Citrus peels are the skins of fruits such as lemons, oranges, limes or grapefruits. According to Medicinal Herbs & Spices, citrus peels have previously been known for their high levels of vitamin C and its associated health benefits. However, as scientists learn more about citrus peels, it has become clear that they may offer additional health benefits. Regardless, always discuss your health concerns with your doctor, as these additional health benefits have not been confirmed.
According to NaturalNews.com, new research published in the "Journal of Life Sciences" indicates that citrus peel extract containing polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) may help prevent diabetes. The research showed that citrus peel extract reduced the level of serum triglycerides (TG) and cholesterol, both of which are known to contribute to disorders such as diabetes and obesity. Therefore, citrus peel extract may improve insulin sensitivity.
According to Prepared Foods Network, citrus peels may contribute to lower risks of heart disease. A study published in the "Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry" found that the PMF compounds in citrus peels have the potential to lower cholesterol when included in your diet. The study found that "feeding hamsters a cholesterol-raising diet containing 1% PMFs lowered the amount of 'bad' LDL cholesterol by 32% to 40%." A similar study in humans also revealed lower levels of total cholesterol.
Citrus peels can be added to foods such as soups, salads, chicken or fish to experience these potential benefits.
Citrus peels contain high levels of antioxidants. As antioxidants, citrus peels may contribute to the protection of your DNA from cancer-causing damage. According to Medicinal Herbs & Spices, citrus peels contain greater amounts of antioxidants than vitamin E. When used in their natural form, the antioxidant effects of citrus peels are enhanced by the high levels of vitamin C found in citrus fruits.