You’ve scoped out your favorite vendors at the best market, located the perfect parking spot, and are putting away your haul. The only remaining challenge is what to do with summer’s bounty.
Although conventional wisdom tells us to eat our veggies, the high fiber and carbohydrate content of many common varieties of produce may tax your digestive system. Here’s a curated collection of tummy-friendly recipes that use ingredients commonly found at farmers markets.
How your body digests vegetables
Nutrients pass through the stomach to the small intestine, where digestion begins. Cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, are among the more difficult foods to digest. According to Stephanie Clairmont, R.D., they contain the carbohydrate raffinose. “Humans do not have the enzyme to break down raffinose, so it passes through the stomach and small intestine undigested. One of the primary roles of the large intestine is to absorb the nutrients that are broken down in the stomach and small intestine. The large intestine is full of bacteria that don’t normally cause problems. However, when these bacteria are given undigested food … they ferment … One of the byproducts of bacterial fermentation is gas, which leads to flatulence and bloating.”
Dietitians advise how to minimize bloating and other problems
You should aim for 1-1 1/2 cups of cruciferous veggies per week, and it is important to consume vegetables on a regular basis. Dietitian Stephanie Clairmont suggests you cook vegetables in as little fat as possible (“simmer, sauté, bake, or steam”) and that you follow an elimination diet to identify your personal trigger foods. If your trigger happens to be a favorite or is especially nutritious, try gradually reintroducing it so you can avoid problems.
What’s currently in season
It’s easy to find seasonal produce charts, such as this one, online. Input your state to check on what’s freshest at your local market.