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Is Basil Low FODMAP?

Mar 22, 2022
Is Basil Low FODMAP?

Medically Reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD PhD, Dipl IBLM

Is basil low FODMAP?

If you're following a low FODMAP diet, you may be wondering if basil is low FODMAP. The answer is yes - basil is low FODMAP in small amounts. This comprehensive guide will discuss the low FODMAP serving size of basil and how it fits into a healthy diet. We'll also provide some delicious recipes that include basil so you can enjoy this fragrant herb while sticking to your low FODMAP diet!

Basil is one of the most popularly used herbs. Fresh basil leaves are used in cooking, while dried basil leaves are used to create various dishes. Basil is a member of the mint family and has a sweet, peppery taste. It's often used in Mediterranean and Thai cuisine.


Basil is a low FODMAP food with a wide variety of health benefits. It is a high fiber, low carbohydrate, and low-calorie herb. Basil is also low in saturated fat and sodium and high in vitamin A, calcium, folate, and vitamin K. It's a rich source of the B-vitamins riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine.

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. FODMAPs are found in many common foods, including fruits and vegetables, dairy, grains, and sweeteners. These are all types of carbohydrates that can be difficult to digest.

Along with being hard to digest, FODMAPs also draw more water into your intestines, which can cause bloating and other symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

FODMAP is an acronym created by researchers from Monash University to help people with IBS remember what these foods are:

F – Fermentable – meaning they are broken down (fermented) by bacteria in the large bowel

O – Oligosaccharides – "oligo" means "few," and "saccharide" means sugar. This group includes fructans and galactooligosaccharides (GOS). Fructans are found in wheat, onion, garlic, and other vegetables. GOS is found in legumes such as beans, lentils, and soybeans.

D – Disaccharides – "di" means two. Lactose is a disaccharide that is a FODMAP. Milk and dairy products contain lactose.

M – Monosaccharides – "mono" means one. Foods high in fructose (a monosaccharide) include honey, apples, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

P- Polyols- Polyols are sugar alcohols that you may find on food labels as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, or maltitol. When these compounds were first discovered, they were called polyhydric alcohols because they had more than one hydroxyl group (-OH) per molecule.

What is the safe low FODMAP serving size for basil?

Like other foods in the mint family, basil contains small amounts of FODMAPs, but they are not typically high enough to cause digestive distress. However, it is sometimes difficult to know how much basil is in a dish because fresh basil is used as a garnish rather than an ingredient.

According to the Monash app, 1 cup (16g) of fresh basil is the safe low FODMAP serving size per meal. 2 cups (160g) for Thai basil is the safe low FODMAP serving size. If using dried basil, you can use one-third of the quantity used for fresh herbs.

Hence, if you use one tablespoon of fresh basil, you can use one teaspoon of dried basil.

How can a low FODMAP diet help?

FODMAPs are a group of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that aren't absorbed properly in the gut. This means they can draw water into the bowel and ferment, triggering gut symptoms such as bloating, pain, and diarrhea. Foods high in FODMAPs include garlic, onions, wheat, and dairy products.

Researchers at Monash University were the first to discover that FODMAPs can trigger IBS symptoms in some people. As a result, many people with IBS find that following a low FODMAP diet can help reduce their symptoms.

A low FODMAP diet is split into three phases: restriction (avoiding high FODMAP foods), reintroduction, and personalization.

The restriction phase restricts all high FODMAP foods for up to eight weeks. The reintroduction phase is where you work with a dietitian to reintroduce individual FODMAP groups, one at a time, to identify your trigger foods. Finally, the personalization phase is where you use the information gained from reintroducing to create a personalized meal plan that includes your trigger foods in small amounts.

A low FODMAP diet is not meant to be permanent but rather a temporary measure to help determine which specific FODMAPs are causing the symptoms.

After following the low FODMAP diet for several weeks, foods containing those substances can then be reintroduced into the diet one by one. This will help determine which FODMAPs you tolerate and which ones cause your symptoms to return.

How Can You Incorporate Basil to Maintain a Low FODMAP Diet?
Basil is a wonderful herb to add to your diet. It's fresh and fragrant, and it adds a great flavor to many foods.

There are many ways to incorporate basil into your diet: as a condiment on top of your meals, in herbal tea, or in recipes.

As a condiment

Low FODMAP basil pesto can be used as a healthy alternative to other sauces, such as pizza sauce and pasta sauce.

In herbal tea

Basil leaves can be brewed for up to 15 minutes before steeping. It can be had hot or cold, depending on your preference. The flavor will also vary depending on how strong you make it.

If you're looking for recipes that include basil, we've got you covered. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Basil and Tomato Salad: This simple salad is perfect for a light lunch or side dish. It includes fresh basil, tomatoes, and a balsamic vinegar dressing such as Casa de Sante lemon and basil salad dressing.
  • Thai Basil Chicken: This flavorful chicken dish is made with ginger and fish sauce. It's perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
  • Caprese Salad: This classic Italian salad is made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. It's a simple but delicious dish that's perfect for summertime. Top with Casa de Sante lemon and basil salad dressing.

We hope this guide has helped you learn more about basil and how it can be enjoyed on a low FODMAP diet. If you're looking for more low FODMAP recipe ideas, check out our blog or sign up for our newsletter.

References:

1) https://badgut.org/information-centre/health-nutrition/plant-based-low-fodmap-diet/

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4918736/

3) https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/using-herbs-spices-low-fodmap-diet/

4) https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.637160/full

5) https://www.ndtv.com/food/heres-how-you-can-add-more-basil-in-your-diet-1959384


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