Fruits and vegetables that don't appear perfect are easy to skip at the grocery store because, of course, there are other prettier options. But in the case that there are no other options but produce with seemingly unappetizing deformities, don't hesitate to add it to your cart!
In an "unofficial experiment" reported on by NPR, orchardist Eliza Greenman tested the sugar content of scarred and unscarred apples; she found that apples that were visibly scathed had a higher sugar content than those that were unscathed. Greenman suspects that fruit that is scarred is "stressed" and therefore has more antioxidants.
Greenman's theory that uglier produce is healthier is corroborated by a few studies, NPR notes. In fact, two studies suggest scarred apples have a higher level of antioxidant phenolic compounds. The second study of the two claimed that scarred apples had 10 percent to 20 percent more phenolic compounds. More antioxidants are beneficial to our health because they propel repair at the cellular level. Essentially, produce that is ugly has had a more difficult time coming to fruition and is stronger as a result.
This doesn't mean we should only buy ugly produce, but it does mean you don't have to change your meal plan just because you can't find aesthetically pleasing fruit or vegetables at the store. So go ahead and grab carrots with extra limbs and funky-looking tomatoes!