6 things we throw away but should eat instead!

178723441Did you know that some parts of fruit and vegetables that we often throw away contain huge health benefits? Many fruit and vegetables have skins and leaves that are more colourful than the flesh – a sign that it contains nutritious phytochemicals like carotenoids and flavonoids, and one of the overriding messages at the moment is that we should eat a more colourful diet in order to get a greater variety of antioxidants.

Here are six of the best…

Onion skin is rich in quercetin, which may reduce blood pressure and prevent clogged arteries. Quercetin has also displayed considerable anti-inflammatory activity, restraining both the production and release of histamine and other allergic and inflammatory sources, meaning that it may be useful for hay fever sufferers.

There is some evidence that cooking meats with onions may help reduce the amount of carcinogens produced when meat is cooked using high-heat methods, such as on the barbecue – just remember to remove the tough onion skin before eating!

How to include it in your diet: Use it when cooking stocks, soups and stews and remove just before serving!

Melon rind is rich in citrulline, an amino acid that contributes to the dilation of blood vessels and improves circulation. It has been used to improve conditions as diverse as sexual dysfunction and sickle cell disease.

How to include it in your diet: Blend the rind with the flesh for a super fresh smoothie.

Broccoli leaves are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamins A and C – 320 per cent of your recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin A and 155 per cent of your RDA of vitamin C.

How to include it in your diet: Cook them just as you would cabbage, and while you’re at it, don’t forget that the stems are a good source of fibre and are a great crunchy snack when sliced.

Celery leaves contain five times more magnesium and calcium than the stalks. They also contain vitamin C and phenolics – powerful antioxidants that may help combat cancer, heart disease and even ageing!

How to include it in your diet: Use them as you would celery – add to soups, salads, sauces, relishes etc.

Chard stems are packed with glutamine, antioxidants and phenolic compounds the stems are as edible as the leaves.

How to include it in your diet: Steam the stems whole just as you would asparagus.

Orange peel, probably the best known of all the peels is a powerhouse of fibre, flavonoids and vitamins. Anecdotal evidence shows that an active chemical in orange peels (d-limonene) helps relieve heartburn and indigestion. The good concentration of vitamin C helps boost the immune system and could help ward off respiratory infections.

In addition, peel extract can be used as an antibacterial cleanser, made into an insect repellent and even a grease-busting kitchen cleaner! It has also been used to naturally whiten stained teeth. Pectin and other fibre found in the white layer beneath the skin of the orange can also help curb appetite and suppress hunger for up to four hours.

How to include it in your diet: Whip up the whole fruit (pith and all), into a delicious smoothie.

Laurence Beeken, Food Information Executive at WeightLossResources.co.uk

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