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Fruits and vegetables, no doubt, make for an important part of the diet, but many people are unaware of the fact that their peels too, are high in phytochemical constituents such as dietary fibre, flavonoids, vitamins and minerals.
According to a study, the skin or peel of some fruits and veggies like lemons, apples, mangoes and jackfruits contains around 15 per cent higher phenolic compounds compared to the pulp of the fruit. 
However, not all peels are edible or have health benefits, despite having a high percentage of phenolic compounds.
In this article, we will discuss fruits and vegetables whose peels have health benefits, along with their uses for the human body.
Health Benefits And Uses Of Fruit Peel
Orange peel, as mentioned in a study, is a rich source of fibre (pectin) and phenolic compounds like flavonoids, flavonols, phenolic acids and glycosylated flavones. They have various properties like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antihyperlipidemic, anticarcinogenic, anti atherosclerosis and many more. 
- It can be added to tea.
- Dried and powdered to be used as a face pack.
- Rubbed on skin to repel mosquitoes.
- Used as a body scrub.
- It can be used to prepare homemade apple cider vinegar.
- Added to smoothies, juices or shakes of apple or other fruits.
- Converted into an antimicrobial room air freshener.
- Dried and ground to form a powder and applied on the face as a face pack.
- Added to tea.
- Used to cleanse the skin or lighten the darkening of underarms.
- Rubbed on the scalp to treat fungal or bacterial infections or other scalp conditions.
- Mixed with pepper to prepare lemon pepper, a flavourful seasoning for foods.
- Used as a great moisturiser to manage skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
- Rubbed on hair to make them soft and shiny.
- Rubbed on teeth to whiten them.
- May reduce sunburn, bug bite and itching.
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- Converted into orange peel powder and used with wheat dough to prepare bread of high quality and high fibre and polyphenol content.
- Used to prepare tea.
- Used to prepare pomegranate peel oil that can be applied on the face to prevent ageing, acne and other skin conditions.
- Applied on hair to prevent hair loss.
According to a study, apple peels contain antioxidant compounds like catechin, chlorogenic acid, procyanidins, epicatechin and quercetin in higher amounts compared to their flesh. Also, the phenolic compounds in apple peels are approximately 2-6 times more than its pulp. Apples may help prevent a range of chronic and inflammatory diseases when consumed with peels. 
A study has shown that lemon peel can positively affect children and adolescents with obesity and lower their risk of heart diseases and diabetes at later stages. Lemon peels are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids which are known to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. The compounds may help reduce inflammation and cell dysfunction, and alter cell functions related to obesity. 
Banana peel holds for around 40 per cent of total fruit weight. It is a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fibres like pectin, cellulose, lignin and hemicelluloses and resistant starch, which have many gastrointestinal benefits to humans. Also, the banana peel contains vital antioxidants like carotenoids, phenolic acids and gallo catechins (five times more than the pulp), which play a key role in the prevention of many diseases. 
According to a study, the peel of pomegranate contains higher antioxidants such as flavonoids, anthocyanins and phenolic acids than the seeds and arils of the fruit. Also, the pomegranate peel makes for 50 per cent of the total fruit, with seeds 10 per cent and arils 40 per cent. The peel of the fruit possesses anti-cancer, anti-neurodegenerative, immunomodulating and anti-osteoporosis activities. 
Health Benefits And Uses Of Vegetable Peel
The peels of brinjal, also known as eggplant, is a great source of anthocyanins which are known to reduce the risk of metabolism syndrome (MS) to a great extent. To mention, MS includes diseases like diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Also, brinjal contains many other antioxidants and benefits the body in many ways. 
- Either brinjal skin can be roasted along with the flesh or can be added to other vegetables to increase its nutrients.
- Prepare brinjal juice along with the skin and apply it on the face to treat sunburn.
- Dry brinjal skin and powder. Then, mix with yoghurt and apply it on the face to treat oily skin.
- Used to heal wounds by applying it on the wounded area.
- Roasted and consumed as chips or spread over pasta.
- Applied to heal skin burns.
- Used to lighten dark spots on the skin.
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- Fried and added as crispy toppings to salads and pasta or added to soups and gravies to make them thick.
- Converted into powder form and used as anti-parasitic. 
- Applied on the face to treat sunburn.
- Applied on wounds for faster wound healing.
- Added to juice to cool the digestive system.
- Ground and applied on the face to soothe the skin after sunburn.
- Roasted and topped on salads.
- Added to soups and broths to make them thick and nutritious.
- Added while preparing rice to add some extra vitamins and minerals. Also, it is used while preparing homemade bread.
- Infused with water to prepare tea to relieve pain, cramps and induce sleep.
- Onion peel infused water makes for a great hair dye and anti-itching solution.
- Can be used to prepare products like dried powder, candy and pickles.
- Mixed with soups and broths to enhance the taste and make them nutritious.
- Bake them to prepare crispy carrot chips.
- Added to fruit smoothies or juices.
Potato peels have potent antioxidant activity due to the presence of two dominant phenolic compounds, gallic acid and chlorogenic acid. It also contains terpenes, flavonoids, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B and fibre. These compounds may help in the prevention of heart disease, microbial infections and cancer and also promote wound healing and weight loss. 
Tomato peels contain rich amounts of carotenoids, phenolics and fatty acids. They are also converted into tomato peel oil which has an abundance of benefits. These compounds have antioxidant properties and can help repair damage to the skin, prevent cardiovascular diseases and also reduce the risk of cancer. 
Cucumber peel is super nutritious along with the flesh. It is rich in fibre and minerals like potassium, magnesium and silica, which are an important components for muscles, bones, eyes and skin health. This is the reason why cucumber is often suggested to be consumed along with the skin.
Onion peel contains a high amount of quercetin as a dominant antioxidant and dietary fibre. They provide antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects and may help prevent the risk of obesity, heart and neurological diseases. Onion peel is mainly converted into powder form and used as a functional food ingredient in preparing gluten-free bread or meat patties. 
A study has shown that though carrot peel accounts for only 11 per cent of its total weight, it can provide around 54.1 per cent of the total phenolics content such as chlorogenic acid and dicaffeoylquinic acids. Carrot peel also contains high levels of vitamin C and niacin with potent anti-cancer properties.
Peels of fruits and vegetables are nutritious and should be kept aside to be used for other purposes. However, before using peels for any health purpose, make sure they are low in pesticides or grown through organic means. Also, it should be washed properly to clean off dirt.
Some vegetables like brinjal, carrot, potato and tomato should not be peeled and consumed as their skin contains higher amounts of phenolic compounds and vital nutrients, some even more than the vegetable flesh. However, peel of some vegetables like jackfruit and yam should be ignored.
Peeling vegetables may remove some amounts of pesticide residues, but not all. This is because pesticide can penetrate deep inside the flesh of vegetables and may not be removed fully by peeling or washing them under running water. Cooking can reduce pesticide amounts to a great extent indeed.
The peels of some foods like orange, apple, lemon, carrots, potato, tomato and brinjal contain phytochemicals and dietary fibre even more than the pulp. These compounds may help improve digestive health, heart issues, inflammation and may reduce risk of obesity and diabetes.
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