Honestly, it’s funny when you think about it. We literally toss the best parts of our favorite citrus fruits, like oranges, into the trash.
Okay, to be fair, they don’t taste the best. But it turns out the pith and peels that we routinely discard are loaded with nutrients.
In fact, they contain potent compounds that can help keep our blood vessels as clean as a whistle. Plus, incredibly, those same nutrients could help us fight cancer too.
Yet nearly everyone (me included) dumps those nutrient-dense parts right into the garbage without a second thought. But after you see the science, you’re likely to think twice before you do it next time.
Because today I’m not just going to reveal what this “trash” can do for your health. I’ll also share how to make it part of your routine without forcing yourself to munch on the least appealing parts of the fruit.
The hidden treasure in your citrus “trash”
We’re all focused on the fleshy, juicy part of the orange. In fact, we’re so obsessed with getting to the delicious insides that they’re now breeding oranges where the peels practically fall right off.
And the pith, or the white stringy bits in the middle? Well, that’s just in the way.
But maybe it’s time for a closer look. Because that trash is actually a treasure. Researchers have found that the pith and peels contain potent compounds that can do far more for your health than the orange alone.
The animal study focused on an artery-damaging compound found inside the digestive tract called trimethylamine, or TMA.
As your levels of TMA rise, so do your risks for hardened arteries and heart disease. But the mice which got the citrus compounds dodged that fate. The nutrients transformed the microbiota in their gut and blocked the formation of TMA.
But as impressive as that is, the benefits don’t end there. Earlier animal and lab studies have found the same citrus compounds can also help block tumors. Some research even concluded that in some cases they were associated with a 70 percent lower cancer risk when taken with THIS beverage.
Of course, keep in mind these aren’t human studies. So we will need more clinical research on people to be completed before we can say for sure that these citrus compounds will have the same effect on humans.
But there’s already a stack of promising research. That includes a human study that found citrus peel was linked to a reduced risk of skin cancer. And this has many experts concluding that these extracts have great potential for us too.
Orange peel delivers MORE flavor and benefits
Now, if the idea of biting through the peel the next time you eat an orange makes you want to gag, you’re not alone. I feel the same way.
But, don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you do that. After all, the plain peel is bitter and far from appetizing when eaten in large chunks.
But you can use it to add citrus zest to your dishes. If you don’t already own a citrus zester, I suggest investing in one. It took my cooking to a whole new level. And it will only set you back a few dollars.
Just be sure to use organic citrus fruits and wash them in hot water before zesting them.
Orange zest (lemon and grapefruit, too) adds a bright zing of flavor to sauces and chutneys and can add a fun citrus twist to salads, soups, salsas, meat dishes, veggies, and even your afternoon tea.
Plus, you probably peel away the pith out of habit. But there’s no reason to. The pith isn’t bitter. In fact, it has no real taste of its own. So you can just leave it on when you eat the orange.
That way, you get all the benefits of those healthy citrus compounds. But you don’t give up any of the same delicious orange flavors.
Eating citrus fruits isn’t the only way to boost your levels of these valuable nutrients. They’re also found in modified citrus pectin (MCP) supplements.
Folks who have unique health risks might want higher levels of these compounds than they can get eating the fruit alone. So a supplement is a great option. You can look for MCP online, or anywhere they sell supplements.
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