The surprising health benefits of citrus peels
Is it true that there are as many, if not more, nutrients in the zest of citrus fruits as in the fruits themselves?
Yes, the rinds seem to be more nutrient dense than the flesh. Citrus peels are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, bone-building calcium and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant bioflavonoids. They also provide potassium, which helps keep blood pressure in check, and limonene, a phytochemical that may have anti-cancer effects and can help with heart burn.
However, if you have low calcium levels or a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones, check with your doctor before zesting every day. Citrus peels contain oxalates, which interfere with your body’s calcium absorption.
What’s the best way to get at the citrus peel: zest or chop?
A zester is best. And if you don’t own one, use a grater instead.
What are your favourite ways to use the rind?
Lemon or lime zest is great in fruit smoothies and stirred into plain yogurt that is topped with raspberries and/or strawberries and sweetened with a bit of stevia or unpasturized honey. I like to add it to many of the healthy muffins and pies I bake, as well as the salad dressings I make with lemon juice and olive oil.
Is it best to use organic, or does it matter?
Yes, it is better to choose organic ‘ especially when you’re eating the peels ‘ because the skins of conventionally grown citrus fruits can contain pesticide residue.