The Best IBS-Friendly Sources of Soluble Fiber

20 Foods That Keep Your IBS Symptoms at Bay

Eating lots of dietary fiber is good for your health. However, if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may find that eating fiber can make your symptoms worse. But, the problem may not be fiber itself but rather the type of fiber you eat.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), insoluble fiber can make IBS symptoms worse in some people. Insoluble fiber is the type that doesn't dissolve in fluid and forms the bulk of stool. Examples include wheat bran and whole grains.

By contrast, soluble fiber can be beneficial for people with IBS. In their recent guideline, the ACG concluded that soluble fiber may not only help reduce IBS symptoms but can also help lower cholesterol and blood sugar.

Another possible issue is that certain high-fiber foods are high in FODMAPs. FODMAPs—short for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols—are non-digestible carbohydrates that produce gas when they are fermented by bacteria in the colon. Eating high-FODMAP foods can lead to bloating and cramps in people with IBS.

This article lists some of the foods that are rich in soluble fiber yet low in FODMAPs. If you have IBS, eating these foods may help you avoid or reduce IBS symptoms.

1

Avocados

A knife sits next to organic avocado slices, bread, and a bowl of organic greens

Kirk Mastin / Getty Images

Avocados are a great source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and soluble fiber. They do contain some FODMAPs, but, if you limit the amount you eat, they usually do not cause a problem. For most people with IBS, eating one whole avocado is usually safe.

You add avocado slices to salads or use them as a spread on sandwiches. They can even be frozen in portion sizes to add to smoothies.

Interestingly, avocado oil made from avocados are FODMAP-free.

2

Blueberries

Part of wickerbasket with blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) on wooden table
Westend61 / Getty Images

Blueberries are on the list of fruits considered to be IBS-friendly. High in soluble fiber and low in FODMAPs, blueberries are one of the foods people will reach for to settle the stomach during an IBS attack.

Choose organic blueberries to reduce your risk of exposure to pesticides that can make your IBS symptoms worse.

Blueberries are best when eaten fresh but also can be also frozen and still retain their nutritional value.

3

Bananas

Fruit Stills: Banana
Floortje / Getty Images

There is so much to love about bananas. They are readily available, portable, high in soluble fiber, and low in FODMAPs when they are not too ripe. They make great in-between meal snacks and, like avocados, are perfect to add to smoothies.

However, be careful to choose bananas that are not too ripe or soft. As a banana ripens, it accumulates a type of FODMAP called oligofructan. Eating an overripe banana can make your IBS worse if you are sensitive to FODMAPs.

Recap

If you have IBS, avoid overripe or soft bananas. They contain higher amounts of a FODMAP called oligofructan that can cause IBS symptoms.

4

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

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Many people avoid Brussels sprouts out of fear they will make them gassy. And, while it is true that eating too many Brussel sprouts can cause gas, the vegetable is low enough in FODMAPs that you can usually eat a small portion without any problem.

Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber. A single serving packs enough vitamin C to meet your daily needs.

Many people find that eating a small portion of Brussel sprouts to begin with and gradually increasing the intake can reduce the risk of gas. Cooking Brussel sprouts also makes them easier to digest.

5

Carrots

Orange Carrots in a Basket

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Nutritionists recommend eating colorful fruits and vegetables and for good reason. They are high in plant-based compounds called phytonutrients that offer many health benefits. Carrots contain a type called carotenoids that are good for the eyes and are used by the body to make vitamin A.

Carrots are a no-FODMAP food that contains a healthy mix of soluble and insoluble fiber. Cooking them makes them more digestible than eating them raw.

6

Green Beans

sauteed green beans

Gumawang Jati / EyeEm / Getty Images

Green beans are an inexpensive, easy way to put soluble fiber into a meal. They are a great source of vitamin C and potassium and are rich in antioxidants that help prevent long-term damage to cells.

Green beans can be eaten raw but are easier to digest when steamed, stir-fried, or roasted in the oven.

Serving size is important when eating green beans. Green beans contain sorbitol, a type of FODMAP known as a polyol. Eating more than a 1/2-cup serving can trigger IBS symptoms in some people.

Recap

Green beans are an excellent part of an IBS-friendly diet, but it's important to limit your serving size to 1/2 cup as they contain a type of FODMAP called sorbitol.

7

Chickpeas

Chickpeas

Francesco Perre / EyeEm / Getty Images

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are packed with nutrients and soluble fiber and are a great source of protein as well. Although most legumes are high in FODMAPs, chickpeas can be enjoyed on a low-FODMAP diet if they are canned, well-rinsed, and limited to a small portion.

Chickpeas are also a good source of vitamin B6 and folate, providing around 14% of your daily needs for each one-cup serving.

Chickpeas can be sprinkled on salads, blended into hummus, or roasted in olive oil for a tasty snack.

8

Eggplant

Eggplant, whole and halved
Joan Ransley / Getty Images

Eggplants are low in FODMAPs and an ideal choice for any IBS-friendly diet. Eggplants are also low in calories and a good source of manganese, folate, and potassium.

Eggplants contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. You can reduce some of the insoluble fiber by peeling the skin. Roasting eggplant in olive oil makes it both tasty and easy to digest. You can even puree it into baba ganoush.

Avoid breading or deep-frying eggplant, which is all but certain to trigger IBS symptoms.

9

Oatmeal

bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and almonds

ArxOnt / Moment Open / Getty Images

Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber. It is also relatively low in FODMAPs when eaten in moderation. Because oatmeal contains fructan, a type of oligosaccharide, you should limit yourself to a one-cup serving if you are FODMAP-sensitive.

A nice thing about oatmeal is that it can be prepared ahead for a quick and easy meal when you are on the go. On a bad IBS day, oatmeal can even work for dinner.

Recap

Most people with IBS can eat oatmeal with no problem. But, those who are sensitive to FODMAPs should limit themselves to a one-cup portion.

10

Kiwi

Kiwis (Actinidia deliciosa) and pocketknife on wooden table

Westend61 / Getty Images

Kiwis are no longer the exotic fruit they once were and now are today found on most grocery store shelves. They are sweet but not too sweet and offer many health benefits. Not only are kiwis high in vitamin C, but they are also rich in nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, and potassium.

Kiwis contain an equal mix of soluble and insoluble fiber. And, unlike apples, cherries, pears, and watermelon, are considered a low-FODMAP food.

11

Lentils

Yellow lentils

Silvia Elena Castañeda Puchetta / EyeEm / Getty Images

Like chickpeas, lentils are a legume that can be enjoyed on a low-FODMAP diet within limits. Opt for canned lentils, well rinsed, and limit yourself to a 1/2-cup portion. This will provide you with the soluble fiber and protein you need without having to worry about an IBS attack. You can enjoy them as a side dish or add them to soups.

Canned lentils are lower in FODMAPs than dried lentils that you have to reconstitute and cook.

12

Oranges

oranges

Maximilian Stock Ltd. / Getty Images

Like bananas, oranges are readily available, extremely portable, and low in FODMAPs. They are also an excellent source of soluble fiber and one of the best all-around sources of vitamin C.

To reap the benefits of fiber, eat the whole fruit rather than drinking strained juice. Orange juice also increases the amount of FODMAPs per serving and can trigger IBS symptoms in sensitive people. Most experts recommend limiting yourself to one whole orange rather than drinking juice.

Recap

Oranges are suitable for an IBS-friendly diet if eaten whole. Orange juice contains a higher concentration of FODMAPs and may trigger IBS symptoms in some people.

13

Potatoes

Raw Russet Baking Potatoes Root Vegetables
Liza McCorkle / Getty Images

Potatoes are nutritious, delicious, and a perfect part of a low-FODMAP diet as they contain no FODMAPs. This not only includes baking potatoes but red-skinned, yellow-skinned, and purple potatoes as well. Potatoes are also an excellent source of protein, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, and magnesium.

Potatoes are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber. To reduce your intake of insoluble fiber, peel and discard the skin.

14

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Laurence Mouton / Getty Images

Sweet potatoes are another great way to satisfy your sweet tooth while enjoying the benefits of soluble fiber and nutrients like vitamin B6 and potassium.

Unlike potatoes, however, sweet potatoes contain a type of sugar known as mannitol. Mannitol is an oligosaccharide similar to sorbitol that can cause IBS if eaten in excess. To be safe, limit yourself to a 1/2-cup serving if you are on a low-FODMAP diet.

Recap

Unlike potatoes, sweet potatoes contain a FODMAP called mannitol that may trigger IBS symptoms if eaten in excess. To avoid this, limit yourself to a 1/2-cup portion.

15

Raspberries

fresh raspberries
lacaosa / Getty Images

Raspberries are a great source of soluble fiber and vitamin C. They contain a bit more fructan than blueberries; even so, are generally well tolerated if you have IBS. If you are sensitive to FODMAPs, limit your intake to 1/4 cup.

You can enjoy raspberries as a snack, sprinkle them on your oatmeal, or add them to smoothies.

Like blueberries, conventionally grown raspberries can contain notable levels of pesticides. Therefore, look for organically grown berries. As with blueberries, frozen organic raspberries can be found in most supermarkets.

16

Okra

okra

Charles Imstepf / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Okra is a great source of soluble fiber and a host of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and calcium. As with green beans and Brussel sprouts, okra needs to be consumed in moderation to avoid IBS symptoms.

Okra is relatively high in fructans and may cause IBS symptoms if you eat more than 1/2 cup. Well-cooked okra is far more digestible.

Recap

Okra contains fructan, a type of FODMAP. Limit yourself to a 1/2-cup serving if you are sensitive to FODMAPs.

17

Strawberries

bowl of strawberries

Deborah Pendell / Moment / Getty Images

Like blueberries and raspberries, strawberries are relatively low in FODMAPs and are an excellent part of an IBS-friendly diet. But, as with raspberries, you need to avoid eating too many as this can expose you to high amounts of fructan. Most people with IBS can safely consume 1/2 cup of fresh sliced strawberries.

As with other berries, pesticides are a common concern with strawberries. Buy organic whenever possible.

Strawberries can be enjoyed in salads, on ice cream, or on their own for dessert. Frozen organic strawberries are excellent in smoothies.

18

Peanuts

bowl of peanuts

Adam Gault / OJO Images / Getty Images

Looking for something to satisfy those late-night munchies? Look no further than peanuts. Portable and delicious, peanuts are packed with nutrients like folate and contain a healthy blend of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Peanuts are also great in an IBS-friendly diet as they have lower amounts of FODMAPs than tree nuts like cashews and pistachios. With that said, you should limit yourself to a 1/8-cup serving; anything more exposes you to higher amounts of fructan.

Peanut butter is also a great option as long as you buy types that don't contain added sugar. Read labels carefully.

Recap

Peanuts are lower in FODMAPs than cashew and pistachios. Even so, you should limit yourself to no more than a 1/8-cup portion if you are FODMAP-sensitive.

19

Sunflower Seeds

High Angle View Of Sunflower Seeds In Bowl On Table
Luis Benitez / EyeEm / Getty Images

Like peanuts, sunflower seeds make a great portable snack. They are packed with soluble fiber, protein, iron, and vitamin B6 as well as a full daily requirement of magnesium per one-cup serving.

With that said, most experts recommend that you limit your intake to around three tablespoons if you have IBS. Sunflowers, like peanuts, contain fructan that can cause an IBS attack in some people.

In addition to snacks, you can also sprinkle sunflower seeds on cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes, or salads for a nice, nutty crunch.

20

Summer Squash and Zucchini

Zucchini and Other Summer Squash

Image Source / Getty Images

Summer squash is an excellent source of soluble fiber and is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. It is also low in FODMAPs and can be mixed with no-FODMAP food like carrots and potatoes to make a satisfying creamed soup or a platter or healthy roasted vegetables.

Zucchini is also a nice addition to an IBS-friendly diet but contains a bit more fructan than its yellow-skinned cousin. To avoid IBS symptoms, limit your intake to around 1/2 cup.

Summary

People with IBS are often sensitive to foods that are high in insoluble fiber. Other common triggers include high-fiber foods known as FODMAPs that ferment in the gut and cause bloating and cramps.

To avoid IBS symptoms, choose food that are high in soluble fiber and low in FODMAPs such as fructan, sorbitol, and mannitol. This includes potatoes and carrots that contain no FODMAPs.

It is also important to note that certain IBS-friendly foods, like green beans and sweet potatoes, can cause symptoms if eaten in excess. This also includes overripe bananas that can cause IBS symptoms where less ripe bananas don't.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between soluble fiber and insoluble fiber?

    Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gel-like substance that makes stools softer. It also slows the digestion of fat and carbohydrates and can help lower cholesterol. Insoluble fiber absorbs fluids instead of dissolving in them and makes stools bulkier.

  • How much fiber should you eat if you have IBS?

    Ideally, you should eat between 20 and 35 milligrams (mg) of fiber per day. If you're not getting enough, try eating foods rich in soluble fiber. But, be careful not to increase your fiber too quickly as this can make your IBS symptoms worse.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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