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Do you know what are fructans? Fructans are found in abundance throughout the food supply both in natural food sources and in processed foods. Understanding what fructans are and how they fit into your diet can be tricky. So, here's what we are going to discuss about fructans intolerance.
Fructans are found in plenty in food grains and wheat products. It's also present in many types of fruit, vegetables and beverages that you might be consuming daily.
Though it might not be a problem in having foods which contain fructans, but it's known to wreak havoc on the digestive health of many. Research has found that fructans may be a hidden culprit of certain food intolerances and persistent gastrointestinal troubles.
So, what are fructans? They are a type of carbohydrate made by a chain of fructose molecules strung together. They are found in onions, garlic and ripe bananas as well as several different kinds of cereals and grains. Fructans can't be effectively digested in the small intestine like other nutrients. Instead, they are fermented by the beneficial gut bacteria.
Fibre is known to have innumerable health benefits that help promote regularity and prevent constipation, aid in weight loss, reduce inflammation, prevent coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and even some gastrointestinal disorders.
However, despite the impressive array of benefits of fibre, certain types of fibre like fructans may have an adverse effect on your health. They can trigger some serious gastrointestinal issues. Diarrhoea, bloating, pain and constipation can be common symptoms of a fructan intolerance.
Fructan Versus Fructose
Most people who avoid gluten are sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat-based foods like bread, cereal and pasta. 12 percent of people reported digestive symptoms after eating gluten-containing foods despite not having a coeliac disease or wheat allergy.
But, a new research suggests that it's not only gluten that can cause these issues but it's a FODMAP called fructan.
On the other hand, fructose is a basic component in refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, which is used to sweeten many processed foods and beverages. When your digestive system is unable to absorb fructose properly, it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea and gas. This means that you are fructose intolerant.
The foods that are high in fructose include soda, candies, sweetened yogurt, salad dressing, frozen junk foods, breads, canned fruit, juices, etc.
The Signs Of Fructan Intolerance
The fructan and fructose intolerance are relatively common, but they can be difficult to recognise and manage. The symptoms of fructan intolerance are gas, stomach pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, cramps and nausea.
If you have these symptoms, reduce the intake of fructans in your diet.
As fructans are often found in nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It becomes impossible to avoid eliminating the entire food group altogether. So, here are some high-fructan foods to avoid.
The High-fructan Foods To Avoid Are:
- Breads and grains including barley, rye, and wheat.
- Vegetables like artichokes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, fennel, leeks, onions, peas and shallots.
- Fruits such as grapefruit, nectarines, ripe bananas, watermelon and white peaches.
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews and pistachios.
- Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, soybeans and beans.
- Other food products like instant coffee, chicory coffee, chamomile tea and fibre-enriched foods or foods containing insulin.
However, there are plenty of other options that you can still enjoy in a low fructan diet plan.
The Nutrient-rich Food Options Are:
- Meat, poultry or seafood which include beef, canned tuna fish, chicken, turkey and lamb.
- Breads and grains like arrowroot, buckwheat, oats, millets, quinoa, rice and sorghum.
- Vegetables such as avocados, bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, celery, cucumber, lettuce, eggplant, olives, potatoes, pumpkins, mushrooms, Swiss Chard, spinach, sweet potatoes, watercress, zucchini and yams.
- Fruits like blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, lemon, kiwi, guava, Mandarin oranges, lime, oranges, passion fruit, papaya, raspberries, strawberries and tamarind fruit.
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, macadamia nuts, and peanuts.
- Legumes like chickpeas, beans, tempeh and lentils.
- Other food options like regular tea and regular coffee.
To help minimize your symptoms, here are a few switches that you could do in your diet:
- For breakfast, instead of bread toast opt for oats.
- Instead of chamomile tea, enjoy a soothing cup of black or green tea.
- Use arrowroot flour instead of white flour to thicken soups and stews.
- Instead of garlic and onions, try seasoning your foods with scallions, healthy herbs and spices like cumin, paprika, basil or rosemary.