Nuts can be a delicious, salty and crunchy snack in a healthy lifestyle.  They are versatile, portable, and full of healthy nutrients. Not only do they contain protein, but also provide plant-based fiber and nutrients like vitamin E, plant sterols, and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient profile has been found to be helpful to lowering risk of heart health conditions such as lowering LDL cholesterol and improving artery health. However, not all nuts are fair game for those on the low FODMAP diet regimen. Therefore, read below for some tips on how you can enjoy nuts in your diet without any digestive distress.

Nuts to avoid

Cashews and pistachios are two types of nuts that should be avoided on a low FODMAP regimen. These types of nuts contain oligosaccharides, which include the compounds known as fructans as well as galacto-oligosaccharides. According to Monash University, these compounds are poorly absorbed, especially by those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and can trigger IBS symptoms. Humans cannot naturally absorb fructans because we don’t have the enzymes to break them down into simple sugars. Therefore, fructans travel through the gut undigested and can lead to gas in healthy individuals. However, in those with IBS, since the gut is extra sensitive, these same fructans can cause other symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and motility issues.  

However, Monash University reports that 10 activated cashew pieces is considered low FODMAP. This type of cashew is prepared by soaking them in water and salt for a period of time to start the sprouting process, then the nuts are dehydrated at a low temperature. This process claims to help this type of cashews become more easily digestible. This process does not make pistachios low FODMAP friendly in any serving size however, so stay clear of pistachios to stay low FODMAP safe.

Low FODMAP nuts

Although some nuts are off limits, there are still many you can enjoy. The following is a list of low FODMAP nuts and their Monash-certified low FODMAP serving size.

  • Almonds: 10 nuts
  • Chestnuts: 20 boiled nuts; 10 roasted nuts
  • Hazelnuts: 10 nuts
  • Macadamia nuts: 20 nuts
  • Mixed nuts: 18 assorted nuts
  • Brazil nuts: 10 nuts
  • Peanuts: 32 nuts
  • Pecans: 10 pecan halves
  • Pine nuts: 1 tablespoon
  • Walnuts: 10 nut halves

Nuts can be enjoyed as snacks on their own or as part of a granola or trail mix, sprinkled on salads, or used to create sauces and spreads for your meals.  As far as nut butters go, stick to no more than 1 tablespoon of almond butter or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. And when you purchase such nut butter products, be sure that they do not contain any high FODMAP sweetener ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, agave syrup, golden syrup, apple syrup, sorghum syrup, molasses, honey, or sugar alcohols. Also, be cautious of certain flavored nut butters that may contain high FODMAP ingredients such as cow’s milk, or chocolates made from cow’s milk.

Take home message

Nuts can be a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats for any healthy lifestyle. However, just like with any other foods, if you are following a low FODMAP regimen, you have to be extra careful of what you eat and how much.  As long as you watch out what nuts you eat and how much of each nut you eat, then you should be able to stay safe and healthy while you enjoy this delicious and healthy snack. For more information on what foods are permitted on the low FODMAP diet as well as low FODMAP recipes, visit the Casa de Sante website.

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