Eliza Greenman is an orchardist. When she goes through her apple trees, she is always scared that she will find pests, fungus and heat. However, finding buckled and blemished apples give her joy and thrill. This orchardist grows cider apples without pesticides. She believes that marred apples are actually sweeter than the nice looking ones.
Greenman even carried out her own experiment. She tested marred and unmarred Parma apples and found out that marred apples had 5 percent more sugar than unscabbed apples. Parma apples are a variety of apples with high sugar content. If the apples contain more sugar, they give more alcohol when fermented and a better tasting cider is produced.
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Marred apples also contain more antioxidants and more nutrients than pretty apples. So, stress on fruits creates better, healthier fruits.
Nowadays, the awareness of nutrients in marred fruits and vegetable leads the producers to sell these products, instead of dumping them. Many food stores are selling these cosmetically marred products. The question is whether these blemished fruits and veggies contain more nutrients in order to survive their own battles.
This has been noticed in organic products. According to many studies, organic products contain less pesticide residue and 40 percent more antioxidants than regular fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants found in these organic products are carotenoids, flavonoids, anthocyanins and phenolic acid. All of these antioxidants are produced by the products themselves as a defense mechanism against pests. So, according to the studies, organic fruits and vegetables are exposed to stress from pests as they receive lower doses of pesticides to protect them from the pests. Therefore, the products must create their own defense mechanisms in order to survive.
Another research found out that organic apples contain more fruit acids and antioxidant phenols than conventional apples. Fruit acids are excellent prevention against metabolic problems and illnesses.
The successful battles of the fruits and vegetables are seen through their visible scars. Most pests cannot harm the texture and the taste of the products and they are not infectious for humans. For instance, black dots and dark patches on apples are signs of the fruits defense and they are more nutritious than pretty looking apples.
Many studies prove that marred fruits exposed to scab, fungi and ultraviolet light contain more antioxidants, phenolic compounds and even resveratol, which protects the cardiovascular system. All of these antioxidants protect the plants from stress from outside influence, as well as people when eaten.
However, there are also other factors that contribute to the antioxidant content of the products such as the variety of the product, the mineral content of the soil and the use of organic or conventional fertilizers. Another influence is of course the product’s defense mechanisms from diseases and insects.
The antioxidants in these marred products activate 500 genes in the human body. Most of these genes protect the function of the cells.
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One of these antioxidants is resveratrol. These kinds of effects are also seen in some longevity diets like traditional Okinawan and Mediterranean cuisine, where these antioxidants and compounds are found in abundance. Therefore, gardeners and buyers may enjoy the health benefits of these marred fruits and vegetables, without worrying about their ugly outside.