The best is in the peel

The peel and skin of citrus fruits have remarkable plant substances for our health. Which is why you shouldn’t throw them away, but consume as well.

Article from Mon, 01. May 2017

Much more than just fruit pulp

We all know that citrus fruits are very healthy. Most of the times we do not pay much attention to their peel and throw it away. But it is the peel in particular which has plenty of health-promoting nutrients, even more than the actual pulp. Lemon peel for example contains five to ten times more of vitamins than the juice of the fruit. 

Depending on the fruit variety, the outer, wax-like part of the peel can be yellow, orange or green in colour and is called exocarp. It is particularly thin and has plenty of glands, containing valuable etherial oils. When we cut oranges and lemons for example and process them into juice, these etherial oils leak from the glands and unfold their pleasant scent. The natural etherial oil in citrus fruits generally has a balancing, comforting and clarifying effect on our mind which is why it is used in the aroma therapy and perfumes, among others. In nature, etherial oils have the task to protect the fruit from predators. Once they get in contact with the atmosphere, they evaporate quickly. Etherial oils have an antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect and are therefore also used in skin care products. Thus, lemon oil works against annoying skin impurities. Directly underneath the exocarp lies a white, thicker and sponge-like fibrous layer that is called mesocarp and defines itself from the juicy pulp (endocarp), lying underneath. This part of the peel is considered to be bitter by most of us and is therefore thrown away. But it is precisely the bitter compounds contained in the mesocarp that are THE boost for our health: 

Bitter compounds promote digestion. Already in the mouth cavity, they begin to support our digestion since they release spittle and in this way stimulate the production of digestive juices. Bitter compounds help to deacidify and to dehydrate and ensure that other nutrients from food can be utilized better. When we eat more bitter compounds again what we have downright unlearned by eating convenience food,  our taste buds begin to become more sensitive again, making us more unresponsive to industrial food. They help us in our endeavor for a more natural diet. Bitter compounds are numbered among the bioflavonoids that belong to the large group of secondary plant substances. They are considered to be powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from harmful oxygen radicals and thus slow down the ageing process. Grapefruits and pomelos for example contain rather much naringin that not only works as an antixidant but may also have a positive effect on blood lipids. The mesocarp of oranges contains 20 percent more hesperidin than the pulp. Hesperidin also is an antioxidant and helps to lower the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. It also has a antimicrobial and pain-relieving effect. Studies refer to the positive impact of naringin and hesperidin in the cancer therapy. Beside the bitter compounds, the white fibrous layer of citrus fruits is regarded as on of the best sources for pectin, a dietary fiber that can also be found in apples and that cares for a good feeling of satiety. Furthermore, it regulates high blood glucose levels because the sugar of the fruit ingested at the same time, is absorbed slower by the body.

All in all, citrus fruits offer far more that just healthy pulp which we eat primarily because it tastes juicy, sweet and refreshing and furthermore contains plenty of Vitamin C. Anyone that wants to max out the full potential of these wonderful fruits and wants to do something really good to his or her health, should use the entire fruit on a regular basis. Only in this manner, your body not only gets fruit sugar, vitamins and minerals but also the valuable bioflavonoids and dietary fiber. Take care to ensure that you only use untreated fruits from organic farming because only these are cultivated without pesticides and their peels is not being waxed. You will be surprised of how good a lemon-smoothie tastes, for example with the fresh juice of oranges.

BITTER LEMON-ORANGE SMOOTHIE (FOR TWO)

  • 1 ripe organic lemon with peel, cored 
  • 300 ml fresh orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)

Thoroughly wash the lemon, cut in half and core. Pour the fresh orange juice into a blender and add the cored lemon fruit including its peel. Process all ingredients into a creamy smoothie at the highest level. If necessary, add some fresh water. Optionally, garnish with peppermint and serve.

BITTER ORANGE-PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE (FOR TWO)

  • 1 ripe organic orange with peel, cored
  • 300 ml pineapple juice (preferably freshly squeezed)

Thoroughly wash the orange, cut in half and core. Pour the fresh pineapple juice into a blender and add the cored orange fruit including its peel. Process all ingredients into a creamy smoothie at the highest level. If necessary, add some fresh water. Optionally, garnish with peppermint and serve.

Note: In order to neutralize the effect of the fruit acids on the tooth enamel, you should ‚chew’ and drink a glass of still water after the consumption of the smoothie. This lowers the pH-value and protects our teeth. But don’t worry: Fruits acids may affect the tooth enamel and, dependent on sensitivity, may also cause heatburn: In the blood, citrus fruits work anything but ‚acidic‘. They rather contribute to a regulated acid-base balance and help to deacidify the body.