Can You Eat the Peels From an Orange?

Oranges are known for being full of vitamin C, making them the perfect immune-boosting snack between meals. There's really only one way to eat an orange- peel it, then pull it apart piece by piece, enjoying its tangy juice. Hopefully you're in a place where you can wash your hands afterward, because otherwise your hands will smell orangy for the rest of the day! However, this method leaves out an important section- the peel. It turns out that orange peels are indeed edible and actually have more health benefits than the flesh!

Should You Eat Orange Peels?

Despite their bitter taste, the peels of these sweet, juicy fruits are full of nutritional value. Like all citrus fruits, oranges have high amounts of vitamin C, which is partly why orange juice is such a popular breakfast beverage. However, the orange peels have almost three times more vitamin C than the juice or the sweet inner fruit that we typically eat. Vitamin C is not only good for the immune system; it also protects against certain kinds of cancer and supports digestive health.

Orange rinds also have lots of dietary fiber, vitamin A, folate and calcium, all essential for your health. Fiber in particular is helpful in treating constipation. In addition, the peels of the orange are packed with plant compounds called polyphenols, which guard against obesity, Alzheimer's and other chronic conditions. One especially beneficial polyphenol is hesperidin, which protects against cancer.

Along with these benefits, almost all of the essential oils in the peels are composed of limonene, which has anti-inflammatory properties and guards against cancer. This citrus peel also has flavonoids, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. Because of their many nutritional benefits, orange peels are shown to protect against heart disease, cure heart burn and improve digestion.

Yes, but...

Based on the never-ending list of health benefits of eating orange peels, you should definitely eat them! They provide lots of nutrients and vitamins and will be preventative against many diseases.

However, there are some caveats to eating this healthy peel. The peels are very bitter and tough, which makes them difficult to digest. If you're hoping to benefit from the nutritional value of these citrus peels, it's best to eat the peel in small amounts to ensure that you're able to digest it. Eating too much at once can cause cramps and bloating.

Another aspect to consider is the usage of pesticides on oranges. Many oranges are treated with pesticides as they grow, and these are not something you want to consume. If you're planning on eating the orange peel, it's best to buy organic oranges, as these are less likely to contain pesticides.

Candied Orange Peels

One option to make the peels easier going down is to turn them into a dessert! Candied orange peels are the delicious combination of oranges and sugar. These tasty treats are sweet and snackable while retaining all of the nutritional value of fresh orange peels. Diy candied orange peels are super easy to make, and all you need is sugar, hot water and orange peels. Some recipes switch it up with brown sugar or honey instead of white sugar, and if you're feeling fancy you can even dip them in chocolate!

Here's a recipe to try these goodies out.

Now that you know the many benefits of orange peels, consider saving them next time instead of throwing them into the garbage disposal. Your body will thank you!

Watch: Healthy summer snacks