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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

There’s a reason beauty brands use peels to rejuvenate and replenish. They have a lot of goodness trapped inside them. Trisha Ghoroi talks to experts about the benefits of fruit and vegetable peels

Numerous times we’ve thrown away the peels of potato, banana, mango and many other fruits and vegetables, without a second thought. We do this because we consider the peel to be inedible; but that doesn’t mean the peels are waste to be discarded. Peels are one of the richest sources of nutrients, the powers of which you can harness. We spoke with two health experts in the city — Swati Bhushan, chief clinical nutritionist at Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, and Dr. Manjiri Puranik, weight loss expert at InstaSculpt — to shed some light on the matter. According to Swati, the peel and the rind of most fruits and vegetables contain the most nutrition and fibre, sometimes even more than the fruit itself. But, different peels and rinds have different benefits. Here’s what you need to know.

We’ve thrown away peels of the mango, orange and banana, and some of us even peel apples! But, you’ll be surprised to know how rich in nutrients these peels are. Instead of discarding them, find ways to include them, either in your diet or skincare routine, to get the most out of them.

  • Mango Mango peel contains polyphenols in addition to vitamins A and C, and fibre. The polyphenols have fat-burning properties and can help control diabetes, and prevent and fight cancer. However, mango peel also contains urushiol, the active chemical in poison ivy and oak, which can cause a rash, but this is present in very small quantities in the mango skin.
  • Banana Eating the peel of the banana can give you the fibre that you require for healthy digestion, and it also has cosmetic benefits. Use banana peel to whiten your teeth, heal pimples and itchy skin, treat bug bites and as protection from the sun’s harsh UV rays.
  • Citrus fruits It is well known that oranges, sweet limes, lemons and other citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron. So, it should come as no surprise that the peel of these fruits also contains a large amount of vitamin C. The peel of the lemon helps reduce cholesterol as it contains polyphenol flavonoids. You can include these peels in pickles, jams, jellies and preserves.
  • Watermelon The water-laden red (or pink) flesh of the watermelon is the juiciest part, but you can eat the skin (or rind) too. Citrulline, an amino acid present in the rind of watermelon helps improve blood circulation, reduce blood pressure and boost your workout.
  • Avocado Because of the fatty acid present in the peel, it works wonders for your hair and skin. Rub the peel all over your face and hair, leave it on for 20 minutes and wash it off to enjoy the benefits. 

You may not love your vegetables, but they form an important part of your diet. So before you throw out vegetable peels, you should know about some of their benefits.

  • Potato Not only is potato skin rich in antioxidants, fibre and potassium, it also has micronutrients like magnesium. You can also use potato peels to treat puffy eyes, and since the peel contains catecholase, it acts as a skin whitener.
  • Brinjal Dr. Manjiri says, “Brinjal skin contains an antioxidant that offers protection from certain types of cancer, and preliminary research suggests that it might also protect brain tissue from neurodegenerative diseases.” The colour of the brinjal skin comes from a chemical called nasunin, which has antioxidants that protect you from cancer and some skin diseases. So, eat the skin along with the flesh.
  • Cucumber and carrots The peels of these vegetables contain insoluble dietary fibre, potassium and antioxidants. The fibre helps improve bowel movements and keeps your gut healthy. The potassium keeps your blood pressure in check and strengthens your muscles.

The reason we throw the peel out is that it is hard to digest. However, there are ways to incorporate the peel in your diet.

  • Zest some lemon or orange peel to add a tangy flavour to any dish.
  • Eat potato peel by roasting it. Feel free to add some sour cream and herbs to make it appetising.
  • Include cucumber peels in sandwiches by slicing them thinly and incorporating them with cheese.
  • Turn mango peel into a delicious chutney by cooking it with spices such as fenugreek, black pepper, chillies and curry leaves.
  • Include banana peel in your smoothie by blending it with the fruit. However, you should trim off the edges before adding the peel to the blender.
  • Include watermelon rind in your diet by converting it into a pickle. Boil thin slices of rind and leave it in a pickling mixture.
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