Irritated Bowel Syndrome & Almonds

Bloating, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal pain and cramping are some of the most common gastrointestinal complaints. If you are diagnosed with IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, you may experience gastrointestinal symptoms that severely impair your quality of life. Some IBS sufferers find relief by eliminating some foods, although identifying the problematic foods can be a complicated and arduous process; working with a registered dietitian for guidance can make it easier for you.

A close up of a few almonds and part of a shell. (Image: morningarage/iStock/Getty Images)

Almonds

Almonds are a healthy nut, containing healthy monounsaturated fats, along with a good dose of protein and fiber. However, some compounds in almonds may be problematic if you suffer from IBS. Many people diagnosed with IBS are intolerant to some short-chain fermentable carbohydrates, which include compounds like fructose, fructans, galactans, lactose and polyols. As of 2011, data is not available to determine whether almonds contain some of these problematic sugars. Pistachios have been tested and are high in fructans, so it can be hypothesized that almonds, being a nut, would also share this characteristic. Fructans are poorly absorbed and can result in fermentation in your intestines, causing abdominal distension, pain, constipation and diarrhea.

Blanching

Blanching your almonds can help you get rid of the skin, which can make almonds easier to tolerate with IBS. It is easy to remove the skin of the almond at home. Bring water to a boil, add your almonds and let them boil for 1 minute, and then drain. Once blanched, simply squeeze the almond and it will easily pop out of its skin. Let dry. Throw away the skin and enjoy a small amount of your blanched almonds to see if you tolerate them better.

Soaking

You can soak your almonds to make them more digestible. Soak them in water and a little bit of salt for 8 to 12 hours. After the soaking period, drain your almonds and put them in the oven at the lowest temperatures, or in a food dehydrator, until they become crunchy again. You may tolerate almonds better once they are blanched and soaked.

Determine Your Tolerance

If you really want to determine whether you tolerate almonds or not, try eliminating them completely from your diet for a week or two and see if your IBS symptoms disappear. Then, add them back into your diet in small amounts over a few days and see how you feel. If you notice any worsening of your symptoms, wait a few days and then try having the same amount of blanched, soaked or blanched and soaked almonds. Note your symptoms for a few days and you will soon be able to determine whether you tolerate raw almonds, blanched or soaked almonds better. In some cases, it is possible that you cannot tolerate almonds in any form.

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