Many people with IBS symptoms often wonder, ‘is celery low fodmap.’ The short answer is no, but it depends on the portion size as 10 grams of celery which is 1/4 of a celery stick, is low fodmap, but that is a small serving size.
A lot of people following the low fodmap diet for irritable bowel assume that celery is bad for IBS if it is a high fodmap food. But there is more to healing SIBO and IBS than just following a low fodmap diet for irritable bowel syndrome.
Following the low-fodmap diet and eating low fodmap foods is the top dietary recommendation by health professionals to manage IBS symptoms. Still, most people don’t know that the low fodmap diet is a therapeutic diet that is only meant to be used for three months.
Long term restricting diets and avoidance of foods can make you even more intolerant to high fodmap foods that have been avoided as you lose the beneficial bacteria and the enzymes they produce to break down those foods.
A balanced diet for gut health requires a diverse plant based diet full of various fibers. Building a diverse, robust microbiome that can break down all plant fibers is very challenging for anyone on the low fodmap diet and especially for people who have been on it for years!
So even though celery is among the high fodmap vegetables. I still recommend eating 10 grams of celery which is a low fodmap serving of celery, as it will help to maintain a healthy microbiome in the long term.
Is celery fodmap friendly?
According to the Monash low fodmap app, 1/3 of a medium celery stalk which is 15 grams or 7 cm of a stalk per meal, contains moderate amounts of the mannitol fodmap, which can cause digestive issues in IBS sufferers intolerant to the mannitol fodmap.
A standard 75-gram serving of celery which is two medium stalks of celery, is high fodmap according to testing done by Monash University. It is only high in the mannitol fodmap at a 75-gram serving size. The fodmap content of food varies, and you may only notice gut symptoms or excessive gas with specific fodmaps.
For this reason, it is beneficial to identify your most problematic trigger foods and find out which fodmaps are in those foods. Celery is low in all the other fodmaps, including fructose, lactose, sorbitol, GOS, and Fructans.
Onions are garlic are among the top high fodmap vegetables that cause abdominal pain, excess gas, burping, etc. The main fodmaps in onions and garlic are fructans. Yet onions and garlic are low in the mannitol fodmap.
So you may notice that you are intolerant to the fodmaps in onions yet don’t notice digestive symptoms when eating celery or vice versa. It is always a good idea to pay attention and identify your trigger foods instead of strictly adhering to special diets such as the low fodmap diet, especially if you have been on it for longer than three months.
When you have ultimately healed small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or irritable bowel syndrome, you should be able to come off the fodmap diet or SIBO diet which restricts fermentable carbohydrates to help reduce symptoms. When you reintroduce high fodmap foods such as celery, you will likely need to start slowly and build up gradually as you rebuild a healthy microbiome in the colon.
Why I don’t recommend the low fodmap diet long term and avoidance of healthy vegetables such as celery
Avoiding high fodmap vegetables such as celery during treatment with a practitioner for SIBO or IBS can help reduce small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and IBS symptoms such as bloating. But there are many health benefits of fiber, and it is crucial for a healthy digestive system and overall health. Dr. Nirala Jacobi is a SIBO practitioner who helps many people with IBS symptoms and SIBO.
She created the Bi Phasic SIBO diet, which is a combination of the low fodmap diet and specific carbohydrate diet. On her diet plan, she notes that it is a therapeutic diet that should be implemented for three months and that the goal is to reintroduce these fermentable fibers again as they are part of a healthy diet for the microbiome. Following the low fodmap diet long term negatively impacts the microbiome and your ability to break high fiber foods!
On phase 2 of the semi-restricted SIBO diet, Dr. Nirala Jacobi allows for 1-2 servings per meal of 1 medium stalk of celery which would be a high fodmap serving according to the Monash fodmap app. Most advice on the internet is if you have IBS, you should avoid celery because it is high fodmap.
But there is another side to the story that no one is talking about that I want to share with you, and I believe this is one of the reasons I have been able to tolerate most high fodmap foods even though I used to have SIBO symptoms, such as bloating and acid reflux. I overcame my SIBO symptoms which overlap with IBS symptoms, and I NEVER followed a strict low fodmap diet.
Frankly, I wasn’t aware of it when my symptoms were at their worst. In the past, I have avoided a small number of trigger foods and food sensitivities, but I was never 100 percent strict, and now I can eat what used to be my trigger foods in moderation with no symptoms! Now that means I have come a long way in healing my gut and SIBO symptoms.
How I got rid of bloating after taking antibiotics
Two years ago, I had to go on IV antibiotics followed by two weeks of antibiotics after my labor for reasons I won’t go into. But after taking the antibiotic amoxicillin, which is also an antibiotic used to treat SIBO, I became bloated with stinky gas.
I believe this was due to the antibiotics killing off beneficial bacteria that are crucial for breaking down carbohydrates and fibers; thus, I lost digestive enzymes produced by beneficial bacteria to break down these foods.
Instead of doing the low fodmap diet to reduce bloating, I took the viome gut test. I incorporated high fiber superfoods, including celery and lots of vegetables, beans, and fruits, to help rebuild my microbiome. And guess what? My bloating went away!
So let me ask you a question, since being on your IBS protocol and following the low fodmap diet, have you become more intolerant to these foods, or have you healed the root cause of your IBS and SIBO and thus been able to come off the low fodmap diet with success?
This is a critical question because if you have been following the low fodmap diet for over three months or maybe years and still can’t tolerate high fodmap foods, you need to build up a diverse microbiome by adding in high fiber foods in small amounts, as you have most likely lost the beneficial bacteria and the enzymes they produce to digest these foods.
A fiber fueled diet for IBS
According to gut expert Will Bulsiewicz and author of Fiber Fueled, if you eliminate food groups, your ability to digest and consume those foods reduces. The people who need fiber the most are the ones who struggle the most to eat it, as it indicates that your gut has been damaged with reduced microbial diversity.
People with IBS often feel better in the short term when they avoid high fodmap foods such as celery. Still, in the long term, they are further reducing their ability to consume these foods, which is why it is so challenging for them to come off the fodmap diet as so many foods become triggers, or they are even more intolerant to high fodmap foods. The answer is to SLOWLY add in these foods as you rebuild your digestive ability to consume these foods!
If celery is a trigger for you, avoid large quantities but not completely. Introduce small amounts slowly and build up as your ability to break them down becomes stronger.
Researchers who studied the Hazda tribe found that the foods eaten more often resulted in the enrichment of enzymes necessary to digest them. When the Hadza tribe ate more berries high in the fodmap fructose, there was an enrichment in enzymes needed to break down fructose. So guess what happens when you avoid all fructose? You also lose your ability to digest them!
A fun fact I love from the Fiber Fueled book is that the body produces seventeen carbohydrate-processing enzymes. In comparison, gut bacteria can produce up to sixty thousand digestive enzymes! That is how powerful the gut microbiome is in digesting. Damaging the gut and reducing diversity is caused by eating a low fodmap diet for too long. There are so many benefits of fiber for gut health, so don’t be afraid of high fiber foods forever!
Medical Mediums approach on celery for IBS
I have followed the Medical Medium for years now and am always blown away by the results and healing stories that people share as a result of drinking celery juice which is high fodmap. Most healthcare professionals recommend the avoidance of celery for IBS, but Anthony Williams recommends celery juice for IBS.
While his advice seems radical at times, I can’t deny that the results people achieve following his protocol are nothing short of amazing. I sometimes drink celery juice and feel great, especially when I have it first thing in the morning instead of coffee. Coffee is low fodmap and allowed on the low fodmap diet, yet celery juice is not as it is high fodmap.
Anthony Williams recommends avoidance of coffee and instead recommends drinking celery juice first thing in the morning, which is the polar opposite of the fodmap diet rules. He claims that celery juice is an absolute miracle when it comes to healing IBS as it builds up the bile salts that are crucial for killing off pathogens that cause IBS. Poor bile flow is an underlying cause of SIBO that no one is talking about. The cluster salts in celery juice also remove toxins created by pathogens.
While I can’t find studies on the benefits of celery juice for IBS, many people share powerful healing stories, including IBS symptoms as a result of drinking celery juice.
If you have not been able to come off the low fodmap diet or overcome your IBS symptoms, I highly recommend reading a Fiber Fueled and Medical Mediums Celery Juice book. Sometimes we need to see and understand the other side of a story. Celery is a high fodmap vegetable but celery juice has also helped many people heal all sorts of conditions. You can find some of the stories and results on Medical Mediums Instagram.
Monash Fodmap App
Fiber Fueled By Will Bulsiewicz
Medical Medium Celery Juice by Anthony William