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A Irritable bowel syndrome awareness ribbon is displayed on a TV behind a table with a tea set.

Choosing a Low FODMAP Tea

When IBS symptoms get you down, there’s nothing like curling up on the couch with a comforting cup of tea. But did you know that some types of tea can actually make IBS symptoms worse?

That’s because certain teas contain FODMAPs. If you’re in the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, you’ll need to avoid any teas that have FODMAPs in them. Luckily, there are plenty of low FODMAP teas that you can try.

Low FODMAP teas to enjoy

Green tea. When brewed correctly, green tea should taste grassy, herbaceous, and nutty. If your green tea has developed bitter flavors, try using cooler water to brew it and brew it for less time (2 to 3 minutes).

Peppermint tea. Peppermint tea is a caffeine-free herbal tea. It tastes minty and refreshing. Peppermint tea is a great option for people with IBS because studies have shown that peppermint can help relieve IBS symptoms.1

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Ginger tea. Just like peppermint tea, ginger tea is a caffeine-free herbal option. It has also been shown to help soothe stomach pain.2

Rooibos tea. Rooibos tea is a smooth tea that is naturally sweet and tastes slightly nutty. It has fewer tannins than black and green tea, so it doesn’t become bitter if you steep it for a long time.

Buchu tea. Buchu tea is native to South Africa and is described as tasting spicy and faintly of black currant, or a mixture between peppermint and rosemary.

Honeybush tea. Honeybush tea is described as tasting floral, lightly roasted, and similar to honey. Since honey is a high FODMAP food and needs to be avoided during the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, honeybush tea can be a great way to get that honey flavor without the FODMAPs.

Licorice tea. As its name implies, licorice tea tastes like black licorice. It has also been described as tasting like anise and peppermint. It’s naturally caffeine-free, so you can drink it anytime during the day.

Black tea. Depending on the strength of the brew, black tea can have a variety of different flavors, including smoky, earthy, spicy, nutty, citrus, caramel, and honey. It is low FODMAP at servings of 180 ml (3/4 cup). At servings of 250 ml (1 cup), black tea is moderately high in fructans (a type of FODMAP). If you are drinking black tea, wait a few hours between cups to ensure you are not overfilling your FODMAP "bucket."

High FODMAP teas to avoid

While you are on the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, you will need to avoid the following types of tea, as they are high in FODMAPs:

  1. Chai
  2. Chamomile
  3. Dandelion
  4. Fennel
  5. Oolong

It is also important to watch out for high FODMAP additives such as apple, pear, inulin, honey, and chicory root.

IBS and tea conclusions

Tea can be a wonderful way to relax and soothe yourself when you’re struggling with IBS symptoms. While it’s true that certain types of tea are high in FODMAPs, there is still a wide variety of different teas that you can enjoy while you’re in the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet. Once you’ve reached the reintroduction and maintenance phases of the diet, you can start testing higher FODMAP teas to see which ones you tolerate.

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This article was written using information from the Monash University FODMAP app. For the most up-to-date information, search for your desired tea directly in the app.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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