If you suffer from poor digestion, symptoms like gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation, or digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), eating a low FODMAP diet can be a lifesaver. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols, which are short-chain carbohydrates that your body can’t digest, which can irritate sensitive stomachs. Avoiding consuming these in your diet can provide major relief for people who suffer from IBS.
However, this diet can also be pretty restrictive, and it can be difficult to know which foods are and aren’t okay to eat. So if you stick to an all FODMAP diet but also have been a lover of the delicious, spicy dish that is curry, you may be wondering, “Is curry OK for IBS?” Is it low FODMAP? This article will answer your questions.
What is FODMAP?
Some common FODMAP foods include:
- Fructose, a simple sugar found in many fruits, vegetables, and added sugars
- Lactose, a carbohydrate found in dairy products
- Fructans, found in grains like wheat, spelt, rye, and barley
- Galactans, found in legumes.
- Polyols, which are sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol, often found in sweeteners
What is Curry?
Curry is a traditional Indian dish that typically uses a variety of spices and herbs, including but not limited to ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, fresh or dried chilies, and curry leaves. It is generally prepared as a sauce based on broth, coconut cream, or coconut milk, dairy cream or yogurt, legume puree, tomato purée, or sautéed crushed onion. It can be made with meat, fish, and/or shellfish, and include vegetables. Vegetarian and vegan preparations are also popular.
Is Curry Low FODMAP?
There are several ingredients commonly found in curry that are not low FODMAP, including garlic and onion (high in fructans), seasonings and spices containing garlic and onion powder, coconut milk, yogurt, and dairy cream (high in lactose), lentils and beans (high in galactans), and vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli (high in mannitols).
The good news is that none of these are absolutely crucial to a curry dish and curries can be modified to avoid these ingredients and be low FODMAP.
What Spices are Low FODMAP?
If you want to make a low FODMAP curry, you have two potential routes you can take. One is to make your own curry powder that does not include onion or garlic powder. Instead, you can combine spices like ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, mustard powder, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cardamom, and cayenne pepper to create a mix that will have a great curry flavor. Or, if you don’t want to go through the fuss of buying and mixing all of these spices, you can buy a pre-made low FODMAP curry powder like the Casa de Sante Thai curry powder.
Which Sauces are Low FODMAP?
An even easier way to make homemade curry is to use a premade curry sauce. Unfortunately, most curry sauces on the market aren’t going to be low FODMAP, as they’ll include ingredients like onions, garlic, legumes, and dairy. But there are available alternatives that have all of the flavor with none of the gut pain, like the Casa de Sante Indian curry sauce.
The bottom line is that if you go to a restaurant and order a curry, it’s pretty likely that it won’t be low FODMAP. But if you make your own at home being careful to use low FODMAP spice mixes and sauces, you’ll be able to enjoy this delicious dish without any tummy trouble.
Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD PhD