The Power of Organic Peels: 8 Fruit + Vegetable Peels Worth Eating

The Power of Organic Peels: 8 Fruit + Vegetable Peels Worth Eating

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Benefits of Bioflavonoids

I have written about the numerous bioflavonoids found in the peels of organic oranges, grapefruits, limes and lemons and their benefits for a healthy prostate, hemorrhoids, lymph drainage, blood sugar, cardiovascular health, inflammation and more. Citrus peels have been found to have neuroprotective properties shown to boost cognitive function in the elderly. In addition, research has demonstrated that people who regularly consumed higher amounts of citrus peels may benefit from protective effects against skin cancer.

See also Your Lymphatic System and Hemorrhoids, Swollen Ankles and Varicose Veins 

In a 2023 study in the journal Current Research in Food Science,  researchers discovered that there are significantly more beneficial flavonoids in the peels of certain fruits and veggies in comparison to the sweet pulp. The peels have developed over millions of years to provide immunity and protection for the plant’s seeds. The sweet pulp of a fruit evolved to provide glucose as fuel to the seeds to help them germinate and grow. When these protective phytochemicals are consumed by us, it is called xenohormesis: when consuming the protective plant parts can offer protection to us.

This 2023 study concluded that for both healthspan and lifespan, including the peels of the following fruits and veggies in your diet should be a part of a healthy diet.

While many of us will reject the idea of eating a bitter peel that you would normally discard, it is just a matter of what you are used to. Perception of food that is fit to eat changes from culture to culture. For example, I was sorting through some penpal letters from kids in Uganda to kids in Colorado for a foundation my family supports (the Mwebaza Foundation). One little Ugandan girl wrote about how excited she was that grasshopper season was coming soon, and how she loved them as her favorite treat!

Still think I’m crazy? You may already be consuming fruit peels in some of your favorite health foods. A 2022 study in the journal Evidence based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported on the growing use of fruit and vegetable peels in foods. Potato peels at a concentration of as much as 15% are being added to your biscuits and bread. Apple peels are added to your pasta, watermelon rind can be added to increase the moisture content of your favorite cake. Food producers are adding mango peels to snack foods and pastas to enhance the cohesiveness of the dough. Grape pomace and orange peel are being added to jams.

Many of these bioflavonoid rich vegetable and fruit peels are being used to enhance flavor and texture, but they are also being used to extend shelf life and protect the products from bacteria. Passion fruit peel is being added to bread, cookies and pasta to help them resist spoiling. They also add peels from pomegranates and other fruits to meat, sausage, pork, and fish to protect them from bacterial contamination and oxidation.

8 Peels to Provide Health

Here are 8 fruit and veggie peels worth a try. Note: Opt for organically-grown options if you want to try any of these peels to avoid any pesticides and residues. Wash your fruit before consumption. Start slowly to ensure you can tolerate eating the peel.

1. Apple

According to a National Geographic article, apple peels were found to have 300% more vitamin K, 140% more vitamin A and 100% more vitamin C than the pulp of the apple.

2. Eggplant

The dark purple skin of an eggplant contains a phytochemical called nasunin, which has been found to be protective for both the brain and cell membranes. It serves as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant while lowering LDL cholesterol.

3. Mango

Mango peels are loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, fiber, and pectin as well as numerous antioxidants. Some of the constituents of the mango peel like mangiferin, beta carotene and phenolic acid have been studied to have antimicrobial, antidiabetic and anti-cancer properties. Please note: Test your ability to eat mango peels with a small amount at first. Mango peel allergies are not uncommon, so make sure you can tolerate them before consuming an entire peel.

4. Carrot

The most phytonutrient-rich part of a carrot is in the peel, which most of us throw away. A carrot peel accounts for only 11% of the carrot’s total weight but it has 54% of the carrot’s antioxidant polyphenols. The carotenoids, vitamin K, niacin, and vitamin C are found in much higher concentrations within the peel than in the carrot pulp.

5. Kiwi

The fuzzy peel of a kiwi may not appear to be too appetizing, but once again, the skin is where the benefits are. Pound for pound, the skin has two times the amount of fiber compared to the pulp, in addition to higher levels of vitamin E and folate.

6. Tomato

Tomatoes are famous for their high concentration of lycopene, which is known to support prostate health and fight cancer. While skins of all the fruits and vegetables mentioned are harder to digest than the pulp, once again the biggest bang for the buck is in the peel. Eighty percent of the lycopene is found in the tomato skin compared to the pulp. The tomato skin is also rich in B vitamins and vitamin C.

7. Potato

More than half of a potato’s fiber is found in its skin! Potato skins are loaded with vitamin C, iron, potassium, and B vitamins. While we may find chewing on the skin of a baked potato to be tasty, remember to resist the temptation to peel the sweet, white, purple, and red potatoes, too.

8. Orange / Citrus fruits

There is plenty of research on the benefits of bioflavonoids in orange peel and pith (the white part between peel and pulp). For the full list of reasons and science behind why you should try eating your next orange with the peel too, see my article on 10 Reasons to Enjoy Citrus Peel + Pith. The health benefits are so compelling that we also have a product called Lymph-Vein HP, for an easy-to-absorb, micronized form of these flavonoids. Lymph-Vein HP is a great option if your digestion is not strong enough to handle the tough orange or lemon peels.

Learn more about Lymph-Vein HP here.

To get started eating fruit and vegetable peels, first you must ensure that they are organic. To make them more palatable, they can be cooked, cut into small pieces along with the pulp, or blended into a smoothie. I try to eat one whole, organic navel orange a day to get the bioflavonoids and phytochemicals that even the healthiest diets tend to lack. 

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Dr. John

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