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Are Fava Beans Low FODMAP?

Are you among those who have problems with their digestive tract like Functional Abdominal Pain (FAP) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? If yes, you should probably get on the low FODMAP diet if you are not already! 

Both FAP and IBS are conditions that cause extreme discomfort and pain in your stomach. The exact cause of this could range from stress due to external factors or having highly sensitive intestines. 

If you are experiencing stomach pains accompanied by constipation or diarrhea, then you are likely suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and should get on the low FODMAP diet as soon as possible! 

There are several low FODMAP foods out there, but are fava beans among them? Before getting into that, let’s first look into what is low FODMAP diet. 

 

What is the Low FODMAP Diet? 

The low FODMAP diet essentially aims to exterminate those foods from the diet causing or worsening digestive problems like FAP and IBS. 

FODMAP is the acronym for the kinds of foods that cause the stomach to bloat; fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. 

 What are Fava Beans? 

Fava beans (also known as ‘horse beans’ or ‘broad beans’) are edible plants used mainly in Asian, Middle Eastern, European, South American, and African cuisines. 

They are high in protein, vitamin B, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous. 

Can You Eat Fava Beans on a Low FODMAP Diet? 

Remember the “O” in FODMAP? Well, fava beans are high in oligosaccharides, which are essentially carbohydrate sugars. Hence, fava beans are high FODMAP. 

This information is corroborated by Fodmapedia, which rated fava beans to have high FODMAP levels by drawing conclusions from highly reliable sources like Monash University. 

So, what are the downsides of including fava beans in your diet? 

Other than the obvious discomfort of bloating and flatulence caused by high FODMAP foods, other risks of incorporating fava beans (a.k.a. broad beans) into your regular diet include hemolytic anemia. Hemolytic anemia is the condition where the red blood cells (RBCs) in a person suddenly start to break down and deprive oxygen to various organs in your body. 

Hemolytic anemia is a rare occurrence and is caused due to low levels of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) enzyme in the body. This is known as favism. 

So, if you have a G6PD disorder, steer clear of fava beans at all costs, as they are a trigger! 

 Can You Eat Fava Beans in Low Quantity? 

When it comes to beans, you should completely avoid them if you are on a low FODMAP diet. 

However, other beans like butter beans and lima beans can be ingested in minimal quantities after they are boiled or if they are canned foods because the oligosaccharides would have leached out into the water. Nevertheless, ensure to rinse the beans before you consume them. 

 Conclusion 

In a nutshell, avoid fava beans in a low FODMAP diet. There are several alternative ways to get the same nourishment as fava beans. For example, several animal proteins are low in FODMAP. If you are vegetarian or vegan, check out Casa de Sante’s low FODMAP protein powders.

Medically reviewed by Onyx Adegbola MD PhD.


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