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Health: Fruit appeal; A new report says that tangerine peel contains more goodness than the fruit itself. And you may be binning the best bits of other food, too... By LOLLIE BARR.

Byline: LOLLIE BARR

THE next time you're cursing about having to peel yet another spud, don't bother and cook it with the skin on.

Not only will you save time, you'll also get essential nutrients.

"It's important to use every part of fruit and vegetables as nutrients are distributed throughout the whole plant," says Dr Francesca Oakley, a nutritionist from The Food Consultancy. "There can even be more goodness in the bits we usually throw away."

Tangerine peel is an excellent example. It has more potent health benefits than the juice and can even lower cholesterol, according to a recent study by Elzbieta M. Kurowska PhD from KGK Synergize Inc, in London, Ontario.

Here are other foods where we should use the stuff we throw away, plus tips on what to do with it...

Orange and lemons

Citrus fruits are great for Vitamin C and folic acid, which helps make oxygen-carrying red blood cells. But the peel has oils which protect against cancer and phytochemicals that reduce cholesterol levels.

HOW TO USE THEM: Add grated orange peel to cauliflower cheese or cakes and muffins for a zesty punch.

Potatoes

You can almost double your intake of most nutrients by eating the skin. It's a great source of fibre, potassium, iron, phosphorous, zinc and Vitamin C. "Amazingly, potatoes are the major source of Vitamin C in the British diet," says Oakley

HOW TO USE THEM: Roast potatoes with their skins intact for crunchy oven chips.

Spring onions and leeks

Don't just eat the white bulbs and discard the green leaves. The green parts have a higher concentration of minerals and phytochemicals - a great source of disease-fighting antioxidants. The darker green parts also contain more iron and folic acid.

HOW TO USE THEM: Chop up a fresh spring onion, including the white and green parts, to garnish a potato salad. Use the whole of the leek when cooking leek-and-potato soup.

Apples

Peeling the skin off an apple means throwing away the fibre.

Almost half the Vitamin C is just under the skin so you're losing that, too. And most of the fragrance cells are in the skin, so you could also end up with tasteless fruit if you peel it.

HOW TO USE THEM: Bake apples in their skin and serve with yoghurt and cinnamon for a delicious dessert.

Broccoli

Nutrient-dense broccoli is full of antioxidant vitamins, minerals

and several potent phytochemicals that have been found to combat cancer.

Don't make the mistake of only using the florets and discarding the stalks, as they are the most nutritious part.

Peel the outside skin from the stalk and cook as you would the rest of the broccoli.

HOW TO USE THEM: Cut the stalks into thin slices and add to stir-fries.

Pumpkin

Pumpkins are high in zinc - which helps promote healthy skin and nails - and high in beta carotene and Vitamins A and C. Don't ditch the seeds, though.

These are a fabulous source of Vitamin A, calcium, zinc, Omega 6 and essential fatty acids that keep your brain healthy and can help balance hormones.

HOW TO USE THEM: Wash in warm water and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Use to sprinkle on salads and soups.

Garlic

Peeling pesky garlic cloves could mean you are taking away the phenylpropanoids, which are found beneath the skin in the velvety membrane covering the garlic. They are rich in antioxidant compounds, known to help fight the ageing process and protect the heart.

HOW TO USE THEM: Slice a whole garlic head in half length-ways, then add to your baking tray when cooking a roast dinner.

Tinned sardines and salmon

Oily fish are great for Omega 3 fatty acids but if you pick out the soft little bones in sardines and salmon you're missing out on a fantastic source of the bone-building minerals calcium and potassium.

HOW TO USE THEM: Mashing sardines or salmon in a bowl with a fork will crush all the small bones so you can eat them.

Definitely throw away...

Rhubarb leaves Only ever eat the stalks - the leaves contain oxalate, which have been reported to cause poisoning when large quantities of raw or cooked leaves are ingested.

Carrot peel Always cut off the ends and peel carrots as nasty pesticides end up being concentrated in the skin unless they have been grown organically .

Green spuds If your potatoes are green or sprouting, chuck them away as they contain toxins called glycoalkaloids which interfere with digestion and can cause stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting.
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Title Annotation:M Health
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 3, 2004
Words:754
Previous Article:Health: healthy choice; VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH TOP NUTRITIONIST ANGELA DOWDEN.
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