How to make broccoli, leeks and cabbage more digestible?

In the case of severe intestinal sensitivity to broccoli, it may be wise to chop and blend the preparation to further break down the fiber. Getty Images

Transformed into soups or stews, broccoli and its green cousins ​​delight our taste buds, but not always our guts. Review tips and tricks to adopt to reconcile everyone.

Autumn marks the peak season for carrots, squash, endive, potatoes, mushrooms, but also leeks, cabbage, broccoli and celery. These latter varieties have several points in common. At the Primeur stand we notice their green shades. In the kitchen, their strong smell does not go unnoticed either. And then we have to face the facts: although they are delicious in soup or fried in a pan, tasting them is often accompanied by digestive discomfort. Two nutrition experts explain why and above all how to take care of our gut.

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Abuse of fermentation

The stomach swells like a balloon after fondue with leeks, generally due to the transformation of the vegetable during digestion. Like his relatives from the family of alliaceae (garlic, asparagus, onions), contains the so-called fermentable fibers, very heavy, which – as their name suggests – will ferment more in contact with the bacteria of our microbiota and thus cause bloating, intestinal noises, gas and belching , we learn nutritionist Faïza Bossy.

Other varieties such as chervil, celery or cabbage, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, concentrate a smaller amount of this fiber. On the other hand, they contain mostly sulfur molecules, which cause them to smell bad when cooked and cause the same digestive problems as fermentable fiber.

Finally, as the nutritionist reminds us, everyone has their own tolerance and sensitivity to each type of vegetable, determined by the state of their microbiota and their overall health.

Blanch your vegetables

To soothe a fragile gut, there is an effective and old solution, as the world continues to include green on the menu without much damage: blanch the vegetables. More specifically, this technique consists in pre-cooking them by immersing them for a few minutes in boiling water. Thanks to this gesture, the vegetable will soften and its fibers will break down. “The acidity of lemon juice or a spoonful of vinegar added to the water will help break them down even more,” suggests nutritionist Stephanie Duphant. Another alternative, baking soda to “speed up pre-cooking and eliminate smelly sulfur molecules,” suggests Faïza Bossy.

Vary the preparations

After the vegetable is blanched, you can continue to cook it in water, steam it, in a pan or even serve it as dips as an aperitif. Good chewing will then help in the preliminary digestion of the food, confirm the two specialists. “In case of severe intestinal sensitivity, it may be wise to mix the preparation to further break down the fiber into a soup, juice or smoothie,” advises Stephanie Dufan.

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A dietitian nutritionist also reassures; we are not doomed to ingest these pesky straw vegetables. According to her, apart from proven pathology, it is quite possible to reverse the trend and get rid of this sensitivity. “It’s all a matter of learning: you start by making a very smooth soup, then gradually from one meal to the next you’ll move to mashed potatoes to finish, over the weeks, aiming for a texture containing more and more solids pieces,” explains Stephanie Dufan.

One cabbage is better than two

Another technique suggested by the nutritionist nutritionist: reduce the amounts on the plate of said vegetable that is poorly tolerated. “If you can’t tolerate cauliflower any worse, don’t eat a whole gratin, but rather combine it with other more digestible varieties, like potatoes, and accompany everything with fish, for example,” suggests Stephanie Dufan. “Following the same logic, we would also avoid mixing them with eggs or other foods rich in sulfur compounds,” continues Dr. Faïza Bossy.

In any case, a mild digestive sensitivity to kale, broccoli and other green cousins ​​shouldn’t make you banish these vegetables from your plate, experts insist. “Like other varieties of vegetables, they provide vitamins and antioxidants that are essential for our health,” explains the nutritionist. The sulfur contained in cabbage or broccoli is also an essential trace element for the production of keratin, the origin of nails, hair and hair, the health specialist points out. It also improves the condition of our skin and its healing”.

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