A low-FODMAP diet can significantly relieve the painful bloating and gas people feel with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides, and polyols) are found in certain grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products. They include fructose, lactose and other carbohydrates — and the small intestine finds them difficult to absorb. “What’s tough for patients is that so-called ‘healthy foods’ are often problematic,” says Ari Goldstein, MD, a gastroenterologist practicing at HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth). “Complex carbohydrates in many vegetables and fruits may not be broken down well in your system and start fermenting.” These fermented FODMAPs generate gases in the large intestine that stretch the intestinal wall and trigger IBS pain. What foods should you avoid? Garlic, onions, mushrooms and cauliflower “ are particularly problematic,” Dr. Goldstein says. “Wheat, lentils, kidney beans and broccoli can also be difficult. Corn, potatoes, cucumbers and quinoa are easier to digest.” Limiting fresh dairy products may also help. Nondairy items, such as soy or almond milk, and aged cheese, such as feta or cheddar, are good alternatives. As for fruit, apples, pineapples, pears, blackberries and prunes may be problematic, Dr. Goldstein says. Easier-to-digest fruits include bananas, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.