We donít often think about this, but just like us, plants also have to combat environmental stress. To protect themselves from the constant onslaught of the elements, they concentrate most of their healing compounds and substances on their topmost layer, kind of like how humans build fortresses to keep the enemy out.
And yet, we regularly discard the peels and skins of whole foods, not realizing how beneficial they can be for us. The next time you eat these four foods, keep the peel on.
Almonds: Next time you buy almonds, donít go for the slivered variety. The brown skin of almonds promotes good bacteria in the gut, thus helping the digestive process. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition reports that the skin of almond has essential flavonoids that combine with the †Vitamin E in the meat of the nut to deliver powerful cholesterol lowering benefits. When you eat an almond without the skin, the nutís LDL-reducing power is diminished.
Citrus Fruit: Grate organic orange zest onto desserts. Try some lemon zest in your pasta. Let the grated skin of grapefruit add flavor to your salads. Orange peel covered in dark chocolate is not only delicious but good for you. Thatís because the skin of citrus fruit contains about four times more fiber than the fruit itself. Furthermore, a 2003 study on the benefits of orange peel observed that it contains a natural compound that can fight cancer.
Apples: The deeper you cut into an apple, the fewer nutrients you are going to get. Put away the peeler, and enjoy the fruit, whole. Studies have shown that apple peel can lower bad cholesterol and reduce other blood fats, thus protecting you from heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The peel also nourishes muscles, preventing muscle atrophy in the late years of life.
Onions: This is a surprising one for many of us, but research studies have shown that onion skins contain powerful health-boosting flavonoids, anti-inflammatory substances and antioxidants. Simmer your soups with onions, skin and all. When the soup is done, you can discard the outer layer of the onion, but you will have reaped some of its health benefits.