Six Parts of Food We Shouldn't Scrap

“Don’t waste the best bit”; something many of us recognise from childhood. But are you aware of the parts of fruit and vegetables which we commonly discard but contain huge health benefits? Many fruit and vegetables have skins and leaves which are more colourful than the flesh- a sign that it contains nutritious phytochemicals like carotenoids and flavonoids, and one of the overriding messages at the moment is that we should eat a more colourful diet in order to get a greater variety of antioxidants.

Laurence Beeken, Food Information Executive at, gives us 6 parts of common fruits and vegetables we often discard and ways we can easily include them into our diets.

Onion skin is rich in quercetin – which may reduce blood pressure and prevent clogged arteries. Quercetin has also displayed considerable anti-inflammatory activity, restraining both the production and release of histamine and other allergic and inflammatory sources, meaning that it may be useful for hay fever sufferers.

There is some evidence that cooking meats with onions may help reduce the amount of carcinogens produced when meat is cooked using high heat methods, such as on the barbeque – just remember to remove the tough onion skin before eating!*

How to include it in your diet: Use it when cooking stocks, soups and stews and remove just before serving!

Melon Rind is rich in citrulline, an amino acid which contributes to the dilation of blood vessels and circulation improvements. It has been used to improve conditions as diverse as sexual dysfunction and sickle cell disease*

How to include it in your diet: Blend the rind with the flesh for a super fresh smoothie


Broccoli leaves are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamins A & C; Vitamin A 320% Vitamin C 155%

How to include it in your diet: Cook them just as you would cabbage, and while you’re at it, don’t forget that the stems contain a good dose of fibre, and sliced are great for a crunchy snack.

Containing 5x more magnesium and calcium than the stalks, celery leaves also contain vitamin C and phenolics – powerful antioxidants** which may help combat cancer, heart disease and even ageing!

How to include it in your diet: Use them as you would celery- add to soups, salads, sauces, relishes etc.

Packed with glutamine, antioxidants and phenolic compounds*** the stems are as edible as the leaves.

How to include it in your diet: Steam the stems whole just as you would asparagus.

Orange peel, probably the best known of all the peels , orange peel is a powerhouse of fibre, flavonoids and vitamins. Anecdotal evidence shows that an active chemical in orange peels (d-limonene) helps relieve heartburn and indigestion. The good concentration of vitamin C helps boost the immune system and could help ward off respiratory infections.

In addition, peel extract can be used as an antibacterial cleanser, made into an insect repellent and even a grease busting kitchen cleaner! It has also been used to naturally whiten stained teeth.Pectin and other fibre found in the white layer beneath the skin of the orange can also help curb appetite and suppress hunger for up to 4 hours

How to include it in your diet: Whip up the whole fruit (pith and all), into a delicious smoothie.

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