Experts advise instead of throwing the peels away, you should consider consuming them for added nutritional value.
By: Kimberly Rodrigues
Oranges and lemons are widely consumed fruits, but their peels are often discarded after zesting. Yet, it is argued that these peels are a rich source of nutrients like fibre, vitamin C, and plant compounds with potential health benefits.
In fact, some experts advise instead of throwing the peels away, you should consider consuming them for added nutritional value.
Speaking about the same, Dr Smriti Jhunjhunwala, BHMS nutritionist, dietician, and founder of VitalSwasthya, a homeopathy and online consultation company, told the Indian Express, “The power-packed citrus fruits, oranges, and lemons have got a tough and thick outer covering loaded with hidden nutrients that can be very beneficial for our health.”
Lemon, along with grapefruits, limes, and oranges, is a widely consumed citrus fruit. Despite its high usage for its pulp and juice, the peel is often discarded. But research has shown that lemon peel is abundant in bioactive compounds that offer various health advantages, Healthline informs.
Also, as we all know, oranges are juicy and sweet fruits with a high amount of vitamin C. But did you know that the orange peels too are just as nutritious? It contains fibre, vitamin C, and polyphenols which are beneficial plant compounds.
So, the next time you purchase oranges or lemons, don’t throw away the peels after you’re done enjoying their juicy content, as they are packed with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C which is found in higher concentration than in the fruit itself. So, keep saving those peels for later use!
Dr Smriti adds, “The peels of these fruits are rich in phytochemicals (compounds which help to resist bacterial and fungal infections) and antioxidants (prevent cellular damage), and you will be surprised to know that the peels contain more vitamin C as compared to the inner flesh which we eat.”
According to the expert, limonene, a compound found in citrus peels has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
“They act as immune boosters when taken for a longer duration in the right amounts,” she states.
Benefits of lemon and orange peels
Don’t throw away lemon peel the next time you use it in a recipe. Studies show that it has numerous health benefits, including fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants that can support oral, immune, and heart health.
It may also have anti-cancer properties. So, keep the peel and put it to good use.
According to an earlier report by Healthline, diets high in vitamin C and fibre have been shown to support heart and digestive health and potentially protect against certain cancers.
Orange peel is a good source of nutrients such as provitamin A, folate, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, and calcium.
Additionally, it contains polyphenols, plant compounds that may aid in the prevention and management of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Orange peels are particularly rich in the polyphenols hesperidin and polymethoxyflavones (PMFs), both of which are being researched for their potential cancer-fighting effects.
Furthermore, nearly 90 per cent of the essential oils found in orange peels are comprised of limonene, a naturally occurring chemical with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, including against skin cancer.
The compound limonene is also reportedly found in lemons and other citrus fruits.
How to add lemon & orange peels to your diet
Using lemon and orange peels is incredibly easy, according to Carleigh Bodrug, a plant-based, low-waste recipe influencer on social media.
Taking to her Instagram account she shares, “After you’ve peeled your lemons, store in the freezer. When you’re ready, dehydrate them either in the sun or on the lowest setting of your oven until they are hard to the touch. Blend them up and you have lemon peel powder (similar to lemon zest).”
There are many other ways to increase your lemon peels intake, such as:
• Adding lemon zest to baked goods, salads, or yogurt
• Grating the peel of frozen lemons and using it as a topping for soups, drinks, dressings, and marinades
• Dehydrating the peels by cutting them into strips and baking at 200°F (93°C), then adding to tea
• Chopping dehydrated peels and mixing them with salt and pepper to make a homemade seasoning
• Adding fresh peel to hot tea or your favorite cocktail
You can also purchase lemon peel in powdered or candied form.
Here’s how to increase your orange peels intake:
• Although you can eat orange peel directly, it is recommended to consume it in small amounts to avoid stomach discomfort.
• The peel can be cut into thin strips with a knife or vegetable peeler and added to salads or smoothies. For a sweeter option, it can be candied or used to make marmalade.
• Another way to incorporate orange peel into your diet is by using orange zest, which can be added to yogurt, oatmeal, muffins, salad dressings, or marinades.
However, if you decide to use orange and lemon peels, it is advised that you remember to wash the fruits properly before trying them in order to get rid of any pesticide residue.