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Citrus peels, beneficial for health

Rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, the peels of the citrus fruits that we eat apparently contain even more vitamin C than the pulp. All the more reason not to throw them away! Here’s what we can do with them…

Lemons and oranges, the most popular of citrus fruits, are appreciated either in summer – when we enjoy refreshing lemonade – or in winter, when we consume them for immunity and fill the house with their refreshing fragrance. Regardless of the season, the predilection to enjoy these fruits leaves behind many residues that could be particularly useful to us, show several studies published in specialized medical journals. More specifically, the peels of orange, lemon, and lime constitute real “bombs” of nutrients. The other members of the citrus family, tangerines or clementines, are no exception

Thick and fragrant, lemon peels are rich in vitamin C, as well as other essential elements. A single tablespoon of lemon peel can provide up to 10% of the daily requirement, but also a significant amount of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, which provide benefits for maintaining dental health, immunity, cardiovascular disease control, as well as important anti-tumor properties. A compound present in them – “limonene” – can reduce the risk of certain chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease by acting as immune boosters if taken regularly.

Orange peels as well are rich in flavonoids like PMF (polymethoxyflavones) and hesperidin, as well as other health-promoting phytochemicals. Flavonoids are those antioxidant chemicals that can help prevent chronic disease. Orange peel also contains dietary fiber, several minerals, as well as vitamins A, B, and C, which support the proper functioning of the lungs, heart, eyes, and digestive system. Our skin can also benefit from the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of the peels of these citrus fruits, maintaining its youthful appearance for longer.

Okay, but how can we take advantage of these benefits when eating citrus peels is out of the question, especially since they can often be coated with substances intended to protect them on their way from the producer to the shelf? It is not complicated at all: immerse them in hot water for 2-3 minutes before consumption; this will melt the wax film, but it will also make the fruit juicier, being easier to squeeze for lemonade or fresh.

Once you separate the skins from the pulp, refrigerate them in a container with a lid, and when more are collected, dehydrate them (using a special device or in a slightly hot oven) until they become firm, then use a strong blender to grind them into powder. You can store them separately or combined, and add them to cakes (alternative to grated skin and macerated with sugar), ice cream, smoothies, but also in marinades for meat or side dishes.

The powder obtained from citrus peels can also be used in skin care – especially if you have oily skin or acne: mix a spoonful of citrus powder with 2-3 drops of fresh lemon juice, a teaspoon of honey, and half of a mashed banana. Apply the mixture to your face and leave it for 30 minutes before rinsing it off.

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