The standard practice for preparing a vegetable or fruit is to wash it, peel it, cut it and cook it. Most of us simply throw fruit and veggie peels away, but we might be throwing away the most nutritious part. Research from the Royal Society of Medicine found that some peels have some health benefits that the flesh of the fruit or vegetable may not have. Produce peel can provide the following health benefits:
- Antioxidants (used to heal the fruit while it is still growing)
- Anti-inflammatory compounds
- High nutrient content
- Antibacterial/antiviral compounds
- Digestive aids
- High fibre content
The following five produce peels are particularly high in nutrients.
Kiwi’s furry brown skin is a turnoff for many, but if you can stand the texture, the peel is full of beneficial ingredients. The skin is three times higher in antioxidants than the flesh and has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
How do I eat it? Golden kiwi has all of the health benefits with less fur.
Banana peel may not seem like something edible, but it is packed with beneficial compounds. Banana peels are high in serotonin, which can boost mood and help regulate mental disorders. Banana peel, just like most other fruit peels, have beneficial antioxidants that are particularly beneficial for eye health.
How do I eat it? Push the peel through a juicer and mix with other produce.
Potato skins are some of the healthiest produce skins you can eat. Potato skins have high levels of vitamin C, zinc, potassium, iron, fibre and phosphorous. The inside of the potato is starchy and can contribute to weight gain, but the skin of a potato is a healthy choice.
How do I eat it? Anytime you make a potato dish, leave the skins on.
Squash and pumpkin
Squash are in season during the fall and winter. Squash contain high levels of vitamin A and zinc. Squash skins also contain high levels of antioxidants and higher levels of the vitamins found in squash flesh. Pumpkins may have skin that is too firm to eat, but the closer you get to the skin, the more nutrients you will receive.
How do I eat it? Try cutting your squash in half and baking it in a dish with water.
Orange and citrus
It’s hard to imagine biting into the peel of your orange, but discarding this part of a citrus fruit may be a mistake. Citrus fruits contain super-flavonoid antioxidants in the peel only, which work to reduce cholesterol. There are 20 times more antioxidants in orange peel than in the flesh. The peel also contains high levels of pectin and fibre, and that fibre can feed beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
How do I eat it? Let the peel dry and grind it up. Use the powder as a flavouring for recipes. Use fresh zest and grated citrus peel to flavour salads and other dishes. Juice whole oranges rather than using just the fruit