Many of us already know that the vitamin C in oranges makes them great immunity boosters. Feeling a cold come on? Grab an orange! But what most of us don’t realize is that we’re often tossing out the most nutritious part of the fruit – the peel! But like the protective covering in most fruits, orange peel also contains a wealth of vital nutrients and other wellness-promoting compounds, including dietary fiber. Orange peel, and the oil from that peel, are used in multiple ways. Researchers are discovering numerous uses for the peel as both a disease fighter and an effective ingredient in cosmetics, medicines, air fresheners, whiteners, cleaning agents, and even compost.
1. Acts Against Bacteria And Fungi
Hold on to that orange peel – it’s just as (or maybe even more) precious as the juicy fruit it holds. Across multiple studies, the orange peel has proven to provide immense health benefits. The peel is especially rich in flavonoids – organic compounds found in plants and categorized as plant secondary metabolites – which have shown to be useful in antifungal and anti-inflammatory treatments.1
Derived from the peel, citrus oils contain antimicrobial properties that are effective against bacteria. In both oil and vapor form, they can also be used as a safe, natural food additive.2
Several studies have also proven that orange peel oils can be effective in fighting fungal infections. One study found that the vapors show greater effectiveness, while the oil produces faster results.3
2. Can Fight Cancer
Perhaps some of the most fascinating studies have looked into the citrus peel’s anticancer properties. Researchers have found that the polymethoxyflavones (PMFs), a type of flavonoid found in peels, act as a protective agent in fighting off cancer cells. PMFs seem to prevent carcinogenesis by blocking the metastasis cascade (spreading to other organs) and reducing the ability of cancer cells to move through the circulatory system.4
3. Provides Dietary Fiber
Orange peels are high in dietary fiber, but who wants to bite right into that thick and bitter peel? Fortunately, you can consume the orange peel in powder form as a way to add more fiber to your diet. The peel consists of about 61–69% fiber, with a significant portion of that being soluble fiber (19–22%) – a great digestive aid.5
4. Keeps Inflammation Away
Chronic inflammation is a major cause of various degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. Again, the flavonoids in the orange peels are the true stars here. They can easily permeate through membranes. This is called “bioavailability” and it’s inspired researchers to study the potential use of flavonoids in the prevention and treatment of various diseases. One notable thing they’ve found is that these flavonoids in the orange peel can act as an anti-inflammatory drug.6
5. Clears Up Acne
[pullquote]Blend orange peel in a blender, mix with milk, and apply on the acne. Or squeeze the juice from the peel onto the pimple.[/pullquote]
The phenolic antioxidants in bitter orange peel can act as effectively against acne-causing bacteria as any standard antibiotics.7 Since the peel has more vitamin C than the fruit flesh, using orange peel juice on your acne can also reduce the pain and swelling.
If you use orange peel for a long time, the flavonoid nobiletin in orange peel can reduce sebum production and prevent buildup of oil and dirt in the skin pores.8 This, in effect, prevents acne.
Always Save The Peel!
Would you believe there are even more handy ways to use the orange peel? You don’t need to be a doctor or scientist to reap its benefits. With its rich supply of vitamin C, orange peels and their oils can also be used as teeth whiteners, face masks, cleaning and composting agents, air fresheners, and natural insect repellants. So, after enjoying the delicious, juicy orange to nourish your body, use the peel to freshen up your skin, your teeth, and your home!
|↑1||Ortuño, A., A. Báidez, P. Gómez, M. C. Arcas, I. Porras, A. García-Lidón, and J. A. Del Rio. “Citrus paradisi and Citrus sinensis flavonoids: Their influence in the defence mechanism against Penicillium digitatum.” Food Chemistry 98, no. 2 (2006): 351-358.|
|↑2||Fisher, Katie, and Carol Phillips. “Potential antimicrobial uses of essential oils in food: is citrus the answer?.” Trends in food science & technology 19, no. 3 (2008): 156-164.|
|↑3||Velázquez-Nuñez, Maria José, Raúl Avila-Sosa, Enrique Palou, and Aurelio López-Malo. “Antifungal activity of orange (Citrus sinensis var. Valencia) peel essential oil applied by direct addition or vapor contact.” Food Control 31, no. 1 (2013): 1-4.|
|↑4||Wang, Liwen, Jinhan Wang, Lianying Fang, Zuliang Zheng, Dexian Zhi, Suying Wang, Shiming Li, Chi-Tang Ho, and Hui Zhao. “Anticancer activities of citrus peel polymethoxyflavones related to angiogenesis and others.” BioMed research international 2014 (2014).|
|↑5||Larrauri, JoséA, Pilar Rupérez, Laura Bravo, and Fulgencio Saura-Calixto. “High dietary fibre powders from orange and lime peels: associated polyphenols and antioxidant capacity.” Food Research International 29, no. 8 (1996): 757-762.|
|↑6||Gosslau, Alexander, Kuang Yu Chen, Chi-Tang Ho, and Shiming Li. “Anti-inflammatory effects of characterized orange peel extracts enriched with bioactive polymethoxyflavones.” Food Science and Human Wellness 3, no. 1 (2014): 26-35.|
|↑7||Tumane, P. M., V. G. Meshram, and D. D. Wasnik. “Comparative study of antibacterial activity of peel extracts of citrus aurantium L.(Bitter orange) and Citrus medica L.(Lemon) against clinical isolates from wound infection.” Int J Pharm Bio Sci 5, no. 1 (2014): 382-387.|
|↑8||Wood, E. J. “A citrus polymethoxy flavonoid, nobiletin, inhibits sebum production and sebocyte proliferation, and augments sebum excretion in hamsters.” Clinical Dermatology 23, no. 4 (2007): 72-73.|