In many fruits like banana, apple, pomegranate, and several vegetables the skin is a surprisingly excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Much of the insoluble fiber and antioxidants lie in the skin.
Several fruits and vegetables should be eaten with their skin on, and peeling will reduce the nutrient content greatly. Listed below are some of the parts of veggies and fruits which we often throw away but are found to contain numerous benefits for health.1
1. Pomegranate Peel
The pomegranate peel has the highest antioxidant activity among all peels, which we neglect and just consume the seeds. Pomegranate peels have been known to have healing properties, antibacterial characteristics, and immunomodulatory activity. A lot of phenolics found in the peel may cause its strong antioxidant ability. Hence, the peel of pomegranate fruit can be considered as a rich source of natural antioxidants.2
The extract of pomegranate peels and figs boiled in water is a quick remedy for inflammation of the salivary gland. Powder made from dried pomegranate rinds can be used to prepare tea and gargles. The white pith, though bitter, is useful in resolving tooth problems and dried powder can be mixed with the tooth powder you use. It is also effective for stomach related problems like inflammation and digestion issues.
2. Lemon Pith
Citrus fruits like lemon are rich in anti-inflammatory flavonoids and stimulate the detoxification of carcinogens by the liver. The peel and pulp of the fruit have amazing health benefits. Modified citrus pectin from the peel and pulp of the citrus fruits appears to reduce the risk of metastasis.3
You will often see citrus rinds in any infused water recipe as they tend to refresh and detox the system to a great extent. Citrus peels are potential fiber sources in enriching the food. The skin of citrus fruits is a rich source of flavonoid glycosides, coumarins and volatile oils which have several vital bioactivities.
Besides, the fiber also contains polyphenols, the most important being vitamin C as it’s deficiency causes scurvy. Lemon rinds added to your bathing water can reduce body odor and give you a refreshing bath. Lemon rinds boiled in water and used as a drink is an excellent weight reducer and a detoxifying refreshing drink.4
3. Vegetable Peels
Vegetable peels are typically thrown away as kitchen waste but are found to be rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You can collect the vegetable skin and scraps left from preparing the daily meals and throw them into soup stock, simmering them until tender and then straining them out. The broth thus made is packed with many nutrients. The root vegetable skins are excellent sources of insoluble fiber which have several significant health benefits.
Certain kinds of the fiber feed the good bacteria in your intestine, and hence it is beneficial for digestion and colon health and to prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. For instance, potato peel and beetroot peel extracts have strong antioxidant effects.5
Onion peel extracts are found to contain high quercetin that can improve glucose response and insulin resistance associated with type 2 diabetes.6
4. Greens Of Radishes, Carrots, Turnips, And Beets
Beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips are often displayed in supermarkets with the tops chopped off. But these green beauties have surprising benefits for your health. They can be used as possible ingredients in your green smoothies for added benefits. Tender leaves and heads can be chopped and used as a salad along with salt and vinegar. Radishes contain cancer-fighting glucosinolates and sulfur-based compounds great for the liver and digestive health.
Radish leaves are surprisingly mild in flavor and blend well into a smoothie. The leaves are also a rich source of iron, calcium, vitamin C and phosphorous. The root is a source of magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, C and K. Beet stems and leaves are rich in folate with detoxifying, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, best when eaten and blended raw.7
Carrot tops are rich in carotene and are more nutrient-rich than the carrots themselves. Carrot and turnip leaves are also rich in calcium and Vitamin K respectively. Greens of the root vegetables stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes and help in digestion and hence make for a very healthy diet.
5. Stems Of Cruciferous Veggies Like Broccoli
Cruciferous vegetables are one of the superfoods for nutrition. Both the florets and the stems are edible in this group of vegetable though we tend to throw away the stem while cooking. Broccoli stems are low in calories and have more nutrients than the flower. The stems are rich in fiber and vitamins. The cruciferous vegetables and their different parts are also rich in flavonoids, anthocyanins, coumarins, carotenoids, antioxidant enzymes, terpenes and other minor compounds. The intake of these vegetables is also associated with lower incidences of many chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular ailments. These vegetables are also effective as anti-inflammatory agents.8
6. Apple And Banana Skin
You tend to throw the banana skin away, but it is still food because there is plenty of nutrition in it. Banana peels are packed with melatonin and dopamine and also contain concentrated amounts of the same powerful antioxidant phenolics as the fruit. They are natural sources of antioxidants and pro-vitamin A. The potential antioxidants are effective in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.9
The peels of apples are high in phenolic compounds. The total phenolic and flavonoid contents are highest in the peels followed by the flesh. The peels also have significantly higher antioxidant activities than the flesh with the peel. The peels are shown to more effectively inhibit the growth of human liver cancer cells than the other apple components. Hence, apple peels can be regarded as a valuable source of antioxidants.10
Vegetable and fruit skins are the outer layers offering protection to the nutrients. These peels are equally or more nutritious than the flesh inside. Include the skin scraps, leftover stalks or stem from veggies in soups, salads or pasta sauces to flavor your dish and to add nutritional benefits to your daily food.
|↑1||Ridgwell, Jenny. Examining food and nutrition. Heinemann, 1996.|
|↑2||Yasoubi, P., M. Barzegar, M. A. Sahari, and M. H. Azizi. “Total phenolic contents and antioxidant activity of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) peel extracts.” Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology 9 (2010): 35-42.|
|↑3||Bright, Heidi. “Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey.” Sunstone Press, 2016.|
|↑4||Mohanapriya, M., Dr. Lalitha Ramaswamy, and Dr. R. Rajendran. “Health and medicinal properties of Lemon (CITRUS LIMONUM).” international Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine 3, no. 01 (2013).|
|↑5||Kähkönen, Marja P., Anu I. Hopia, Heikki J. Vuorela, Jussi-Pekka Rauha, Kalevi Pihlaja, Tytti S. Kujala, and Marina Heinonen. “Antioxidant activity of plant extracts containing phenolic compounds.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 47, no. 10 (1999): 3954-3962.|
|↑6||Jung, Ji Young, Yeni Lim, Min Sun Moon, Ji Yeon Kim, and Oran Kwon. “Onion peel extracts ameliorate hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in high-fat diet/streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.” Nutrition & metabolism 8, no. 1 (2011): 18.|
|↑7||Miles, Kristine. Green Smoothies for Every Season: A Year of Farmers Market Fresh Super Drinks. Ulysses Press, 2014.|
|↑8||Manchali, Shivapriya, Kotamballi N. Chidambara Murthy, and Bhimanagouda S. Patil. “Crucial facts about health benefits of popular cruciferous vegetables.” Journal of Functional Foods 4, no. 1 (2012): 94-106.|
|↑9||Pereira, Aline, and Marcelo Maraschin. “Banana (Musa spp) from peel to pulp: ethnopharmacology, a source of bioactive compounds and its relevance for human health.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 160 (2015): 149-163.|
|↑10||Wolfe, Kelly, Xianzhong Wu, and Rui Hai Liu. “Antioxidant activity of apple peels.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 51, no. 3 (2003): 609-614.|