9 Benefits of Citrus Peels That Will Stop You From Throwing Them Away

citrus peels

Oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, grapefruit, mandarins, the list goes on. What do all of these have in common? They are all Citrus Fruits that are enjoyed on a regular basis by people all around the world. However, one of the most nutritional part of these wonderful fruits is often forgotten and discarded, the Citrus Peel. Many people may already know that Citrus Fruits provide essential Vitamin C. However, citrus peel benefits are hugely unknown!  Not only do they contain a high amount of Vitamin C but are also packed full of a plethora of other health benefits. Citrus Peels have been used throughout history by various cultures for their medicinal properties for health issues such as digestive problems, stomachaches, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and also as an anti-spasmodic.

1. Diabetes

According to research published in the "Journal of Life Sciences", Citrus Peel Extract may help prevent diabetes because it contains Polymethoxylated Flavones(PMFs) which helps by reducing levels of serum triglycerides (TG) and cholesterol. These have both been known to contribute to disorders such as diabetes, as well as obesity. It is also suggested that Citrus Peel Extract may have the ability to improve insulin sensitivity. In addition, the natural fiber in Pectin found in the Citrus Peel has the ability to decrease the rise in blood sugar that may occur after a meal, assisting people who are required to watch their blood sugar spikes.

2. Cholesterol

Polymethoxylated Flavones (PMFs) are plant pigment compounds that are present in all citrus fruits. A study published in the "Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry" found that hamsters who were fed a cholesterol-raising diet incorporated with 1% PMFs, had lowered their "bad" LDL cholesterol amounts by 32%- 40%. When this study was conducted using human test subjects, similar results were found leading researchers to believe that the PMF compounds in Citrus Peels may have the potential to lower cholesterol levels when included in a diet. The report suggests that the isolated compounds from the peels shows promise as a natural alternative for reducing LDL Cholesterol without the harsh side effects of mainstream cholesterol drugs. In addition to PMFs, Citrus Peels contain Hesperidin and Pectin. Hesperidin is a flavonoid that also helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides and Pectin is a natural fiber that contributes to the reduction of cholesterol levels.

3. Obesity/Weight Control

In addition to possessing beneficial properties towards diabetes and cholesterol, citrus peels have been found to help with obesity. According to a study published in the "Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition" on October 31, 2008, the introduction of lemon polyphenols was found to be successful in the suppression of body weight gain
and body fat accumulation. The study found significant improvements in levels of serum insulin, glucose, and leptin by lemon polyphenols (found in lemon peels) which helps improve insulin resistance. This study suggests lemon polyphenols has the ability to "prevent or improve obesity and insulin resistance by modulating lipid metabolism and prevent metabolic syndrome as a representative, lifestyle-related cluster of diseases caused by an excessively high fat diet". Pectin, a natural fiber found in the peel helps curbs cravings and diminish overactive appetites.

4. Heart Disease

Heart Disease is the number 1 leading cause of death in the United States. According to official data from the CDC Government website, an astonishing 611,105 deaths were caused by Heart Disease in 2013. Atherosclerosis is the thickening of the artery wall as a result of the accumulation of white blood cells, and plaque in the form of calcium, cholesterol, and triglycerides in the inner lining (intima) of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease that remains asymptomatic for decades one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity around the world. A November 9, 2013 issue published in "ARYA Atherosclerosis" found that the consumption of Citrus Aurantifolia (lime) peel and fresh juice can prevent or decelerate the process of Atherogenesis by increasing the serum antioxidant capacity. Furthermore, this study found that the Antiatherogenic Effect of the Lime Peel was actually more effective than the Lime Juice. The different types and amounts of Flavonoids are believed to be responsible for this difference.

5. Heart Burn

Despite the name, Heart Burn actually has little to do with the heart and much more to do with the Esophagus. Heart Burn refers to the burning sensation in the chest area that is caused by the reflux of the digestive juices and acids into the esophagus (acid reflux). This condition is also known as gastroesophageal reflux, GER, or GERD (chronic). Although the stomach is built to withstand the damaging effects of the acid it produces in order to digest food, the esophagus is not lined or protected from such high acidity from gastric acid. A 2007 article published in "Alternative Medicine Review" notes that Citrus Peel Extracts have the ability to "neutralize gastric acid and support normal peristalsis" due to its active ingredient, d-limonene. D-limonene has been linked to providing extended relief from heartburn. According to a 2006 "Life Extension Magazine" article, Citrus Peel Extract (or Citrus Peel Oil) is able to float on top of gastric acid and digestive juices  in the stomach as it is lighter than water. It is believe through natural movement and the assistance of burping, the Citrus Peel Extract can coat the esophageal wall and provide a beneficial barrier against acid erosion.

6. Cancer

Citrus Peels contain various flavonoids that have demonstrated effective anti-cancer properties in both in vitro and in vivo, according to a 2014 article published in "Food Science and Human Wellness". In vivo  studies suggest compelling evidence that flavonoids in Citrus Peels such as Nobiletin, Hesperidin, and Citrus Peel Extract have potent anti-tumor activities in cancers of the skin, colon, prostate, lung, and liver. Nobiletin is a representative of citrus polymethoxyflavones that have shown potent beneficial activities against carcinogenesis. Research from Japan's Nakamura University demonstrated that Citrus Peel Extract has the ability to block Tumor Growth on both a dose-dependent and time-dependent level. This means that the higher the dosage, the greater the inhibition with effects continuing over the duration of the treatment. Another flavonoid that is found in Citrus Fruit and particularly abundant in the peel is Hesperidin. Hesperidin has been shown to suppress precancerous lesions and may inhibit certain types of cancers. The limonene in Citrus Fruit Peel is also a Phytonutrient and has anticarcinogenic and anti-cancer properties. Limonene helps activate the body's antioxidant detoxification enzyme system which limits the ability for growth of cancer cells while Citric Acid in Citrus Peel assists with the starvation of cancer cells by cutting off their energy supply.

7. Immune System Support

Raw orange peel contains a amalgam of proteins, potassium, riboflavin, beta-carotene (converted into Vitamin A), and other potent antioxidants. Beta-carotene, in addition to being an antioxidant, is the pigment that gives yellow and orange fruits and vegetables their bright color and is converted into Vitamin A in the body, helping boost the immune system and benefits. The potent antioxidants in Citrus Peel contributes to the preservation of DNA and the protection against Free Radicals which can lead to diseases and cancers. This powerful effect of antioxidants is further enhanced by high levels of Vitamin C that are in Citrus Fruits.

8. Visual Health

In addition to boosting the immune system with its cell protecting property, Beta-carotene is also extremely beneficial for optimal vision health. Its quick conversion to Vitamin A in the body helps create a protective barrier against bacteria and viruses on the surface of the eye, mucous membranes, and skin. Studies have shown that eye drops containing Vitamin A were effective in the treatment of dry eyes, so much so that lubricating eye drops  containing Vitamin A were found to be just as effective as its prescription strength counterparts.

9. Digestion

As stated earlier, Citrus Peels contain a natural fiber called Pectin. Fiber has been shown to regulate the gastrointestinal tract. Pectin also acts as a probiotic and encourages the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria in the intestines promoting digestive health.

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