Can you eat kale when you have IBS?

In this article we are going to answer can you eat kale when you have IBS, what is kale, what is IBS, is it healthy to eat kale when you have IBS, what food you should avoid if you have IBS, what diet you should follow if you have IBS. 

Can you eat kale when you have IBS?

No, you can eat kale if you have IBS, only in small amounts. Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS requires you to eat a low-fiber diet to ease symptoms. Even if kale is a very healthy vegetable, you should eliminate it from your diet. Some people with IBS might tolerate a little bit of fiber but usually, kale is not well tolerated. 

What is kale?

Kale or also known as leaf cabbage and is part of a group of cabbage. Kale plants have green or purple leaves and do not have a central head like other cabbage. Kale grows annually from seeds with a range of germination temperatures. It can survive as low as -15 C. 

There are several kale varieties depending on the leaf types. They might range in color from light green to dark green, violet-green, or violet-brown. 

  • Curly leaf
  • Bumpy-leaf is also known as Tuscan Cabbage
  • Plain-leaf
  • Leaf and spear or feathery type leaf
  • Ornamental, many varieties are not as palatable. They can be white, red-pink, lavender-blue, or violet. 
  • Chinese kale

Kale grows perfectly in the winter. There is a variety of kale called hungry gap that grows after the winter period. Another variety is called Jersey kale or cow cabbage. 

What is IBS?

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is known as a group of symptoms that occur together. Symptoms include pain in your abdomen and diarrhea mixed with constipation. There is no known cause for IBS. 

Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and family history together with a physical exam. Treatment is based on changes in your diet, medicines, probiotics, and mental health therapies. 

Diet and nutrition are one of the most important changes you can make to feel better with IBS. Some changes include more or less fiber, avoiding gluten, or following a special diet called FODMAP. 

What is the FODMAP diet?

FODMAP diet stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. All of these are short-chain carbohydrates that the small intestine does not digest very well. 

By reducing FODMAP you can decrease symptoms of IBS like cramping, diarrhea, constipation, stomach bloating, gas, and flatulence. 

The FODMAP diet works by eliminating all high foods high in FODMAPs, then slowly reintroducing them to see which ones cause you trouble, and then eliminating food that causes you symptoms. 

Is it healthy to eat kale when you have IBS?

Kale is a very healthy vegetable to eat but it has a high content of fructans and galactans which are very hard to digest or even indigestible. 

Kale has been tested by Monash University and according to them, you can eat 30 grams of ½ cup chopped kale when on a FODMAP diet. They tested curly and lacinato kale. 

Lacinato Kale 

Is also known as Dinosaur Kale, Tuscan Kale, Cavalo Nero, or Black Nero. It is dark green. 

Curly Kale

Has ruffly leaves and is tougher than Lacinato.

Both are safe to eat if you have IBS. Remember, you should not eat more than 30 grams of ½ chopped kale. If a recipe calls for just ‘kale’ use curly kale. 

What food should you avoid if you have IBS?

Food to avoid includes all those that are high in FODMAP such as

  • Dairy-based milk, yogurt, and ice cream
  • What based products
  • Beans and lentils
  • Vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, cauliflower onion, and garlic
  • Fruit as apples, cherries, pears, mangoes, peaches, and watermelon
  • Garlic and onion 

What diet should you follow if you have IBS?

Food low in FODMAP that can be eaten when you have IBS are

  • Eggs and lean meats
  • Tempeh, nuts, and seeds 
  • Cheese low in lactose such as brie, camembert, cheddar, and feta
  • Almond milk
  • Grains like rice, quinoa, and oats
  • Vegetables like eggplant, potatoes, kale, green bell pepper, bean sprouts, arugula cucumbers, and zucchini
  • Fruits such as grapes, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple 

If you need more information about the FODMAP diet follow this link. 

Other FAQs about Kale that you may be interested in.

Can you eat kale when taking warfarin?

Can you eat kale when taking eliquis?

Can you eat kale when pregnant?


This article answered can you eat kale when you have IBS, what is kale, what is IBS, is it healthy to eat kale when you have IBS, what food you should avoid if you have IBS, what diet you should follow if you have IBS. 


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