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Love the Skin It’s In

Filed Under: Health Foods at 9:20 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Citrus FruitsWhen you grab an orange from the fruit bowl, what’s the first thing you do? Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’d bet that you peel it. You dig your thumb into the rind, pulling it away from the juicy flesh. As you savor each skinless slice, the discarded peel is pushed into the trash, forgotten. The same thing occurs when you reach for a tangerine, banana or even an apple. But in throwing away the skin, you’re missing out on some valuable health benefits.

The skins of fruits and vegetables are filled with antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols. Many peels, in fact, have more nutrients than the actual flesh. Take tangerines, for example. Researchers have found that tangerine peels contain Salvestrol Q40, a compound that effectively destroys the cancer cells associated with breast, lung, prostate and ovarian cancer.  While the fruit’s meat also contains Salvestrol, the concentration is considerably higher in the rind. So rather than tossing the peel, you might want to take a bite. And when you’re considering your other fruit options, consider the following first:

• Tangerines aren’t the only fruit packed with cancer-fighting compounds. Red apple and grape skins are also known to effectively protect against the disease.�
• Citrus peels and apple skins are a great source of soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
• Skins from vegetables like potatoes have enough insoluble fiber to help you stay regular and control your weight.
• If you’re lacking in minerals, the cucumber peel provides you with a healthy dose of silicum, magnesium and potassium.
• Nearly every type of produce has a skin worth keeping. The next time you’re looking for a fruit fix, keep the peeler in the drawer and savor the skin.

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