Most people are used to peeling many fruits and vegetables, and then throwing the peels out. But what you’re actually getting rid of are the many health benefits of fruit peels.
There are tons of benefits of fruit peels that you miss out on, but lots of the fruit’s vitamins and minerals are located in the peel itself. Don’t peel away these health benefits.
Benefits of Fruit Peels of Different Fruits
1. Banana Peel
There are many benefits of banana peels. Banana peels contain vitamins B6 and B12, magnesium, and potassium. The peel also contains more fiber than the banana flesh, which can help aid digestion. Another benefit of banana peels is that they contain tryptophan, which can increase your serotonin levels, which researchers have found impacts your mood. Having good blood serotonin levels can help reduce the risk of depression due to this mood-stabilizing effect.
If you’re brave, you can eat a banana peel raw. For the rest of us, boil the peel for a few minutes, then blend it into a smoothie with other fruits.
2. Orange Peel
There are lots of orange peel benefits: the peel actually contains four times more fiber than the entire orange. Orange peels are also filled with flavonoids that are known as cancer fighters, namely tangeretin and nobiletin. Orange peels also contain d-limonene, which has been found to fight UV rays and reduce the risk of skin cancer.
The problem, of course, is that orange peels don’t taste as good as the fruit itself. To avoid the bitter taste, break off a piece of orange peel, grate it, and sprinkle it onto your salads or vegetables. This orange zest can enhance any dish, and even tastes good mixed into cookies or cake.
3. Apple Peel
Apple peels contain 87% more cancer-fighting phytochemicals than the apple itself, and apple peel is considerably tastier than orange or kiwi peel, so there’s really no excuse to miss out on the health benefits of apple peel.
4. Cucumber Peel
Next time you want a snack, choose a cucumber—and don’t peel it. Cucumber peels contain silica, a chemical that helps build collagen, which is vital for making your skin last longer than ever.
Even one cucumber peel—which is about five milligrams of silica—will make a difference. Make sure to wash cucumber peels carefully, and if you can afford it, buy organic, because non-organic cucumbers in particular are coated with wax to make them last longer.
5. Watermelon Peel
Luckily, the health benefits of watermelon peel are not the hard, green peel itself—the health benefits of this fruit peel lies in the white rind that you probably leave behind when you’re done munching on a watermelon slice.
Don’t forget to eat the white rind, because it contains the amino acid citruline, which helps dilate blood vessels to improve your body’s circulation.
6. Kiwi Peel
If you’ve never tried kiwi peel, now’s the perfect time. This fuzzy peel contains chemicals that are known for fighting infections like E. coli and Staphylococcus (staph infection). Instead of eating it raw and whole, peel the kiwi and mix it into your smoothie. You can also try cutting kiwi peel into very thin slices and adding it to your salad or vegetable stir fry.
Girdwain, J., “6 Hidden Health Benefits of Eating Peels, Stems and Rinds” Oprah web site; http://www.oprah.com/health/Nutritional-Benefits-of-Eating-Peels-Stems-and-Rinds/, last accessed June 25, 2013.
“Foods That Aren’t Skin Deep,” Women’s Health web site; http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/why-eat-fruit-peels?page=3, last accessed June 25, 2013.