Leftovers can boost your health

Five habits to steal from vegetarians

There are plenty of foods scraps that we consider unusable, but onion skin, melon rind and orange peel actually have several uses – some of which could help to boost your health.

In some cases, the skins, peels and leaves of foods are actually better for you than the flesh of the food itself. The tell-tale sign is the colour – which is often brighter on the outside than inside, indicating a higher concentration of phytochemicals and antioxidants. These are thought to decrease the risk of infection and disease.

So in order to get the most out of the foods you buy, rather than absent-mindedly throwing away important sources of nutrition, take a look at the following leftovers guide:

Onion skin

Rich in quercetin – which may help to reduce blood pressure and prevent clogged arteries – onion skin is not to be scoffed at. Quercetin is also linked to anti-inflammatory activity, meaning it may be particularly useful for allergy and hay-fever sufferers. Include onion skin in your diet by mixing into soups, cooking stocks and stews. Remove just before serving.

Melon rind

Melon rind has a large quantity of citrulline – an amino acid that contributes to the dilation of blood vessels and increased blood circulation. This is linked to clearer skin and better heart health. Include it in your diet by blending into a fresh morning smoothie.

Broccoli leaves 

Featuring an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and lots of carotenoids, broccoli leaves can help to decrease the risk of disease and boost your immune system. Include them in your diet by cooking them just as you would cabbage.

Celery leaves 

Celery leaves are highly nutritious leftovers. They contain fives times more magnesium and calcium than the stalks, and are rich in vitamin C and phenolics – powerful antioxidants which are thought to help combat cancer, heart disease and premature ageing. Include them into your diet by chopping up into small pieces and adding to soups, salads, sauces and relishes.

Orange peel

As well as a healthy dose of vitamin C, orange peel is packed full of fibre, vitamins and flavonoids – making it a leftover too good to throw away. These ingredients are known to protect cells, prevent the rupturing of blood vessels and help to reduce excessive inflammation throughout the body. Include orange peel in your diet by blending the whole orange into a delicious smoothie.

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Tamara Marshall

Written by Tamara Marshall

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