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Oats & IBS

Tell me more about oats……

Oats are cheap, versatile and readily available. They are a wholegrain and also a great source of soluble fibre. Oats can have beneficial effects on heart and digestive health.

But I don’t like porridge…..

Porridge is often what comes to mind when people think about oats but there are plenty of other ways to get your oats!

What nutrients are in oats?

Oats are certainly nutrient-powerhouses, they contain iron, selenium, vitamin B1 and zinc and have a higher protein content compared to other grains. They also contain antioxidants which help to take away free radicals from the body.

Can oats benefit my health?

Oats contain a type of soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which can help to maintain normal blood cholesterol concentrations and reduce blood cholesterol.

The beta-glucan in oats helps stop blood glucose levels from rising too quickly after eating.

Can oats help my IBS?

This oat grain fibre helps add bulk to stools, making them pass through the bowels more easily and keeping our digestive system regular. If you suffer from constipation oats could be your friend!

How do oats help IBS symptoms?

Increasing soluble fibre can help IBS symptoms. Oats are a great source of soluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps bulk out stools and this can help constipation, as small, hard stools can be hard to pass.

Can oats help diarrhoea too?

The soluble fibre in oats can help absorb water in the bowels and help stools become firmer.

Is soluble fibre the only type of fibre in oats?

No, oats contain some insoluble fibre too. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to our stools and helps them pass more easily. If you suffer from constipation, insoluble fibre is likely to be needed in your diet too. This is why oats can be a great addition.

Is insoluble fibre ok for IBS?

Some people with IBS find it difficult to tolerate insoluble fibre. However as oats are high in soluble fibre too, this often helps your body process fibre.

The most important thing is to introduce oats gradually and monitor your symptoms.

Can everyone with IBS tolerate oats?

Although oats are easily tolerated by many due to the high soluble fibre content. Some people with IBS find it difficult to tolerate any fibre – soluble or insoluble, this means they may struggle to tolerate oats.

I’ve heard that oats are high in resistant starches and this isn’t good for people with IBS?

Raw oats are high in resistant starch, which is difficult for many people with IBS to digest. However cooked oats are low in resistant starch.

What are resistant starches?

Resistant starches are not digested in the small intestine, but in the large intestine where they can produce gas leading to IBS symptoms.

Are oats gluten free?

Oats are naturally gluten-free; however, some are grown in fields where barley, rye and wheat are also grown which can cause contamination. If you suffer from Coeliac disease or wheat sensitivity make sure to choose gluten-free oats.

Are oats low FODMAP?

If you’re following the low FODMAP diet, thankfully oats are classified as low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols)

How much oats may help my IBS symptoms?

The advice is to have one portion of oats per day.

How much is a portion of oats?

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) say a portion of oats is 3 tablespoons, remember that portion sizes will vary for everyone. There is currently no set portion size to follow for those suffering from IBS.

How can I introduce oats into my diet?

As always, an individual approach should be taken to include oats in the diet, introduce them slowly and keep a symptom diary can help to symptom management. Start off with a small amount first then gradually increase if you don’t experience any issues. Sometimes introducing too much fibre too quickly can trigger digestive symptoms.

How can I easily get a portion of oats into my diet every day?

One of the easiest ways to get a portion of oats a day is for breakfast. There are endless combinations for porridge oats, you can go fruity with berries or seasonal stewed fruit, such as rhubarb. You can also go savoury by adding an egg or some cheese, great way to increase protein content too. There are other oat-containing breakfast cereals such as Oatibix and granola.

Oats can be made the night before and left in a container in the fridge, also known as overnight oats.

If you don’t like porridge don’t fear because there are many other ways to have a portion of oats a day.

Use them to make granola or an oat bar. You could make savoury oat biscuits or use crushed oats as an alternative to breadcrumbs, you could even add spices such as smoked paprika or mixed herbs for more flavour.

Last summer I also created a low FODMAP blueberry oat pancake recipe which uses oat flour.


100g oat flour*

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

120ml almond milk

1 medium egg

50g blueberries

1-2 tsp coconut oil


● If you only have oats you can blend these to make oat flour in a food processor.

● Combine dry ingredients; oat flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl.

● Add milk and egg to a separate bowl and hand whisk.

● Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

● Lastly roughly chop blueberries and add them to the pancake mixture.

● In a frying pan heat oil over a medium heat, pour a quarter of the mixture into the centre of the pan and cook on one side for 2 minutes then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Cook each pancake separately.

● Place cooked pancakes on a tray and keep in the oven on a low heat.

● Serve with more blueberries.

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