We always encourage people to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. A lot of people reach for the familiar or “pretty” looking produce items to use in recipes they know and love. What about the other nutrients from all the other produce items you aren’t eating? We understand that every single produce item isn’t available to everyone, and we understand that people have certain taste preferences, but “uglier” foods that seem intimidating often contain a plethora of health benefits.
While you may have heard of the ugly food movement, where people are eating misshapen or slightly bruised produce, the “ugly” foods we are talking about are the foods that seem slightly off-putting or unattractive. The fact is that you can do a lot of things with these foods that we perceive as ugly. Let’s take a look at some of these foods, and hopefully you will seek some of them out for future use.
In addition to being rich in healthy flavonoids, jackfruit has plenty of vitamin C and the sweet yellow flesh is replete with a group of B-complex vitamins. Jackfruit also contains saponins, which increase white blood cell activity and help to prevent cancer cell proliferation.
This bulb, which is also known as celeriac, is rich in vitamin K and dietary fiber. Vitamin K helps to support bone health and may help prevent osteoporosis. Celery root is also rich in potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins C & B6. You can roast it or use it as a healthy mashed potato substitute.
Commonly known as sunchokes, Jerusalem artichokes are not actually related to artichokes; they don’t even taste like artichokes. In fact, they can be treated as potato substitutes! They are full of potassium, magnesium, and fiber, all of which help to maintain a healthy immune and digestive system.
The daikon is a member of the radish family and it contains a ton of health benefits. The high vitamin C content helps to stimulate white blood cell production, which works to boost the immune system. Daikon is also beneficial for the digestive system and it works to eliminate bacteria and pathogens from your airways.
This fruit might be hard to come by, but specialty or ethnic supermarkets may have them when they are in season. The inside may look like a brain, but the edible peel is what you want because it contains xanthones, which are phytonutrients that have been linked to cancer prevention and improved cardiovascular health.
While bitter melon may look like an alien cucumber, it can actually help to lower blood sugar and burn more fat. It got the name based on the taste because the more it ripens, the more bitter it becomes. Bitter melon is not approved as a treatment or medication for diabetes, despite the evidence that it can manage blood sugar. More studies must be conducted.
Wakame forever! This sea vegetable is a great source of iodine, which is beneficial for keeping the thyroid healthy. Wakame is also a rich source of magnesium, calcium, iron, B-vitamins, zinc, manganese, and vitamin C. Additionally, it helps to support blood clotting and bone health because it contains a lot of vitamin K.