What's in a skin?

There is an old wives tale that the skin is the most nutritious part of fruits and vegetables. But does it really have any truth?  It struck me the other day when I found a half an old beetroot at the bottom of my vegetable crisper.  I thought it was so interesting that the part when the flesh had been cut and therefore exposed to the air was all mouldy, and yet the other side where the original skin was still intact was a little wrinkles but otherwise looked fine.  The skin, like a carrot skin, is not particular thick and pithy, so what is it that is so great about vegetable skins that keeps all the goods inside?

Kiwi fruit skin

The hairy skin of the kiwi fruit is high in antioxidants and thought to have ­anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-­allergenic properties.  The skin is said to have three times the anti­oxidants of the pulp and it also may help fight off bugs such as Staphylococcus and E-coli, which are responsible for food poisoning.


Banana peel extract may be able ease depression as it is rich in serotonin, the mood-balancing chemical.  It also be good for eyes as it contains lutein which protects the eyes from exposure to ultra violet light.


Garlic skin contains six separate antioxidant compounds and the garlic peel on cloves contains the ­phenylpropanoid antioxidants which help fight the ageing ­process and protect the heart.


Orange peel is high in powerful antioxidants called super-flavonoids, which are concentrated 20 times more powerfully in the skin rather than the flesh.  The white pith contains high levels of pectin, a component of dietary fibre known to lower ­cholesterol and colonise the gut with beneficial bacteria


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