There was a time when the most decadent gift on Christmas morning was a humble orange stuffed into a stocking.
Some say the tradition was a reference to St. Nicholas leaving a bag of gold so a family could pay a dowry.
And certainly, way back when, citrus foods in December in many areas would almost seem as valuable as an actual piece of gold.
Now, of course, these days you can get an orange in any supermarket, any time of year. A Santa-sized sack of America’s favorite citrus fruit will only set you back about $10.
But there’s one part of the orange that SHOULD be considered as valuable as gold. Because locked inside every juicy piece of citrus is a compound that can fight…
- heart disease
- hardened arteries
Yet odds are you’re LITERALLY throwing this miracle compound into the trash.
“Trash to treasure” citrus secret
The most appealing part of the orange is, of course, those sweet, juicy sections of deliciousness inside. But the rest of the orange? Well, not so much.
Those white stringy bits – called the pith – are just in the way of all that orangey goodness. And the peel? Straight into the trash.
But maybe it’s time to start looking at that trash as treasure. Because new research reveals how both the pith and the peel contain potent compounds that can do far more for your health than the orange alone.
The study on mice looked at an artery-damaging compound inside the digestive tract called trimethylamine, or TMA.
The more TMA you have built up in the gut, the bigger your risks – especially of hardened of the arteries and heart disease. But in experiments in mice, the citrus compounds blocked the formation of TMA, so it never built up.
Other animal studies have found those same peel and pith citrus compounds can help stop tumors from forming. Incredibly they could even cut the risk of cancer by as much as 70 percent in some cases.
Stop throwing away your orange peels
Now, don’t worry. I’m not suggesting you bite through the peel the next time you eat an orange. The skin in large chunks can be bitter and not exactly appetizing.
But you can use it to add zest to your dishes. If you don’t already own a citrus zester, it’s a worthwhile addition to your kitchen. It will only set you back a few dollars.
Orange zest adds a bright zing of flavor to sauces and chutneys. This time of year, it makes an excellent addition to cranberry sauce. Plus, it can add a fun citrus twist to salads, soups, salsas, and even your afternoon tea.
And the pith? You might peel it away out of habit, but unlike the bitter peel, it has no taste by itself. So go ahead and just leave it on when you eat the orange.
You’ll get all the same citrus flavor along with a big boost of those healthy compounds.
If you’re facing unique risks and want higher levels, you can get the same compounds found in the pith and peel in a supplement called modified citrus pectin. Look for it online or anywhere supplements are sold.