Ignite Nutrition
Ignite Nutrition
Search Ignite Nutrition Icon

Best Drinks to Help with IBS Symptoms

Feature, Gut Health & IBS, Low FODMAP & Gut Health Recipes | September 19, 2022

A young girl feeding her father a nutritious homemade sandwich.
Best Drinks to Help with IBS Symptoms Featured Image

We spend a lot of time learning which foods are suitable for a low FODMAP diet and which aren’t, but food is only half the story– the drinks we consume can affect our IBS symptoms just as much. Breaking down which drinks will help, and which may be worsening symptoms isn’t as tricky as it sounds! As gut health dietitians, we get asked a TON of questions about the best drinks for IBS. From coffee to smoothies to alcohol, let’s understand more about what we drink in a day.

Do drinks matter on a low FODMAP diet?

Yes! There are many different options for low FODMAP drinks that both keep you hydrated and help manage your IBS. Even better, there are many drinks for IBS you can choose that can improve your symptoms as well.

Be mindful that what is in your cup may be worsening your symptoms. Some of your favorite drinks may be high FODMAP and others might upset the gut for other reasons altogether. By learning the ins and outs of beverages for IBS, you can improve your hydration and your symptom control.

Table of Contents

  1. Is water best for IBS?
  2. Coffee and tea for IBS
  3. Is soda low FODMAP?
  4. Fermented drinks for IBS – Kombucha and kefir
  5. Alcohol and IBS
  6. Common high FODMAP beverages to avoid
  7. Are smoothies fine for IBS?
  8. Low FODMAP green smoothie recipe
tea being poured from a white teapot into a white teacup sitting on a patterned saucer and a bamboo placemat underneath it. A text box reads "best drinks to help with IBS symptoms"

Should I just stick to water with IBS?

We do love water (and think you should drink it often!), but not all drinks have to be plain H2O! Especially for IBS-D, adding electrolytes into your hydration routine may help replace some of the fluid losses you experience from loose or liquid bowel movements. With proper hydration and electrolyte balance, you can improve your symptoms and energy levels throughout the day.

For example, Gatorade, Powerade Zero, Nuun tablets and Vega Sport Hydrator are low FODMAP. Always remember to double check for high FODMAP ingredients like sorbitol and mannitol in different varieties.

Are coffee and tea low FODMAP?

Yes – Coffee and certain types of tea are low FODMAP but there’s more to it than that!

Tea and IBS

In fact, certain types of tea can be beneficial for digestion and symptom management.

Ginger tea can help with stomach pain and nausea1, and peppermint tea can help combat abdominal pain and bloating. Studies show that peppermint acts as an antispasmodic which people have found incredibly helpful for managing IBS symptoms.2

White, green, black, and rooibos teas are great options as well, as they are low FODMAP varieties.

Be careful with the high FODMAP teas like chai, dandelion, chamomile, fennel, oolong, and carob tea. Studies have shown these varieties are not suitable for the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet.

Coffee and IBS

Coffee is low FODMAP, however be careful with add-ins like milk and sugar. White and brown sugar is okay, however other sweetening agents such as honey, coconut sugar, and agave should be avoided on a low FODMAP diet. Instead of regular milk or cream in your coffee, try non-dairy options like almond, rice, or lactose-free milk.

It’s not all about FODMAPs. Be mindful of your caffeine intake in general, as caffeine can be a trigger for people with IBS-D in particular. That being said, caffeine can be helpful for people with IBS-C in many cases. Each person is different so be aware of how caffeine affects your symptoms.

Is soda low FODMAP?

Regular soda is a high FODMAP beverage, as it is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and fructose is a type of FODMAP. Diet soda, however, is low FODMAP and okay to consume. Diet varieties of soda are generally sweetened with alternative sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose. These are low FODMAP sweeteners. 

A note on carbonation – even diet soda contains carbonation, which is a non-FODMAP trigger for some people with IBS. Monitor your symptoms if you do decide to drink carbonated drinks. Take note of whether these beverages increase bloating or abdominal discomfort.

Is kombucha low FODMAP?

Fermented foods are popular for their gut health benefits, but not all fermented foods contain probiotics

Both kombucha and kefir are popular fermented drinks. As far as FODMAPs go, these drinks are suitable options in moderation.

Kombucha is a low FODMAP beverage as long as the portion is less than ¾ cup (175 ml). Enjoying a small cup of this fermented tea beverage is completely reasonable. Additionally, some varieties of kombucha contain ginger or peppermint which may additionally help settle your gut. Like with soda, be mindful of highly carbonated kombucha beverages. Carbonation is a non-FODMAP trigger for some individuals, so pay attention to any increases in bloating, gas, or pain.

Is kefir low FODMAP?

Kefir is a type of fermented milk, but this dairy product passes the FODMAP test! In the fermentation process, the bacteria and yeast cultures consume the lactose, meaning by the time it hits your cup, the lactose is broken down. Look for kefir products that will be labeled “lactose-free” and are safe to consume on a low FODMAP diet in moderation. With kefir, portion size is important–  1 tablespoon is low FODMAP and 3 tablespoons is moderate FODMAP.  

Let’s Talk About Alcohol and IBS.

Many types of alcohol are low FODMAP. These include gin, whiskey, wine, and beer. Aside from FODMAPs, alcohol is proven to be a non-FODMAP trigger and can cause both diarrhea and constipation, depending on the person.3 Therefore, limiting alcoholic beverages to 1 per day or avoiding it altogether is best. Note – this doesn’t simply mean 7 drinks per week whenever you choose! More than one drink per day is not recommended, so a maximum of seven per week is fine, pending you don’t exceed one drink per day.

It is best to avoid rum and fruit flavored beer and wine – such as peach wine or mango-infused beer for example. When consuming low FODMAP alcohols, be mindful about what else is in your cup! Opt for diet soda rather than regular soda if mixing a drink and avoid juices.

Which common beverages are high FODMAP?

In addition to regular soda and the teas discussed above (chai, dandelion, chamomile, fennel, oolong, carob), there are other common drinks that are high FODMAP. These could be contributing to increased symptoms if you consume them regularly. High FODMAP beverages include:

  • Fruit juices
    • Orange juice (more than ¾ cup)
    • Apple juice (any amount)
  • Cows milk (more than ¼ cup) *If you choose lactose-free, this is low FODMAP!
  • Coconut Water/Canned Coconut Milk (more than ½ cup)
  • Oat milk (more than ½ cup)

Remember that drinks can often be made of whole-food ingredients such as fruits that aren’t always low FODMAP. A perfect example is vegetable cocktail drinks such as V8 or Mott’s Garden Cocktail – these sometimes contain moderate or high FODMAP fruits and veggies such as celery, beets, or onion. Read the ingredient list of packaged drink products looking out for high FODMAP ingredients that may be contributing to your symptoms!

Low FODMAP Smoothies

Smoothies are a wonderful way to get a wide variety of nutrients and can be a great option for a low FODMAP diet, however not all smoothies are suitable! Be careful with the ingredients you choose so your breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up doesn’t end up bringing you down. Many common smoothie ingredients like mango, peach, overripe bananas, or blackberries are high FODMAP fruits and should be avoided. 

Throwing your favorite low FODMAP fruits and vegetables in a blender with a lactose-free or non-dairy milk option is a fantastic way to increase your fiber intake and enjoy a quick, easy snack! Try adding some protein with a low FODMAP protein powder, some hemp seeds, peanut butter, or lactose-free greek yogurt.

In Summary

A low FODMAP diet includes many beverages that not only don’t bother your gut, but can help improve your symptoms! From enjoying your morning coffee, having a smoothie for a snack (check the recipe below), to a bedtime cup of peppermint tea, there are lots of ways to fill your cup without compromising your gut. The best drinks for IBS will vary from person to person, but there’s more options than just water!

If you need help navigating the low FODMAP diet and managing your IBS symptoms, we recommend working with a Registered Dietitian for more comprehensive care.

green smoothie in a textured glass sitting on a grey marble counter in front of a white tiled wall. There is a metal straw and a leaf garnish on top of the smoothie
Print Recipe
No ratings yet

Green Low FODMAP Smoothie (high fiber)

Looking for the perfect low FODMAP smoothie? This green smoothie is low FODMAP, refreshing, and contains lots of fiber from the variety of fruit and veggies. Serve it as breakfast or whip it up for a quick afternoon snack – you'll love it either way!
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast, Drinks, Smoothie, Snack
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean, Vegetarian
Keyword: beverage, energy, fibre, low fodmap
Servings: 1 smoothie
Author: Katie Cybulskie

Ingredients

  • ½ cup frozen pineapple
  • cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ¾ cup low FODMAP milk (lactose-free milk or a dairy free option)

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a large glass and enjoy!
tea being poured from a white teapot into a white teacup sitting on a patterned saucer and a bamboo placemat underneath it. A text box reads "best drinks to help with IBS symptoms"
Katie Cybulskie
About the Author

Katie Cybulskie

Katie Cybulskie is a skilled dietitian who has been practicing since 2007 and has a wide variety of nutrition knowledge. She is licensed in both BC and Alberta and sees patients virtually. With lived experience of a digestive disorder, she is fantastic with patients who have IBS, celiac disease, GERD, and other gastrointestinal concerns. Her ability to translate nutrition science in a simple and approachable way is what makes her so good at what she does.

More from Katie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




References

  1. Zhang, C., Huang, Y., Li, P. et al. Ginger relieves intestinal hypersensitivity of diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome by inhibiting proinflammatory reaction. BMC Complement Med Ther 20, 279 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-020-03059-3

  2. Khanna, R., MacDonald, J. K., & Levesque, B. G. (2014). Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 48(6), 505–512. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0b013e3182a88357

  3. Reding, K. W., Cain, K. C., Jarrett, M. E., Eugenio, M. D., & Heitkemper, M. M. (2013). Relationship between patterns of alcohol consumption and gastrointestinal symptoms among patients with irritable bowel syndrome. The American journal of gastroenterology, 108(2), 270–276. https://doi.org/10.1038/ajg.2012.414