Surprising Nutritional Benefits of Vegetable and Fruit Peels

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Fruit and vegetable peels are usually thrown away. But did you know most nutrients in the food we eat are concentrated on the peels? Throwing them away could be stripping foods of their nutritional value. Contrary to popular belief, not all fruits and vegetables have to be peeled before being eaten. Below are nutritious peels you should never throw away:

Banana Peel

Banana peel is surprisingly nutritious. It contains vitamin B6 and B12. It’s also loaded with magnesium and potassium. Even more surprising, the banana peel contains more fiber than the banana flesh itself! Fiber aids in digestion and keeps the heart strong. Banana peels also contain tryptophan. This compound boosts the serotonin level in the brain. Serotonin is a hormone that lifts the mood and prevents stress. This hormone also reduces the risk of depression because it normalizes the mood.

You can eat banana peels raw or boiled for several minutes. Just mix the peel into your favorite smoothie so it goes down easy.

Orange Peel

Orange peel is a mainstay in cooking and baking. Apart from giving your favorite treats a tangy flavor, orange peel is also loaded with cancer-fighting compounds tangeretin and nobiletin. Tangeretin and nobiletin belong to a class of plant-based nutrient called flavonoids. The peels also contain d-limonene, a compound that protects from skin cancer by neutralizing the harmful effects of UV rays. To give your fave vegetable salad or baked goods a nutritious punch, just grate the orange part of the peel, never the white part. The white part is very bitter.

Apple Peel

Did you know apple peel contains more cancer-fighting compounds phytochemicals than the flesh of the fruit itself? That’s right, apple peels contain 87% more antioxidants than the apple itself. Research shows that whole apples have more potent effects on cancer cells than peeled apples.

Cucumber Peel

Cucumber peel contains silica. This chemical boosts collagen production to keep the skin healthy. Just a tiny cucumber peel contains enough silica to make a difference on your skin. If you want to take advantage of cucumber peel’s anti-aging benefits, make sure you get organic cucumbers, not pesticide-laden ones. Non-organic cucumbers are usually coated with wax to preserve the vegetable’s color.

Watermelon Peel

That’s right, the peel of this summer fruit is even more nutritious than the flesh of watermelon itself. The greenish or white rind of watermelon contains amino acid citruline. This compound dilates the blood vessels to improve blood circulation! It also protects from stroke by preventing blood clots.

Kiwi Peel

Kiwi is coated with an edible, fuzzy brown rind. The peel contains beneficial compounds that protect from bacterial, fungal and viral infection. Because kiwi is fuzzy, eating the peel takes a certain level of courage. We recommend adding the peels to your favorite smoothie. Just cut up the peels in thin slices and blend. You can also slice the peels and add them to salads or stir-fry.

Factors to Consider

It’s important to clean the peels well before eating. You don’t have to wash the peels with soap and water, plain water is sufficient in removing nasty residues like pesticides or insecticides. You can also use a clean toothbrush to remove dirt or grime.

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