a kiwi sliced in half

You care about good nutrition. You pride yourself on knowing the best foods to eat for your health. But there are still a few facts you may not know about ways to get the most nutritional value from your food.

One thing you may not have heard is that eating the skins, peels, stalks, and cores of fruits and vegetables can help in a variety of ways:

  • Increase your nutritional intake of vitamins
  • Increase your energy level
  • Combat cancer

Dr. Marilyn Glenville, former president of the Food and Health Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine, told The Daily Mail that "All fruit and vegetables have a 'bio-synergy,' which means the nutritional benefits of each part are reinforced by the others." In other words, by skipping the rind and other parts of our produce that we're not used to eating, we're missing out on added health benefits that come from eating the entire thing.

Here are some edible examples to help you to expand your repertoire when it comes to fruits and veggies:

Studies in Taiwan showed that banana peel extract can ease depression and help prevent cataracts. To eat a banana peel with ease, try boiling it for 10 minutes first, and then turning it into juice in a juicer.

Though the hairy skin of a kiwi fruit may not seem appetizing, Glenville reported that it is high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and anti-allergens. In The Daily Mail interview, Glenville said that kiwi skin contains three times more antioxidants than the pulp, and also helps to fight off bugs like E-coli, which are responsible for food poisoning. As with bananas, juicing the skin along with the rest of the fruit is a way to make eating it easier. You can also try "gold" kiwi fruit, which has a sweeter, smoother skin.

Oranges and Tangerines
Citrus peels contain super-flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help to reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. Research has shown a number of health benefits from eating the peel of citrus fruits, such as oranges and tangerines. One study showed that the antioxidants found in the citrus peel were 20 times stronger than those in citrus juice. Another study found that compounds in citrus peels have cholesterol-lowering properties when included in your diet. Juicing the whole fruit--peel and all--is one way to enjoy these benefits. Another way is to grate the peel onto other foods, such as muffins, to create a zest.

Potato skins are healthy, yet many potato peels end up in the trash instead of in our meals. Nutritional experts say one potato skin provides half of your daily recommended intake of fiber, potassium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamin C. That's reason enough to say, "Pass the potato skins!" And potato skins are tasty, too--bake them whole or boil and mash them with the skin on.

The stalks of broccoli, though perhaps less flavorful, contain more nutritional value than the florets. The stalks are also higher in calcium, vitamin C, and soluble fiber. To enjoy the stalks and avoid their toughness, try shredding them into thin strips. You can serve as part of a stir fry, or steam them with the florets.