The real reason you should be saving your orange peels

Citrus fruit, particularly the orange, has long been lauded for being rich in vitamin C. In fact, when most people feel a common cold coming on, they start popping vitamin C, eating orange slices, and drinking orange juice to help boost their immune system's defense. 

At youth soccer games, you would be hard-pressed to not find a mom offering orange slices as a halftime pick-me-up to keep kids hydrated and restore lost electrolytes (via Medical News Today). Oranges are like sports candy, serving up a powerhouse of goodness for your body. Oranges are a great source for fiber, potassium, and contain flavonoids which are health-promoting compounds that contribute to the orange's antioxidant qualities. 

But did you know if you are only eating the fleshy orange segments and tossing the peels, you are missing out on vital nutrients that could increase and add to your overall health? Believe it or not, the peel of the orange can be eaten, and while it is not as sweet or as juicy as the pulpy orange segments, it, like the flesh, is also packed full of beneficial vitamins and minerals. 

The peel is definitely a bit chewier in nature and a little bitter to the taste, but well worth it from a health standpoint. What are the benefits?

The benefits of eating orange peel

First, it should be noted that you will want to wash the orange before you consume the peel, but when you add orange peels to your diet, you can see a whole range of benefits that include a boost to your metabolism, improvement to your oral hygiene, and improvement to your digestive system. 

The orange peel contains pectin (a fiber) which can help to prevent constipation and aid in minimizing heartburn. Looking for a natural metabolism booster? Orange peels, especially in a tea, can help boost your energy and increase stamina, both of which help with weight loss. In fact, the peel is full of fiber and keeps the hunger pains at bay while promoting the burning of fat due to its high vitamin C content (via The Statesman). 

Orange peel can also help with bad breath and may aid in whitening teeth. Citric acid and the compound d-limonene, which can be found in some citrus peels, is believed to help in brightening your smile. It's suggested that if you rub orange peel on your teeth for two minutes and then rinse your mouth and brush your teeth, it could help in whitening your pearly whites. More research is needed, but according to a study conducted in 2017, the best citrus peels for whitening your teeth may be those from tangerines (via Healthline). 

So the next time you eat an orange, think twice before you toss the peel.