAP recipes on the internet. In fact, I have a whole blog article dedicated to my favorite low FODMAP recipe websites.
You can also do a Google search for low FODMAP banana recipes. Here are some banana recipes from of my favorite low FODMAP sites:
🍌 23 Low FODMAP Banana Recipes So Good A Monkey Would Fight You For Them on Fodmap Everyday
🍌 Banana Recipes on the A Little Bit Yummy blog
🍌 Monash University also has a variety of banana recipes
The low FODMAP diet is complex and nuanced. When you consider that bananas can be both low FODMAP and high FODMAP, it’s clear that this is not a simple way of eating. But for many people who struggle with digestive issues including IBS or SIBO, the low FODMAP diet is a great temporary approach to calming your symptoms.
I’ve been working with IBS and SIBO patients for over ten years. And I’ve used the low FODMAP diet extensively in my practice to help people get past their symptoms and get on with their lives. But I know the low FODMAP diet can be frustrating and confusing.
So I created the IBS Relief Blueprint course. I took all the most up-to-date information and created resources to help my clients navigate the low FODMAP diet with ease. And now I’ve made this program available to the public. IBS Relief Blueprint contains short videos, resources, cheat sheets, food lists, and more — everything you need to confidently navigate all three stages of the low FODMAP diet.