Can You Eat Bananas If You Have IBS?

Having irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can make the menu at a restaurant look like a landmine. Your grocery store list is centered around what you can eat versus what you would like to eat. And even though everyone is raving about the new foodie hot spot in town, you drive right past it. Yes, it's frustrating — but know that you are not the only one.

According to Mayo Clinic, IBS is a common disorder that affects your large intestine and digestive health. Symptoms include cramping, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Whether your IBS inflicts one or many of these side effects, we can all agree that putting up with these symptoms would put a huge damper on your day. This is why it is so important to find out which foods are likely to cause a potential flare-up so you can put the caution tape around them.

Take bananas, for instance. The average American is eating more than 11 pounds of bananas every year shares SF Gate. They may appear harmless to your digestive tract as we are trained to believe all fruit is "good for you." Bananas are incredibly popular, and even babies can eat them!

Consider how ripe the bananas is before taking a bite

Besides being known for having a great amount of potassium, bananas are also rich in fiber. One banana has 3 grams of total fiber and 0.6 grams of soluble fiber. And as stated by IBS, our friend soluble fiber simultaneously helps to soften stool constipation-dominant IBS and decreases diarrhea in those with IBS-D. So it sounds like bananas get the green light for people with IBS right? Perhaps, but let's keep peeling back the yellow peel, as there is more to consider than just fiber amounts.

According to a recent study done by Monash University, bananas were re-tested to make sure they were safe to eat for those trying to keep their IBS at bay, and the results were surprising. An unripe banana contained lower amounts of oligo-fructans, which made them stay in the safe-to-eat category. A ripe banana, however, showed much higher levels of oligo-fructans which made them more likely to cause IBS symptoms. If the thought of noshing on an unripe green banana isn't appealing, it is recommended to enjoy just one-third of a ripe banana instead. 

Just like our digestive tracts and which symptoms you experience, the foods that cause a flare-up of your IBS are specific to you. But if you are unsure if bananas might be a potential landmine, then reach for the greenest batch at the grocery store — just in case.