Oranges are ones of the most popular and beneficial citrus fruits, but only a few people are aware of the benefits of the consumption of their peels.
Apparently, the orange peels are a rich source of flavonoids, such as hesperidin and polymethoxyflavones (PMFs), and other phytochemicals.
Flavonoids are antioxidant compounds found in some vegetables, fruits, spices, and herbs, and effectively prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They give the peel an intense, bitter taste.
Orange peels are also high in other nutrients, like magnesium, vitamin A, B vitamins, copper, calcium, and dietary fiber. Also, 3.5 ounces of orange peel contains 136 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, and the flesh contains 71 mg.
Hesperidin, the flavonoid found in orange peels regulates blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. Moreover, it has potent anti-inflammatory properties. This flavonoid reduced diastolic blood pressure in middle-aged, overweight men in a month.
Additionally, studies have shown that the polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) in orange peels reduce cholesterol more effectively than prescription drugs, and do not cause their side effects.
According to the lead author of this study, Elzbieta Kurowska, Ph.D., vice president of research at KGK Synergize in Ontario, Canada:
“Our study has shown that PMFs have the most potent cholesterol-lowering effect of any other citrus flavonoid … We believe that PMFs have the potential to rival and even beat the cholesterol-lowering effect of some prescription drugs, without the risk of side effects.”
These flavonoids are able to inhibit the RLIP76 protein, which is related to obesity and cancer.
Sanjay Awasthi, M.D., professor in the Division of Molecular Diabetes Research at City of Hope hospital, said:
“When you get rid of this [RLIP76] gene in a mouse, it would appear that the mouse can’t get obese, it can’t get diabetes, it can’t get high cholesterol and it can’t get cancer.”
Flavonoids in the peel of citrus fruits have potent anti-cancer effects as well. The findings of a research published in the journal BioMed Research International indicate:
“Due to their broad range of pharmacological properties, citrus flavonoids have gained increased attention. Accumulative in vitro and in vivo studies indicate protective effects of polymethoxyflavones (PMFs) against the occurrence of cancer.
PMFs inhibit carcinogenesis by mechanisms like blocking the metastasis cascade, inhibition of cancer cell mobility in circulatory systems, proapoptosis, and antiangiogenesis.
… Taken all together, a considerable number of well-established lines of evidence have confirmed that flavonoids in citrus peel exhibit a remarkable spectrum of efficacious biological activities, particularly in anti-tumorigenesis.
Excellent permeability through membrane allows citrus flavonoids to possess great bioavailability, which consequently attracts researchers to perform scientific studies for effective disease prevention and treatment.”
Anti-Allergic and Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
The peels of citrus fruits inhibit the release of histamine, so they effectively prevent allergic reactions. They also help the body to get rid of phlegm, cleanse the lungs, boost immunity, and treat respiratory illnesses such as colds and flu.
The extract of the citrus peels fights inflammation in a similar way as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin. Moreover, orange peels also offer the following health benefits:
- Help weight loss: Orange peels are high in fiber and low in calories
- Improve digestion and accelerates metabolism
- Improves oral health: To whiten your teeth, treat bad breath, and soothe teeth sensitivity, chew orange peels or rub the inside on your teeth
- Improve skin appearance: Rub orange peel extract mixed with some milk to tone the skin and lighten dark spots
The peels of all citrus fruits are extremely beneficial. Yet, make sure you use organic fruits only. Since limes, lemons, and oranges often contain pesticide residue, make sure you wash them well before use.
Then, you can grate the zest and add it to salads, vegetables, dressings, yogurt, and desserts. Also, you can blend the peel and add it to smoothies.
Furthermore, the stems, seeds, leaves, peels, and rinds of other fruits and vegetables can also be very healthy. They are often full of nutrients and phytochemicals.
Here are some instances:
-Onions skins contain the highest amounts of flavonoids. Simmer them in soups and remove them before consumption.
-Watermelon rinds and seeds contain more citrulline than the pink flesh. This amino acid is converted into arginine in the kidneys and supports immunity and heart health. Moreover, black watermelon seeds are edible and are high in protein, fiber, iron, and zinc.
-Celery tops are higher in calcium and magnesium than the stalks.
-The peel of passion fruits is high in bioflavonoids that soothe a cough, wheeze, and shortness of breath in the case of asthma.
-Broccoli leaves contain 90% of the daily need of vitamin A, and the florets contain only 3%.
-Swiss chard stems are abundant in the amino acid glutamine, which boosts the immune system.