We’ve heard the saying: “You are what you eat.” But in the case of “ugly” vegetables, these misshapen pieces of fruit and vegetables are bringing beauty to our body, and the planet.
The next time you’re grocery shopping, turn your back on the perfectly arranged rows of shiny fruits and veg, and head towards the forgotten pile of produce. These disfigured, scratched, bruised or oddly shaped fruit or veggie may not look perfect, but they’re perfectly edible and just as good for you as their prettier colleagues.
Our lack of enthusiasm for foods which aren’t picture perfect is an issue: around 20 to 30 percent of fresh fruit and vegetables in Australia are deemed as ‘waste’ before it even leaves the farm due to imperfections, adding up to $1.7billion dollars a year.
Thankfully, people are waking up to the unnecessary waste we’re creating, merely on looks alone. Grocery stores, online food delivery companies, and even people growing their own vegetables are embracing ‘ugly’ vegetables which are just as nutritious, more economical and better for the environment.
This National Nutrition Week 2019—Nutrition Australia is championing ugly vegetables by breaking down stereotypical vegetable consumption habits, including our repulsion to ugly vegies and fruit.
Enjoying fruit and vegetables, in whatever form, is a move towards better health: currently only 4% of Australians eating their recommended amount of vegetables each day.
Eloise Wellings, two-time Olympian, three-time Commonwealth Games athlete, philanthropist, Ubiquinol ambassador, and mum extraordinaire plans her meals to ensure she includes the recommended 5-6 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit into her daily diet.
“I’ll often go with this option as I know I’m doing my part to reduce waste, am saving money and am still getting the same nutritional benefits as the more polished and prettier versions on display in grocery stores.” says Eloise.
Here are Eloise’s top tips for making the most of popular ugly fruit and vegetables options as well as energy boosting options to get fit and on track for summer:
- Bananas with brown spots
If you always choose the purely yellow bananas purely for anaesthetic purposes, it could be time to look at their slightly uglier counterparts. Brown spotted bananas are better for you – those blemishes mean the banana’s chlorophyll has broken down, indicating increased antioxidant levels. Antioxidants can help to prevent and delay cell damage, warding off the hands of time.
Bananas are a great source of potassium and vitamin B6, but as they ripen, they also become an easily digestible carbohydrate, which may help to boost your body’s every levels.
How to enjoy: Add bananas into your morning smoothies for a great start to the day. Or save a few and make a delicious, healthy banana bread to pop into your lunchbox to ward off hunger pains during the day.
- Unsightly sweet potatoes
Let’s face it, sweet potatoes aren’t particularly attractive at the best of times. The disfigured varies can be downright frightening! What causes their unattractive shape? Some sweet potatoes, and others from the potato family, become oddly shaped can be due to stress while they are growing, length of time they are left to grow, variance in soil and different exposure to heat and watering .
Despite their misshapen appearance, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a naturally occurring “phyto” chemical which gives the sweet potato its bright colour. Phytochemicals have been researched for their role in good health and disease prevention.
How to enjoy: Mash, roast or fry your sweet potatoes for a tasty alternative to white potatoes. Boiling sweet potato enables your body to absorb the nutrients of a sweet potato easier.
- Carrots that are misshapen
There’s nothing cuter than a picture of a strangely formed carrot entwined with another. However, some people prefer their carrots, and their close relative the parsnip, flawless. The reason for roots that twist around each other that often cause misshapen carrots is due to overcrowding during growing, which doesn’t affect their taste or nutrient value. Carrots are a great source of vitamin B6, which aids in the conversion of food into energy.
How to enjoy: Include Bugs Bunny’s favourite snack in a broth or chopped up in a salad or as a finger snack.
- Strawberries with split ends
Is there anything more Instagram worthy than a bowl of beautiful plump red strawberries? We’ve become used to strawbs which are identical to each other, however, the discarded berries, which have grown differently due in part due to poor or incomplete. The natural sugar in strawberries can also help give you an extra lift as they are an energy-boosting fruit.
How to enjoy: Enjoy a tasty, but relatively healthy after dinner treat of chocolate covered strawberry dishes, or add to a tart, Pavlova or your morning smoothie.
- Try adding supplementation
Even if you are eating your fair share of ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables, many of us still fall short on the recommended daily allowance. Safeguard your daily health through a natural supplement. This can help you get the most energy and nutrients out of your diet. Options include Ubiquinol (the active form of CoQ10)—a potent antioxidant found naturally in our bodies and supports healthy energy synthesis. The key component to performing at your best each day is diet, and supplementing your diet with antioxidants like Ubiquinol may help on a cellular level to derive the most from your foods.
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