In order to have a healthy body and avoid disease from deficiencies, it is important to not eat calorie-dense food but to eat nutrient-dense food. God has provided abundantly through plants all that is required for a healthy active lifestyle. What many are missing is the whole in whole foods. We need to use our brains to override our stomachs when it comes to food choices.
Many people throw away the most nutrient-dense parts of plants in exchange for tastier and more refined foods. With the progression of poor health in the United States and other countries, those that are wise will choose to include more nutrient-dense parts of plants in their diet to give their bodies the nutrition it needs.
Knowledge is the key to making wise choices in food preparation. Those that are in charge of making food for others should educate themselves in the best and healthiest ways to prepare foods.
One of the areas that I would like to draw your attention to is the skin of foods. The skin of fruits and vegetables is mostly thought of as a protection of the good stuff inside. What many do not realize, or choose to ignore, is that the skin of fruits and vegetables has large quantities of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and more.
Here are some peels you might want to consider using in your food instead of discarding them.
An apple skin contains almost half of its overall dietary fiber content. A medium apple has about 200 grams of potassium, 9 milligrams of vitamin C, and 100 IUs of vitamin A. When you remove the skin, you lose about one-third of those nutrients. The skin has four times more vitamin K than the inside part, which is almost 5% of your daily value. Vitamin K helps form blood clots to repair cuts and scrapes and also helps activate the proteins your body needs for cell growth and healthy bone maintenance. Mostly found in the apple skin is quercetin, an antioxidant, that helps the lungs with breathing and protects your lungs from irritants. Quercetin also fights off brain tissue damage and protects the memory. Another nutrient found in apple peels is triterpenoids. They inhibit or kill certain types of cancer cells. Another is ursolic acid has been shown by studies to decrease risk of obesity, stimulate muscle growth, and increase skeletal muscle.
Peanut skins contain high amounts of bioactives and fiber that promote health and prevent disease. Bioactives such as polyphenols work as antioxidants to protect against heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Peanut skins have the highest antioxidant amounts when compared to other parts of the peanut. Roasted peanuts with skins have a higher antioxidant capacity than blueberries do.
The skin of a potato has more nutrients than the rest of the potato. It has more iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. 100 grams of potato peel contains seven times more calcium and 17 times more iron than the same amount of potato flesh. The skin has 90% of the iron content of a potato and has half of its fiber.
Orange peel has two times the vitamin C as the inside does. It also has higher concentrations of potassium, calcium, riboflavin, magnesium, and vitamin B6. The peel has flavonoids that are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.
The cucumber skin has most of the fruit’s potassium, insoluble fiber, vitamin K, and antioxidants like quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, kaempferol, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. These help fight cancer and lower your risk of chronic diseases including heart disease.
Instead of peeling your next kiwi, try thin slices with the skin intact. The skin has more antioxidants, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, insoluble fiber, and vitamin C than the inside flesh does.
Eggplant skin contains an antioxidant called nasunin which protects against cancer growth. It is also helpful to decrease the aging process. The skin also contains chlorogenic acid, which is a phytochemical that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and promotes glucose tolerance.
The skin of the mango has a nutrient called nutraceuticals which is a phytochemical that has similar benefits as resveratrol which is found in grape skins. This phytochemical helps with energy levels and protection against obesity. It has a polyphenol called quercetin that is helpful in treating conditions of the heart and blood vessels including hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, heart disease, and circulation problems. It is also used for diabetes, cataracts, hay fever, peptic ulcer, schizophrenia, inflammation, asthma, gout, viral infections, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), preventing cancer, and for treating chronic infections of the prostate. Quercetin is also used to increase endurance and improve athletic performance. The mango skin has greater amounts of carotenoids, polyphenols, omega-3, omega-6, and polyunsaturated fatty acids than the inside does.
The peel of the carrot and its flesh have similar nutritional properties, but the highest concentration of phytonutrients is found in the skin and immediately underneath. If you peel the carrot, you lose most its phytonutrients. Simply rinse the carrot rather than peeling it.
The rind of a watermelon has most of its citrulline which is an organic compound amino acid. Citrulline can reduce fatigue and improved endurance for both aerobic and anaerobic prolonged exercise. It also improves the ammonia recycling process, nitric oxide metabolism, and alleviates erectile dysfunction caused by high blood pressure. Try blending it up in a smoothie or blend and add to a fruit sauce for pancakes or waffles.
The humble banana peel, though most people discard it, is something worth considering eating. It contains more potassium then the inside does. It also has the xanthophyll lutein which is a carotenoids. It is used in the body as an antioxidant to protect against cell damage. It may serve as a photoprotectant for the retina from the damaging effects of free radicals produced by blue light. It also contains the amino acid called tryptophan which is believed to ease depression by increasing the body’s levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that affects mood. Try blending it up in a smoothie or for a fruit sauce.
You may not be excited to add in skins and peels into your diet but they were put there for a reason. I encourage you to find creative ways to introduce them into your diet and to your family. Whole foods are a great healthy way to live. Take advantage of all the nutrition you have available to you.Written by Daniel Baldwin
Mango fruit peel and flesh extracts affect adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells., National Center for Biotechnology Information, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22699857
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You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables, STACK, http://www.stack.com/a/fruit-vegetable-peel
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Lutein, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutein