Orange Peels May Help Hearts

Citrus fruit is excellent for the heart. And during the summer, a time when we are outside and sweating, the juicy fruit is more appealing. Oranges, packed with vitamin C and only 60 calories, may aid skin, boost the immune system and even help improve health heart and cholesterol levels. Some studies have found that eating oranges may help reduce the risk of respiratory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney stones, ulcers and some cancers.

But, unless you are zesting the skin, adding it to dishes for decoration or using it to clean the garbage disposal unit, 90 percent of the time we throw away the peel. Now, researchers, funded by a $500,000 USDA grant, are learning how extracts from the skin can fight fatty buildup in arteries. The research is being led by Yu Wang, of the Univ. of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The work could not only help heart health but also find a use for the five million tons of orange peels Americans throw away each year

The orange peel extract can aid gut bacteria to help prevent atherosclerosis, a buildup of cholesterol, fat and other substances artery walls. This plaque can cause blood clots and restrict blood flow, lowering the amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching organs. In an animal model using mice, the researchers saw promising results.

Within three years, we expect to understand more about the mechanisms associated with orange peel consumption… and the prevention of atherosclerosis,” Wang said. “We hope this project can not only positively impact human cardiovascular health via the promotion of gut health, but will also provide a simple and an efficient usage of orange peel.

The peel of an orange is edible on its own. Although it is not sweet or juicy like the fruit. It can be added to marmalade, zested, candied, made into a tea or infused into olive oil.

Orange peel actually has more fiber than the fruit inside,” Laura Flores, a San Diego-based nutritionist, said. “It also has flavonoids in it that contain nutritious benefits.” The peel also contains calcium, vitamins A and C and several B vitamins.

We look forward to more results from this study in the future. Until then, we're going to try out peel infused olive oil for our salad dressings!
July 05, 2019

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