Below I have listed some FODMAP-friendly vegan ingredients you can find in my kitchen. Click on each ingredient to learn of its amazing health benefits.
I have listed them in food categories for your convenience.
* = purchase organic where possible
HERBS, SPICES & CONDIMENTS
Research into basil has revealed numerous health-protecting effects including: DNA protection against radiation and oxygen-based damage and protection against unwanted bacterial growth. Basil also contains nutrients essential for cardiovascular health, as well as containing anti-inflammatory properties that are great for soothing the digestive system. It also adds the MOST delicious aroma to your meals, and is a versatile herb to have on hand, as you can use it in a range of both sweet and savoury dishes.
Cardamom is a seedpod, native to the evergreen rainforest of southern India and grown in only few tropical countries. This exotic seed contains essential volatile oils that are known to have antioxidant and disease-preventing properties. In many traditional medicines it has been used as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive aid, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, and tonic. Cardamom pods are also a good source of minerals, iron, manganese and several vital vitamins.
The fragrant, sweet and warm taste of cinnamon makes it a versatile cooking spice. It has also been used as a natural medicine throughout history. Cinnamon is available as a quill or as ground powder and is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree. It has been shown to have anti-clotting and anti-microbial properties, and may also aid in the regulation of blood sugar levels. The scent of cinnamon has also been found to boost brain function, while its high calcium and fiber content improve colon health and protect against heart disease. In Chinese medicine cinnamon is often used for its warming qualities, in the treatment of colds and flues.
Coriander seeds are available in whole or in ground powder form. In Europe, Coriander is referred to as an “anti-diabetic” plant due to its ability to regulate blood sugar, cholesterol and free radical production. In India, it is often used for its anti-inflammatory properties, particularly to sooth inflammation of the intestinal tract.
Cloves are the unopened pink flower buds of the evergreen clove tree. Useful in both sweet and savoury dishes, cloves have been shown to aid in the prevention of toxicity from environmental pollutants, and in the treatment of digestive tract cancers and joint inflammation. Clove oil is even found in some over-the- counter throat sprays and mouth washes due to its impressive anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Ginger is often used in both sweet and savoury dishes to add a pungent, spicy and zesty flavor. The underground rhizome of the ginger plant has been traditionally used to calm the symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. However, modern research has shown that ginger possesses numerous additional therapeutic properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and anti-vomiting effects. For this reason it is becoming increasingly recommended to expectant mothers and those who suffer motion sickness.
Beloved by the Incas, Lucuma Powder is made from the nutritious Peruvian fruit, lucuma. It is a healthy and delicious sweetener with a slight caramel flavour that also provides 14 essential trace minerals. Lucuma is a good source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, healthy carbohydrates, vitamins including beta-carotene, niacin and minerals including zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. Its maple-like taste makes it a sweet addition to smoothies, baked goods, and even ice cream.
Used as a staple food for centuries by desert dwellers, this high protein powder contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and is rich in the amino acid lysine. Its low GI of 25 helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and makes it a great sweet option for diabetics. Mesquite powder is sweet with a slightly nutty wild flavour and a hint of caramel, making it a great addition to smoothies or other drinks.
With its vibrant taste and amazing healing properties, it is no wonder parsley is the world’s most popular herb. Parsley’s volatile oil content has been shown to inhibit tumor formation. This herb is also a rich source of anti-oxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid and iron. Parsley may also maintain heart health and its high vitamin C content is said to aid in the protection of rheumatoid arthritis.
*Pure Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is the only food product that comes directly from a plant’s sap. This all-natural sweetener features over 54 antioxidants that can help delay or prevent diseases caused by free radicals, such as cancer or diabetes. In addition, maple syrup features high levels of zinc and manganese, keeping the heart healthy and boosting the immune system. Due to its higher glucose to fructose ratio, it is considered a FODMAP-friendly alternative to honey. Just try not to go too crazy on this stuff, remember it is still a sweetener and can therefore spike blood sugar levels if consumed in excess.
*Rice Malt Syrup
Rice Malt Syrup is a versatile and healthy sweetener that contains 100% organic brown rice. It is completely gluten and fructose free, and contains complex carbohydrates, so it won’t spike blood sugar levels in the same way that cane sugars will. It’s important to choose organic when looking for rice malt syrups. You can find these at all health food stores and health food aisle of most mainstream supermarkets.
Oh la la! Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is an aromatic herb that is considered one of the finest seasoning ingredients in traditional French cooking. Both the leaves and stems can be used, either fresh or dried, as seasonings in a wide variety of dishes. Tarragon also has a host of health benefits. It is said to stimulate the digestive system and help regulate the metabolism by promoting the secretion of digestive juices. Tarragon may also help to relieve flatulence, constipation, hiccups and dyspepsia. As a result, Tarragon tea was (and in some parts of the world still is) commonly used in the treatment of a variety of ailments of the digestive system.
Turmeric comes from the root of the curcuma longa plant and has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. The magical spice has also been used to treat flatulence, jaundice, menstrual cramps, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain and colic. Turmeric also provides an effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease and has been used to treat Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and cystic fibrosis. Finally, turmeric has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth and metastases. Anything else?!
Ground peppercorns stimulate the taste buds to alert the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, which aids digestion and promotes intestinal health. Additionally, black pepper has demonstrated antioxidant and antibacterial effects.
*Raw Cacao (powder, nibs)
With its rich, decadent, chocolate flavor, you would never guess cacao is a nutritious super food. Originally from South America, cacao is full of flavonoids, which act as natural antioxidants and protect the body from ageing and disease caused by free radicals. The cacao bean is also rich in magnesium (an energy mineral and vital electrolyte), sulfur (for strong nails, shiny hair, and a healthy liver and pancreas), and may also prevent fat-like substances from oxidizing and clogging the arteries. Cacao has also been found to help regulate blood pressure and reduce cholesterol while building the immune system. Its high magnesium content encourages your stomach muscles to relax, which may provide relief is suffering from sharp stomach muscle spasms.
Derived from the liquid sap of the coconut flowers, coconut nectar is a low-FODMAP sweetener that is high in mineral content. It is a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. It also contains vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6, and has a very low glycemic index of 35 (regular cane sugar is around 70). Coconut sugar is simply crystalized coconut nectar. Both coconut nectar and sugar have been declared by the World Health Organization as two of the most sustainable sweeteners in the world. Better for your tum, overall health, and for the environment … a winner in my books!
Cumin has a nutty, peppery flavor, and is available both in whole and ground varieties. Common in Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican cooking, Cumin offers a myriad of health benefits. It contains iron for energy, and is known to improve immune and digestive function. Studies suggest cumin may even have anti- carcinogenic properties, especially in the prevention of stomach and liver tumors.
*Himalayan Sea Salt
Salt is essential for life. However, there are enormous differences between standard, refined table salt and natural sea salt. Himalayan sea salt is by far the purest salt available on earth and is uncontaminated, containing no toxins or pollutants. Including all of the 84 elements found in the body, natural Himalayan crystal salt helps to: regulate the body’s water content, promote healthy pH balance in the cells, regulate blood sugar, and assists in the generation of hydroelectric energy. It also aids the absorption of food particles, supports respiratory and sinus health, prevents muscle cramps, promotes bone and vascular strength, and regulates sleep and libido. A superfood indeed! Note: Peruvian pink salt is actually more sustainable than Himalayan sea salt, but it can be difficult to find, which is why I’ve listed Himalayan. Both have the same health benefits.
Maca Root Powder
Maca is a root that belongs to the radish family, and is most commonly available in powdered form. Grown in the mountains of Peru, it has been called “Peruvian ginseng”, and has been long valued for its energising and medicinal properties. Only recently has Maca become known as a superfood in the west. When you first start using maca, it’s best to begin by taking smaller amounts and building up, e.g., start with just 1/2 teaspoon. One tablespoon (of the powder) is an average daily dose. Rotating a few days on and a few days off is often recommended. Maca is rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E. It provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids. Maca is perhaps most well known for boosting energy and libido (hello!), as well as for relieving menstrual issues and menopause. It alleviates cramps, body pain, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, and may aid in the treatment of depression. If you are pregnant or lactating you should avoid taking maca as a precaution.
Mint has been scientifically shown to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including indigestion, dyspepsia, and colonic muscle spasms. Mint may also contain phytonutrients that aid in the prevention of colon, skin and lung cancer. The essential oils from the mint leaf halt the growth of many different bacteria. Further, due to its rosmarinic acid content, mint has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of asthma. Mint is also a good source of manganese, copper and vitamin C, all nutrients that are important in maintaining overall health.
Mustard / Mustard Seeds
Mustard seeds are widely used in Indian households and are an integral part of Indian cooking as they impart a very rich and unique flavour to food. The oil from the seeds is used for cooking, whereas whole seeds are used as tadka, and powdered seeds are widely used in various dips and garnishings. Seeds of mustard plant are rich source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. They are also a good source of dietary folate and vitamin A. Mustard seeds are also rich in selenium, important for nail and hair health. Packed with phytonutrients, mustard seeds are a great way to prevent and slow the progress of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Nutritional yeast should not be confused with traditional baking yeast, as the former contains no alcohol, won’t cause or exacerbate an overgrowth of Candida, and will not leaven baked goods. Nutritional yeast is made from a single- celled organism of fungi called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, and has a yellow flakey appearance. While it is often used as a vegan substitute to cheese due to its rich savoury flavor, it is a healthy inclusion in anyone’s diet due to its very high B vitamin and trace mineral content. It is also a complete, bioavailable source of protein. Nutritional yeast is a staple pantry item of mine, as it is one of the only vegan sources of vitamin B12.
Paprika is not just a spice that adds colour and flavour to a range of dishes, it is also a nutrition powerhouse, and is rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, providing a variety of health and beauty benefits. The Capsicum annuum family of peppers includes capsicums, hot green peppers, hot red peppers and several other varieties in between. Any one, or any combination of peppers, can be dried and ground into paprika, which is why the spice’s colour can vary dramatically, and its flavour can range from sweet or mild to fiery hot. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in peppers that causes their heat. In laboratory experiments, capsaicin relaxes blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure and may prevent pain. However, some IBS sufferers struggle to digest Capsaicin so careful not to go too nuts with Paprika.
Rosemary contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may aid in the treatment of asthma. It also contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, improving digestion and increasing circulation. Rosemary has even been shown to improve concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain.
Tamari is a wheat-free variation of soy sauce that is thicker, darker in appearance, and richer in flavour. Tamari also contains much less salt than traditional soy sauces and, being a fermented food, aids in the digestion of fruits and vegetables. It is also rich in several minerals, and is a good source of vitamin B3, protein, manganese, and tryptophan. Tamari is a great dressing alternative for those with gluten or wheat intolerance.
Thyme is a gorgeous, delicate herb with a penetrating fragrance, making it a wonderful addition to any low FODMAP dish. Both fresh and dried thyme is available in your local supermarket throughout the year. Thyme has a long history of use in natural medicine in connection with chest and respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. The volatile oil – Thymol – found in Thyme is now known to have significant antioxidant properties. Thyme is also an excellent source of vitamin C, a very good source of vitamin A, and a good source of iron, manganese, copper, and dietary fiber.
The Mesoamericans from Mexico (the first to civilization to have used vanilla for consumption) worshipped the goddess of the vanilla plant, in celebration of its enchanting, sweet and creamy flavor. Unripe vanilla pods are harvested when they turn light yellow and can be enjoyed in powdered, whole pod, or liquid form. The vanilla extract contains essential oils, vitamins (especially B-complex vitamins), and minerals. It is known to regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
Alfalfa is a very nutritious herb with many benefits. A natural detoxifying agent, alfalfa has been used for centuries to support good health. Alfalfa leaf contains essential vitamins including the entire spectrum of B-vitamins, A, D, E and K. Alfalfa Leaf is a source of iron, niacin, biotin, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. It is also a source of chlorophyll, and when compared to other plants, alfalfa leaf is very high in protein and amino acids.
Even though you can sprout seeds from any type of bean, the two most common types are mung bean and soybean sprouts. Despite beans being high FODMAP food items, bean sprouts are considered low FODMAP, and give you an easy way to boost the nutrients (especially protein, and vitamins B and C) in your diet. Toss them onto your salad, use them in a sandwich or add them to soups and casseroles. Beans need a warm, humid environment to sprout and bacteria also thrive under the same conditions, so sprouts carry a higher risk of bacterial contamination. For this reason, it’s important to wash them thoroughly and purchase your sprouts organic.
Broccoli contains high levels of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and is a rich source of vitamin C. Broccoli is also rich in vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and phyto-nutrients, compounds, which lower the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Studies have suggested broccoli can: reduce osteoarthritis, protect the skin against the harmful effects of UV light, reverse diabetes and heart damage, reduce cancer risk, and detoxify air pollutants in the body. Make sure you limit your servings of broccoli to 1/2 cup and steam the florets very well, as they are part of the cruciferous family of vegetables that can cause bloating and other symptoms of digestive distress if consumed raw due to their high Olgios (fructans and GOS) and Polyol (sorbitol) content.
Brussels sprouts have a bad reputation, but it’s worth giving them a shot – just don’t boil them to death like your mother did. Oven-roasting Brussels sprouts brings out their sweet, almost nutty flavor and keeps them crisp while diminishing the harsh, sulfurous odor and taste that many find offensive. Brussels sprouts are quite high in protein for a green vegetable, and just one serving would meet your daily needs for vitamin C and K. Brussels sprouts are a part of the cruciferous vegetable family, meaning they should be cooked well and never eaten raw, especially by those who suffer from IBS. Limit your servings of these nutrient powerhouses, as they are notorious for producing gas.
Cabbage is a leafy vegetable of Brassica family, and is round or oval in shape. It is widely used throughout the world, and can be prepared in a number of ways, including as either a cooked or raw part of many salads. For those with digestive issues, I would recommend steaming cabbage well or adding it to soups so that it wilts and becomes easier to digest. The health benefits of cabbage are numerous, and include frequent use as a treatment for constipation, stomach ulcers, headaches, skin disorders, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Carrots are one of the most versatile vegetables and healing foods. They are an excellent source of pro-vitamin A, vitamins C, D, E, K, B1 and B6. They are also rich with biotin, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, organic sodium and some trace minerals, all nutrients essential for overall health and wellbeing. I especially love carrots because they are one of the easiest vegetables to prepare, and can be enjoyed raw, steamed, roasted, in juices, smoothies, oatmeal … everything! Just be sure to peel the skin if eating non-organic carrots, as the skin can harbour pesticides that may cause bloating when consumed.
Chives are a perennial plant, and are widespread in nature across much of Europe, Asia and North America. A close relative to onion, garlic, leeks and scallions, chives are a low FODMAP flavour enhancer that have the most delicate flavour. Chives are claimed to be a natural antibiotic and an effective antiseptic. They are also rich in calcium, phosphorous, sulphur, folic acid and vitamin A and C. The mild anti-inflammatory properties in chives mean that it may be effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Chives also contain a high amount of vitamin K which studies have shown has the potential in promoting bone strengthening and limiting damage in the brain.
Cucumbers help to counter inflammation in the joints by removing uric acid crystallization. Cucumbers also have impressive water content (about 96%!) that is naturally distilled, and contains alkaline-forming minerals. Mild in taste yet crunchy in texture, cucumbers are an excellent source of vitamin C and A (anti-oxidants), folate, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, silica, sulfur, complex, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus. Their skin contains a high percentage of vitamin A, so should not be peeled off if your tummy can tolerate it. The caffeic acid in this vegetable helps to prevent water retention and, when applied topically, helps reduce puffy and swollen eyes (why people put cucumber slices on their eyes!)
Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, and, in addition to featuring a host of important vitamins and minerals, they contain important phytonutrients, many of which have antioxidant activity. Eggplants have been shown to aid against brain damage, increase cardiovascular health, and lower cholesterol. Peeling eggplants and marinating them in some high quality sea salt before cooking will help to reduce their natural acidity.
Despite their bright green appearance, green beans are actually an incredibly rich source of carotenoids. In fact, in some cases, they contain similar amounts to that found in carrots and tomatoes! Green beans also contain large amounts of vitamin C and the antioxidant mineral manganese. Green beans have been shown to have greater overall antioxidant capacity than similar foods in the pea and bean families, and regular consumption may also provide a number of cardiovascular benefits. The strong carotenoid and flavonoid content of green beans appears to give this vegetable some potentially unique anti-inflammatory benefits. Limit your serving of green beans to about 90g (12 beans), as anything in excess of this contains high amounts of the polyol – sorbitol and may cause bloating and gas in susceptible individuals.
*Leafy Greens (Kale, Silverbeet, Spinach)
Leafy greens are perhaps the most important staple in a human’s diet. They are one of the very few vegetables that contain Omega 3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). They are also rich sources of calcium, copper, iron, potassium, and Vitamins B1, B2, C, E and K. A diet rich in leafy green has been shown to help fight cancer by boosting the repair of healthy cells and blocking the growth of cancer cells. In addition, leafy greens are rich in flavonoids that control indigestion, inflammation and stress. They are also known to help lower bad cholesterol levels and have an alkalinizing effect on the body. Their high water content keeps the body hydrated and contributes to beautiful skin and hair. Leafy greens should be steamed slightly so that their naturally occurring phytates (which inhibit iron and zinc absorption) are kept to a minimum.
While the white part of leeks (known as the bulb) is high in oligos and should be avoided by those with IBS, the green leaves (or tops) are well tolerated by most and are a wonderful addition to many meals to add flavor and health benefits. Susceptible individuals should still limit their intake to 1/2 – 1 cup as anything in excess of this contains high amounts of the Polyols – mannitol. Like onions and garlic, Leeks contain important amounts of the flavonoid kaempferol, which has repeatedly been shown to help protect blood vessel linings from damage. Leeks also have a high concentration of the B vitamin, folate, as well as impressive concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols.
Okra is an integral member of the cotton family is indigenous to regions around the Nile in North Africa. Okra are small and slender five-sided pods. They are bright green in colour, with small caps and tapered ends. Inside, their white flesh contains lots of small edible white seeds, and has a mild, zucchini-like flavour. Okra is often recommended for pregnant woman for its rich folic acid content, which is essential in the neural tube formation of the fetus. Its high fibre content makes it fantastic in maintaining the health of the gastro-intestinal tract.
Olives are too bitter to be eaten right off the tree and must first be cured. In traditional herbal medicines, preparations from olives and olive leaves have been used in the treatment of inflammatory problems. The high monounsaturated fat content of olives has also been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and lowered blood pressure. Consume olives with greens to promote nutrient absorption and facilitate digestion. Olives and olive oil also have antioxidant and anticancer benefits. You can even use onion & garlic infused olive oils to add flavour to your dishes. Fructans are not soluble in oil, so these products are FODMAP friendly.
The Parsnip, a low FODMAP root vegetable that resemble a white carrot, contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, including dietary fiber, folate, potassium and vitamin C. The majority of a parsnip’s fiber is soluble fiber, which has been linked to a decreased risk of diabetes and high blood cholesterol. Parsnips provide a massive 45 micrograms of folate in each 1/2-cup cooked serving … 11% of the recommended daily intake. Folate aids in energy metabolism, the promotion of nervous system health and function and in the synthesis of DNA, RNA and red blood cells. When baked, parsnip resembles carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin in that it becomes naturally sweet and caramelizes in its own juices.
The hype over low-carb diets has seen the humble potato get a bad rap in the media. While it is true that they are not exactly healthy when dropped into a deep fryer with processed vegetable oils, potatoes are actually an incredibly healthy vegetable, packed full of powerful nutrients and antioxidants. The ORAC value (a measure of the total antioxidants in 100 grams) for a medium baked potato with its skin on is a whopping 1,680 … almost double that of most starchy vegetables! A regular baked potato also has 20% of your daily potassium needs, whereas a banana only has 9%. Potatoes are also a rich source of vitamin B6, needed to create red blood cells. Best of all, they are one of the easiest vegetables to digest and there’s nothing like good old mashed potatoes when your stomach is crying in pain.
Pumpkin’s yellow-orangey skin and flesh is packed full of carotenoids, vitamins A, C, E, B vitamins and dietary fiber. Mineral wise, pumpkin is rich in potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, sodium and zinc. It may also help to eliminate parasites and peptic ulcers. It is important to ensure pumpkin is well cooked, and those with sensitive stomachs should chose the jap variety (as opposed to butternut), as it contains lower levels of the Oligos.
Rhubarb is a perennial herb grown for its attractive succulent rose red, edible leafy stalks. Despite being one of the lowest calorie vegetables, rhubarb holds some vital phytonutrients such as dietary fiber, poly phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It is rich in Vitamin A and a powerful natural anti-oxidant required by the body for maintaining integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It also contains vitamin K, helping to limit neuronal damage in the brain and has an established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. It is very easy to digest and is commonly confused as being a fruit as it is predominantly used in a range of sweet dishes.
*Sea Vegetables (e.g., Nori)
Seaweed is hailed as an ancient super food, and for good reason as it was our ancestor’s secret to health and longevity. Nori contains almost all the mineral elements that are used effectively in our body. Seaweed contains more vitamins than fruits and vegetables and is abundant in dietary fiber, important for digestive health. Seaweed also has a high protein and vitamin C content, while also being one of the best dietary sources of iodine (particularly beneficial for expecting/breastfeeding mums!) As if that wasn’t enough, seaweed is also one of the richest plant sources of calcium, and may help prevent infections and degenerative diseases. It adds a wonderful salty flavor to any dish. Keep a side of nori flakes on your table as a healthy replacement to salt.
Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are one of nature’s best sources of beta-carotene. Studies have shown the superior ability of sweet potatoes to raise blood levels of vitamin A, especially in children. The flesh of sweet potato has important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Particularly when passing through the digestive tract, sweet potatoes may be able to lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals. Sweet potatoes should be eaten steamed, boiled or baked, as this is when the nutritional benefits and absorption are highest. Limit servings of sweet potato to 1/2 cup (cooked), as any more than this contains high amounts of the Polyol mannitol, which can cause digestive distress in those with sensitive stomachs.
Winter yellow squash is an excellent source of immune-supportive vitamin A and free radical-scavenging vitamin C. It is also a very good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber (great for digestive health), vitamin B6, manganese, and copper as well as a good source of potassium, vitamin B2, folate, and vitamin K. Don’t go too nuts on squash though, as high intakes are associated with bloating in some. I would recommend steaming squash well to make it easier to digest.
Turnips are members of cruciferous family of vegetables (which includes broccoli and kale), and therefore provide a high amount of nutrients for a low amount of calories. They can be difficult to digest, so it’s important to cook them well. When roasted, turnips develop a gorgeous sweet, slightly nutty flavour, making them an excellent addition to any roast veg meal. Turnip greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, copper, manganese, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin E, and vitamin B6. They are also a very good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B2, iron, and phosphorus.
Zucchini (courgette) is one of the lowest calorie vegetables and its peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers. Zucchini pods are a very good source of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte that helps in the reduction of blood pressure and heart rate by countering pressure-effects of sodium. Zucchini’s skin is also a good source of vitamins A, B and C.
The avocado is unique in that while most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrate, avocado is high in monounsaturated (healthy) fats. Avocados are also a rich source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium (more so than bananas), B vitamins and vitamin E. Avocados contain magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, and phosphorous. Although the avocado contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb plant food. Avocados are also loaded with oleic acid, linked to reduced inflammation and cancer risk. Eating avocados can also lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Although those on a low-FODMAP diet should limit their intake of avocado to 1/8 (20g serve) per day, as excess of this contains high amounts of the Polyol – Sorbitol, I hesitate to advise IBS-sufferers completely omit avocados from their diet, due to the aforementioned health benefits. Also, for some lucky ones (such as myself), the high monosaturated fat content of avocados actually aids digestion and causes no flare-ups. Avocado oil is a low FODMAP friendly option that may be used as an alternative to olive oil at a 1:1 ratio. However, avoid cooking with avocado oil, as it is an unstable fat. Instead, use something like coconut oil for cooking.
Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world … and for good reason. The possible health benefits of consuming bananas include lowering the risks of cancer, asthma, blood pressure, improving heart health, and promoting regularity. Their high potassium content is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones. Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that plays a role in preserving memory and enhancing mood. Peel and freeze bananas if you see them becoming too ripe as frozen bananas are one of the most versatile ingredients in a vegan kitchen.
Berries are repeatedly ranked as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA. After many years of research on berry antioxidants and their potential benefits for the nervous system and for brain health, there is exciting new evidence that berries can also improve memory. Enjoy these low GI super fruits either raw or frozen to obtain maximal nutritional benefits. It is important to select organic berries, as they feature on the dirty dozen list as one of the fresh produce products that contains the highest level of pesticides.
*Capsicum (Bell Peppers)
The health benefits of capsicums far exceed that of many other fruits, as they contain substantially more anti-oxidants that derive from their rich colours. The red variety is really green capsicums that have been left to ripen on the vine. The stronger the color of the capsicum, the higher its concentration of anti-oxidants. A small capsicum can provide up to three times the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. Capsicums are also anti-bacterial, anti-aging, and can prevent blood clots, cancer, and reduce cholesterol. Limit servings to 1/2 cup as most individuals with IBS tolerate this. Those who react to capsaicin (a natural ingredient which gives capsicum its slightly spicy flavour and can trigger heartburn and abdominal pains) should peel and cook small servings of capsicum well to aid digestion.
Despite receiving little media attention, Cranberries are truly a super food. They are a rich source of the flavonoid quercetin, which can inhibit the development of both colon and breast cancers. This low calorie fruit contains one of the highest antioxidant contents of all foods and regular consumption has been shown to lower the risk of urinary tract infections, improve immune functioning, and decrease blood pressure. Drinking cranberry juice has also been linked to improved cardiovascular health.
Clementines are such an under-rated low FODMAP citrus fruit, mainly due to the fact they can be difficult to find here in Australia. These juicy delights are rich in variety of vital nutrients including minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorous. Consumption of citrus fruits such as clementines and oranges provides essential vitamins such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and folate to the body. Flavour wise, these pair very well with another low FODMAP fruit, cranberries, in a range of juices, smoothies, and sweet dishes.
Also known as Pitaya, these are perhaps one of the most exotic-looking fruits you can find! A bite of this wildly nutritious tropical superfood can deliver a plethora of benefits for the human body. Dragon fruits have a surprising number of phytonutrients. Rich in antioxidants, they contain vitamin C (equivalent to 10% of the daily value), polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, and several B vitamins for carbohydrate metabolism, as well as carotene and protein. The B1, B2, and B3 vitamin content of dragon fruit benefit everything from blood pressure, skin health, and cholesterol levels to thyroid function and carbohydrate metabolism. When choosing dragonfruit, employ a similar screening criteria to what you would when choosing an avocados. They should be slightly squishy but not too soft, indicating their ripeness.
Grapes, actually considered to be berries, were first cultivated over 8,000 years ago in what is now known as the Middle East. Seventy-two million tons of grapes are grown each year worldwide, with most of them being used to produce wine. The potential health benefits of consuming grapes are numerous, with studies associating them with prevention of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and constipation. Their higher glucose to fructose ratio makes them a FODMAP-friendly fruit option that satisfies even the most stubborn sweet tooth. Freeze seedless grapes as a healthy alternative to candy.
One of my favourite and most versatile fruits, Kiwifruit are packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange. The gorgeous, bright green flesh of the kiwifruit speckled with tiny black seeds adds a dramatic tropical flair to any dish, particularly a fresh fruit salad. Its green flesh is almost creamy in consistency with an invigorating taste reminiscent of melons and bananas, yet with its own unique sweet flavour. In the world of phytonutrient research, kiwifruit has reigned supreme for its ability to protect DNA in the nucleus of human cells from oxygen-related damage. The fiber in kiwifruit has also been shown to be useful for a number of conditions. It is also associated with removing harmful toxins from the colon, making kiwifruit a real winner in the digestive health steaks.
Lemons & Limes
Lemons & limes are often used to draw out the flavour of other foods. Compounds in citrus fruits called limonoids have been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. Lemons and limes also provide protection against inflammatory arthritis. A glass of lemon juice with warm water in the morning stimulates the digestive system and alkalises the body.
I love Mandarins due to their sweet (as opposed to acidic) nature, despite belonging to the citrus fruit family, along with its more bitter counterparts – oranges, limes and lemons. The health benefits of Mandarin Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, circulatory, cytophylactic, depurative, digestive, hepatic, nervous relaxant, sedative, stomachic and tonic substance. Mandarins can also be known as Mandarin oranges or Tangerines. The imperial variety is particularly delicious, and often has less seeds and is sweeter than other varieties.
The botanical family Cucurbitaceae, includes melons such as Rockmelon (or Cantaloupes), honeydew, and watermelon (the only high FODMAP melon). The health benefits of melon include Kidney disorders, high blood pressure, heat stroke, diabetes, heart care, macular degeneration, impotence, etc. They are incredibly light in texture, making them one of the friendliest (yet less filling) fruits for those who suffer digestive issues. They are also relatively low in fructose content (yay), and taste delicious when frozen. Keep all melons stored in the fridge and enjoy them soon after being opened, as they quickly lose their flavour and nutritional content when left out for prolonged periods.
Consuming vitamin C supplements does not provide the same protective benefits as drinking a glass of all natural orange juice. Studies show a diet high in citrus fruits has a significant protective effect against many types of cancer. Interestingly, a class of compounds found in citrus fruit peels has the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs … and without the side effects!
Papaya & Paw Paw
Deliciously sweet with a soft, butter-like consistency, it is no wonder the papaya was reputably called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus. The fruit, as well as the other parts of the papaya tree, contain papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins. Papain is extracted to make digestive enzyme dietary supplements and is also used as an ingredient in some chewing gums. Papayas are also a rich source of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium, copper, and magnesium; and fiber.
This low FODMAP fruit can be enjoyed by itself, or (my personal favourite), as a topping in a range of nana ice creams, sweets, smoothies, even salads, to add a delicious, tropical flavour and crunch due to its seeds. The fruit with pulp and seeds contains about 25 grams of fibre, important for maintaining digestive health. Don’t throw out the white pulp in your Passionfruit, as it is packed with vital nutrients. It is rich in the water soluble antioxidant, vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. This vitamin helps the body gain resistance against infectious agents and pro-inflammatory free radicals.
Not only is pineapple valued for its sweet and tangy taste, it has also been used for centuries to treat digestive problems and inflammation. Regular pineapple consumption has also been shown to decrease risk and progression of age-related macular degeneration. This super fruit may also prevent asthma attacks and its high potassium content is linked to lower blood pressure.
With its gorgeous exotic appearance and unique flavour, Star fruit (also known as Carambola) is one of the lowest calorie fruits. Don’t let that fool you though, the fruit, along with its waxy peel, provides a good amount of dietary fiber, very important in digestive health. Star fruit also contains good quantities of vitamin-C, which acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Because they’re known to be intolerant of cold and actually die in freezing weather, these fruits grow best in more moderate temperatures like the Australian weather. Enjoy Star Fruit in fresh fruit salads. To get the most from this fruit, keep it stored in the fridge and look for the more common yellow variety, as this is sweeter and (in my opinion) more delicious.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a carotenoid pigment with a high antioxidant content. Removal of lycopene-containing foods (such as tomatoes) from the diet is likely to put women at increased risk of osteoporosis. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, tomato extracts have demonstrated ability to prevent clumping of blood cells, lowering the risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis. Tomatoes may be enjoyed cooked or raw – different health benefits can be obtained by each method. Although some with digestive issues may find tomatoes difficult to digest due to their slight acidity, most are able to tolerate them well.
Amaranth was a key part of the diets of the pre-Columbian Aztecs, and was used both as a food and as part of their religious ceremonies. Like quinoa, amaranth is not technically a grain but is the seed of the amaranth plant. Amaranth is a gluten free complete protein, making it a key ingredient in a vegan, low-FODMAP diet that often lacks high quality protein sources. Finally, Amaranth contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Soak amaranth for at least 4 hours in filtered water prior to cooking to aid digestion. Note: you will need a very fine strainer to discard the soaking water, as the seed is very tiny.
A recent study has shown that black rice contains more health- promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than most fruits, but with less sugar and more fibre and vitamin E (also with a cheaper price tag!) These antioxidants can help fight cancer, heart disease and other diseases. While black rice is mainly used in Asian dishes as a gluten-free option for noodles, sushi and desserts, it can also be added to breakfast cereals, cakes and biscuits due to its sweet flavor and sticky texture. Soak black rice overnight, then drain and rinse prior to cooking to remove the hull and aid digestion. This will also speed up cooking time.
Rice tends to get a bad wrap, demonised as being a “grain”. However, brown rice is one of the easiest to digest foods, is rich in a number of healthy nutrients, and the water from brown rice has actually been used for centuries by the Japanese as a digestive aid (similar to bone broth for my Paleo friends). Health benefits of this grain include better functioning of cardiovascular, digestive, brain and nervous systems. It is loaded with powerful antioxidants which provide relief from a range of ailments such as hypertension, unhealthy levels of cholesterol, stress, mental depression and skin disorders. Brown rice has also been found to help maintain healthy bones and a stronger immune system.
Energizing and nutritious, buckwheat is available throughout the year and can be served as an alternative to rice or made into gluggy porridge. Although often considered a cereal grain, buckwheat is actually a fruit seed, making it a suitable substitute for people who are sensitive to wheat or gluten. Buckwheat is particularly good for maintaining heart health, controlling blood sugar levels, and contains plenty of phytonutrients and fibre to maintain bowel health. Soak buckwheat for less time (3-5 hours) than you would other grains, as it easily turns moldy. Some IBS sufferers find buckwheat more difficult to digest than other gluten-free grains so keep your serving sizes small.
Although millet is often the main ingredient in birdseed, it is not just “for the birds.” Creamy like mashed potatoes, millet is a delicious, easy to digest, gluten-free grain that can accompany many foods. It is a good source of very important nutrients, including copper, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. It has heart- protective properties, helps in the repair of body tissue, and may substantially reduce type 2 diabetes risk. It may also prevent against gallstones and its high fibre content has been associated with reduced risk of breast and colon cancer. Most low FODMAPPers find millet very easy to digest.
When purchasing oats, look for organic, wheat-free varieties, which can be found in the health food aisles of most major supermarkets or health food stores. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Various studies have proven the cholesterol-lowering effects of this particular fiber. Further, the antioxidant compounds unique to oats, called avenanthramides, help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Beta-glucan also significantly enhances the immune system’s response to bacterial infection. Ensure to soak your oats in filtered water for at least a few hours prior to consuming or cooking, to ensure maximum nutrient absorption and to aid digestion. Limit servings to 1/2 cup at a time, as it is not uncommon for those with IBS to experience bloating when consuming grains.
Polenta is usually made from yellow cornmeal, although white cornmeal can also be used. It originated in Northern Italy as a peasant food, but today is considered a delicacy and you can find it all over the world in health food stores and fancy pants restaurants. Freshly made polenta has the consistency of grits but can be made into cakes for grilling or frying. Because it is made from corn, polenta is also gluten-free. It is considered incredibly easy to digest, just be sure to purchase organic non-GMO polenta. Polenta contains traces of the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and zinc. Enjoy polenta as a side in place of bread or pasta. You can add nutritional yeast, pepper or coconut butter for added flavour and texture. Polenta can be found in several recipes including soups, desserts, breakfast entrees, casseroles and sauces. A super versatile grain to have on hand.
Quinoa (available in white, red and black varieties) dates back to four thousand years ago when the Incas first realized that the quinoa seed was fit for human consumption. Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa also contains iron (helping to keep red blood cells healthy) and Lysine, essential for tissue growth and repair. Quinoa is also rich in magnesium, helping to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Quinoa’s high Riboflavin (B2) content helps energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells. Finally, Quinoa contains manganese, an antioxidant that helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production. Soak quinoa for at least 6 hours prior to cooking to aid digestion and nutrient absorption. Quinoa can also be sprouted to create delicious gluten-free breads, crackers and raw treats.
Wild rice has a sticky, nuttier texture than traditional rice varieties and boasts a generous protein and iron content. Diabetics can also enjoy wild rice, since it is technically a grass and the grains are not polished or refined. It is also very high in antioxidants – containing almost 30 times that of white rice! Wild rice is also much lower in calories than most grains.
BEANS & LEGUMES
Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), are legumes prized for their high protein and fiber content. Compared to other legumes, chickpeas have been found to offer a source of fiber that is well tolerated by IBS patients, making them suitable (in small quantities – max 1/4 cup) for those following a low FODMAP diet. Besides being an excellent vegan and gluten-free source of protein and fiber, chickpeas also contain exceptional levels of iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium. Ensure to soak chickpeas at least overnight, then rinse and cook very well (they should almost form a paste) to ease digestion. While most FODMAP resources will say only 1/4 cup of canned beans are safe, I would suggest cooking dried beans very well as opposed to purchasing canned ones, as these are soaked in preservatives and packaged in aluminum cans, both of which have adverse health effects.
Low in calories and high in nutrition, lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol (and promote heart health) since they contain high levels of soluble fiber. Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health. The insoluble dietary fiber found in lentils also prevents constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. Lentils have been shown to help stabilize blood sugar levels (good for diabetics) and increase energy. As with chickpeas, limit the serving to 1/4 to 1/2 cup, presoak, and cook well. Split red lentils are usually much easier to digest than the common green or black varieties.
*Miso (fermented soy bean paste)
Miso is typically considered to be a high- sodium food. However, recent research has shown that miso does not appear to affect the cardiovascular system in the same way that other high-sodium foods can. Recent studies on miso intake among Japanese adults have also shown that miso- containing diets tend to lower risk of cardiovascular problems. In addition to conventional antioxidants like the minerals zinc and manganese, miso is now known to contain phytonutrient antioxidants. The microorganisms used in fermentation of soy miso can help metabolise proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and transform them into smaller molecules that may be more easily digested. For these reasons it is a good idea to include small amounts of miso paste at each main meal.
*Tempeh (Fermented Soy Bean) & Tofu
One of the most important things to remember about tempeh is its basic whole food nature. The vast majority of soy products consumed in the western world comes from a highly processed form of soy, which has usually been genetically engineered, cracked, dehulled, crushed, and subjected to solvent extraction to separate its oils from the rest of the bean. The excellent bioavailability of calcium from tempeh makes it a great vegan alternative to dairy. The fermentation process used in tempeh’s preparation increases the digestibility of soy (especially its proteins), nutrient absorption from soy (including absorption of phytonutrient isoflavones), and the concentration of bioactive peptides. I usually recommend tempeh over tofu, as the former is less processed. However, both are vegan, FODMAP-friendly sources of protein.
NUTS & SEEDS
Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and are associated with a number of health benefits. Almonds also contain high levels of healthy unsaturated fatty acids in addition to many bioactive molecules that can help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of several cancers, and prevent cardiovascular heart diseases. It is important to “activate”, that is, pre-soak hard nuts like almonds for at least 6 hours prior to consumption. You can them put them in the oven or dehydrator so they regain their crunchy texture. This will aid in the digestion and absorption of nutrients by eliminating the natural nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances found in nuts, grains and seeds. Limit almond intake to a maximum of 10 per day as anything in excess of this contains high levels of fructans. Slivered and blanched almonds may be easier to digest. Activated almond milk is generally well tolerated.
Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients. The Mayans prized chia seeds for their ability to provide sustainable energy. In fact “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength”. Chia seeds also contain high levels of antioxidants that protect the sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid. As they are one of the richest sources of fiber, chia seeds can absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water, forming a gel-like substance and expanding in your stomach. This both promotes satiety (aiding weight loss) and assists to maintain regularity and digestive health.
It is only recently that the coconut has become hailed as a super food in the western world. Previously feared for its high saturated fat content, it is now known that the medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) contained in coconuts is actually a “healthy” form saturated fat compared to trans fat. The body metabolises MCFAs in the liver, immediately converting it into energy (fuel for the brain and muscle function) rather than storing it as fat. Researchers have discovered that coconut oil is easy to digest and also protects the body from insulin resistance. The fatty acids in coconut contain anti-microbial properties, which have a soothing effect on bacteria, candida, or parasites that cause poor digestion. Coconut oil is also said to enhance immune functioning. The medium-chain saturated fatty acids in coconut oil gives it a higher smoking temperature than most polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil, which will oxidize at high temperatures. Thus, always cook with coconut oil and use olive, macadamia, flax, hemp or avocado oil in your raw food dressings.
Praised for burning body fat, being high in omega-3s and charged with fibre, flaxseeds can also boost the metabolism. The seeds from the flax plant can be used whole, ground into a meal, or used to create a vegetable oil known as flaxseed oil (or linseed oil). Flaxseed is one of the most concentrated plant sources of omega- 3 fats that can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Flaxseeds are also rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, dietary fibre, a group of phytoestrogens called lignans, protein and potassium. Because they are an unsaturated fat, unless they’re stored in a sealed container in a cool place, flaxseeds can go rancid quickly so keep them in the fridge. As with chia seeds, flaxseed meal can also be used as a binder or egg substitute in raw and baked goods for vegans or those with egg sensitivies.
Not to be confused with marijuana, TLC-free Hemp seeds are fit for human consumption and in fact are considered a super food, given that they are one of the most nutrient-dense forms of vegan protein. These tiny seeds, with their buttery, rich texture, are an easy to digest complete protein, and contain an excellent 3:1 balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which promote cardiovascular health. They are also high in gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential omega-6 fatty acid found in borage oil and egg yolks that has been proven to naturally balance hormones. Hemp seeds are high in vitamin E and, as there are no known allergies to hemp foods, they can be eaten by those unable to tolerate nuts, gluten, lactose or sugar. Blend hemp seeds with water to create a creamy milk that (like coconut milk) resembles full-fat cows milk.
Sweet, delicious, and buttery the macadamia nut is packed with notable health-benefiting nutrients. Botanically, macadamia belongs to the family of Proteaceae and is native to the northern rainforests of Australia. Macadamias are a rich source of energy and dietary fibre. Additionally, they are rich in phytosterols such as B-sitosterol. The nuts contain no cholesterol and their high mono-unsaturated fatty content has actually been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. They are also rich in many important B-complex vitamins that are vital for metabolic function. Due to their creamy, decadent texture, macadamias make an excellent low FODMAP alternative to cashews in many vegan recipes (especially raw desserts).
Despite receiving a bad wrap in the media, Peanuts are a healthy, low FODMAP high-protein option for vegans. They have a generous monounsaturated fat content, and feature an array of other nutrients that, in numerous studies, have been shown to promote heart health. Peanuts are good sources of vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese. Peanut butter is also an excellent, easy to digest, spread to have on hand that can add bulk, creaminess and vital calories to a range of snacks, smoothies, treats and even meals and sauces.
Similar to macadamias with their delicious, buttery yet rich-flavour, pecans are one of the popular edible tree-nuts known to American aborigines since centuries ago. Pecan nuts are a rich source of energy and contain health-promoting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid, pecans decrease total as well as LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood. Pecans are also high in protein and rich in Vitamin E, a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant that is required for maintaining the integrity of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
While you may not use pine nuts as regularly as other nuts and seeds in your pantry, they are a vital and delicious addition to a range of sauces, pestos, even as crunchy salad and soup toppings. Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines. About 20 species of pine produce seeds large enough to be worth harvesting. Pine nuts are small, easy to digest for a nut, and contain anti-aging antioxidants. They are also a good source of magnesium and boast a slightly sweet, subtle flavour.
*Sesame Seeds & Tahini (Sesame Paste)
Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, they are also rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. Sesame seeds also contain unique substances that have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect, to prevent high blood pressure, and to increase vitamin E supplies. As tahini is a concentrated form of sesame, limit your serving sizes to no more than 1 tablespoon, as anything in excess of this contains high levels of GOS.
Sunflower seeds and sunflower seed paste (a current obsession of mine) are a delicious way to up your daily intake of vitamin E, a family of fat-soluble nutrients (meaning adding some sunflower seeds to your salad or steamed veg is a great idea to increase nutrient absorption!). Vitamin E helps protect your cells against free radicals, chemicals that oxidize and damage your proteins, cell membranes and DNA. Sunflower seeds also offer health benefits due to their vitamin B-1, or thiamine, content, which activates enzymes within your cells. The options are endless with these incredibly versatile seeds – soak the seeds in water overnight, then blend into pureed soups to add nutrients and texture, or grind them to make your own sunflower seed butter, a low allergen alternative to peanut butter.
Walnuts are often referred to as the king of all nuts, as research shows they may boost health in a number of ways at very easy-to-achieve “doses” (just 7 per day). A one-quarter cup serving of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily-recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats, along with high amounts of copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin. Walnuts may also reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer, and contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with, or at risk of, developing heart disease. Walnuts (particularly their skin) also contain powerful antioxidants and may help prevent chemically-induced liver damage. They may also aid in weight control and improve metabolic functions in people with Type 2 diabetes. As walnuts are also one of the lower allergen nuts, they are suitable for those following a low FODMAP diet.