Is there anything better than a big bowl of popcorn on a movie night? Low fodmap popcorn is the perfect snack for people with digestive problems. Unlike traditional popcorn, which is usually loaded with unhealthy additives, this low-fodmap version is a keeper! It’s easy to make and delicious!
Is Popcorn OK to Eat With IBS?
Popcorn is considered a low fodmap food, making it an ideal snack for most with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). However, if you have problems when eating insoluble fiber, it may trigger symptoms. The recommended daily serving of popcorn is four to five cups. Eating more than seven cups of popcorn may cause distress to your digestive system.
What Are Fodmap Foods?
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides & Polyols.” These are short-chain carbohydrates that individuals with gut diseases find difficult to digest. This is because they pull water into the gut and are fermented by gut bacteria.
Examples of high fodmap foods include:
- Oligosaccharides: Garlic, onions, legumes, wheat, barley, and rye.
- Disaccharides: Lactose in dairy products such as milk and yogurt.
- Monosaccharides: Fructose in fruits, honey, and syrups.
- Polyols: Sugar alcohols like mannitol, xylitol, isomalt, and sorbitol. They are found in artificial sweeteners and some fruits.
Those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome should avoid eating high fodmap foods. This is because it can lead to digestive symptoms such as pain, bloating, gas, changes in bowel habits, diarrhea, and constipation.
In contrast, experts recommend a low fodmap diet, which would comprise of:
- Vegetables: Most veggies are low fodmap. E.g., eggplant, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, kale, and cabbage.
- Fruits: This includes low-sugar options such as cantaloupe, mandarin, pineapple, strawberries, oranges, and kiwis.
- Dairy alternatives: Almond/oat/cashew/soy milk and hard cheese.
- Protein sources: Firm tofu, eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, and tempeh.
- Cereals and bread: This can include oats, rice cakes, cornflakes, sourdough bread, and any rye/wheat/barley-free bread.
- Sweeteners: For instance, table sugar, maple syrup, and malt syrup.
- Snacks: This includes dark chocolate, macadamias, walnuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and popcorn.
Is Popcorn Hard on Your Digestive System?
Popcorn is not hard on your digestive system. In contrast, it is a highly nutritious, gut-friendly snack that can improve digestion when prepared correctly and consumed within the daily recommended requirements.
According to Medical News Today, popcorn is a great source of fiber since it contains three and a half grams of fiber for every 100-gram serving. This helps to restore regular bowel movements in people who are experiencing constipation as a result of gut diseases.
In addition, popcorn is also a great source of antioxidants that protect the body’s cells from damage. Furthermore, polyphenols found in popcorn have some anti-inflammatory properties that help to improve gut health. Since it is a low-calorie food, eating popcorn between meals can help to maintain normal blood sugar levels and reduce obesity.
How Do I Make IBS-Friendly Popcorn?
If you have IBS, eating the correct type of low-fodmap popcorn is important, which will be easy to digest. Here are some guidelines on how to make IBS-friendly popcorn:
Choose The Right Brand Of Popcorn
Organic popcorn kernels have little to no additives and offer the best nutritional value, making them the perfect choice for a low fodmap diet.
You should avoid using sweet corn to make popcorn since it is not a low fodmap food. This is because the sweetness comes from sorbitol, a highly fermentable sugar alcohol. Hence, eating sweet corn may result in digestive distress.
Avoid brands that have sweeteners, spices, and flavorings, such as garlic and onion, when buying from the store. A good brand to look out for is SkinnyPop, which provides healthy popcorn with low sodium, IBS-friendly ingredients and sufficient fiber.
Here are some other healthy popcorn brands that you can consider:
- Smart Food
- Pop’s Secret
- Orville Redenbacher
- Newman’s Own Popcorn
- Angie’s Boom Chika Pop
You might also be interested in – Is Popcorn Keto-friendly?
Use An Oil-Free Popping Method
Air popping is the healthiest method of preparing popcorn since it does not use any additional oil. For instance, 100 grams of air-popped popcorn only has about five grams of fat.
However, this changes when it comes to popcorn prepared using butter or oil. The amount of fat in the daily recommended serving becomes about ten times higher. A high-fat diet has been reported to trigger IBS symptoms, leading to discomfort and indigestion.
When preparing popcorn without oil, there are different methods you can choose from.
First, you can place the popcorn kernels in a paper bag, seal the bag, and then place it in the microwave for two to three minutes. Secondly, you can use an air-popper popcorn machine.
Finally, you can make oil-free popcorn on the stove by placing the kernels on a dry saucepan and covering it with a lid. Once the kernels start to pop, shake the saucepan occasionally to prevent the kernels from burning.
Use Low Fodmap Toppings
Most people like to enjoy popcorn with a variety of toppings. For instance, some popular toppings include spices, herbs, syrups, chili, curry, and cayenne. Unfortunately, highly seasoned popcorn may irritate the gut, triggering IBS symptoms. In addition, harsh spices can trigger acid reflux, which worsens your symptoms.
Popular syrup toppings contain artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and natural sweeteners such as fructose and honey. These are high fodmap foods that you should avoid adding to popcorn. Unfortunately, such ingredients are notoriously found in store-bought brands. Hence, you need to look at the ingredients list carefully and make sure that the popcorn is gut friendly.
If you love toppings, make sure to choose fodmap-friendly options. For example, you can add salt and dried herbs of your choice for a savory snack. On the other hand, if you are craving something sweeter, you can top up your snack with some dark chocolate, maple syrup, cinnamon, or table sugar.
If you want to add sweeteners, make sure you use them conservatively to avoid triggering your symptoms. Furthermore, low fodmap nuts such as macadamias, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds can help make your popcorn snack more filling. Once you find a recipe that suits you, you can happily add popcorn to your snack list.
Gut Health Is Important for Overall Health
According to an article in John Hopkins Medicine, irritation in the digestive system can lead to mood changes. Furthermore, it has been found that people with IBS tend to have a higher likelihood of developing anxiety or depression if the symptoms are not properly managed.
If you are suffering from IBS or any other gut disease, then it is important for you to eat low fodmap food and snacks that will ensure your symptoms do not flare up. Low fodmap popcorn is a great option that provides a good amount of fiber for proper digestion.