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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Papaya skin for pedicures. Potato peelings to darken grey hairs. The very surprising ways fruit and veg skins can work wonders

The appeal of peel: The surprising ways fruit and veg skins can work wonders for your looks | Mail Online
Your grandmother was right, after all. An apple a day really can keep the doctor away — but only if you don’t peel it first.

Researchers have discovered that ursolic acid, the chemical behind the apple skin’s waxy shine, offers a wealth of unexpected benefits, from boosting muscle growth to keeping cholesterol and blood sugar under control.

And apples aren’t the only fruit and veg with potent peel. Bin the skin and you’re not only wasting time and money, you are also missing out on ways to improve your skin or even shine your shoes.

Here, we investigate the nutritional value of peel and also look at some of its more wacky uses.

PEACHES

Whether you eat the skin for a burst of nutrients or scrub your face for a glowing complexion, peaches are an often overlooked super fruit.

High in potassium and vitamin A, which help to revitalise and hydrate the skin, eating the peel can boost the immune system, remove toxins from the body, maintain healthy skin, protect the eyes from developing cataracts and lower the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

You can also use the skin as a facial pick-me-up. Put a little sugar on the pulpy side of peach skins and use as a gentle face scrub.

LEMONS AND LIMES

Both of these contain citric acid, so their rind is great for polishing brass, copper and other non-ferrous metals.

Sprinkle on a little baking soda to get an even better result. Or pop a few slices of rind in a bottle of vodka to create a fantastic and flavoursome infusion.

Adding citrus peels to olive oil will not only flavour it, but will help to reinvigorate oil that’s getting old.

To rid your microwave of nasty smells, put lemon peel and any remaining lemon juice with the same amount of water in an uncovered bowl and boil gently for up to ten minutes.


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BANANAS

Use the inside of the peel to shine the leaves on your houseplants.

Not only will it make them sparkle, but the skin acts as a natural pesticide and fertiliser.

Shoes looking scruffy?

Polish with a banana skin, then rub down with a soft, clean cloth for a professional-looking shine.

Banana skin contains potassium and antioxidants that keep the skin soft and supple and aid a faster recovery. Pop a skin on a bruise and it should heal faster.

And if you’ve been bitten by a mosquito, rubbing with banana peel can help soothe the itch.

You can even eat the skin — provided you boil or juice first.

Researchers in Taiwan have discovered that banana peel extract can ease depression, as it is rich in serotonin, the mood-balancing chemical.

The skin was also found to be good for eyes, as it contains the antioxidant lutein, which protects eye cells from exposure to ultraviolet light — a leading cause of cataracts.

Boil the peel for ten minutes, then drink the cooled water or put it through a juicer and drink the juice.

PAPAYA

Need a quick summer pedicure? Rub papaya skins and pulp on the soles of your feet to soften skin and soothe cracked heels.

Papayas are rich in Vitamin A and papain, which breaks down inactive proteins and removes dead skin cells.

You can also use the peel as an exfoliating face mask.

Rub the skin over your face and leave for five minutes before washing off.

Be careful not to apply for too long, as the powerful juices in the peel can cause dryness.

KIWIS

The hairy skin of the kiwi fruit may taste tart, but it’s too good to waste.

It contains three times the antioxidants of the pulp, giving it anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti allergenic properties.

It also fights off bugs, such as Staphylococcus and E-coli, which are responsible for food poisoning. If you can’t bear to eat it raw, use the skin with other fruits, such as banana in a smoothie.
Numerous uses: Pomegranate can make a potpourri as well as a tasty snack

Numerous uses: Pomegranate can make a potpourri as well as a tasty snack

POMEGRANATES

Use the rind to make potpourri. Slice, then dry on a rack in the airing cupboard or somewhere equally warm until all the moisture has gone.

Leave natural or sprinkle a little liquid potpourri (available at craft stores) or the dregs of a perfume bottle.

You can mix with apple peel or citrus rind for variety. Pomegranates can also help ease tummy troubles, such as diarrhoea. Boil a small pomegranate skin in water with a cinnamon stick and drink it down once it’s cooled.

Repeat up to three times a day or until symptoms go.

ORANGES

The rind is bursting with powerful antioxidants called super-flavonoids, which can significantly reduce levels of cholesterol.

The antioxidants obtained from the peel are 20 times more powerful than those from the juice, according to a U.S. study.

Add grated citrus peel to cauliflower cheese or cakes and muffins for a zesty health kick — or throw the whole, unpeeled fruit into a juicer so you get all the benefits.

POTATO

The skin is a real nutritional powerhouse. Just one fist-sized potato skin provides half your daily recommended intake of soluble fibre, potassium, iron, phosphorus zinc and vitamin C.

Bake whole in their jackets, boil and mash with the skin on or slice into large chunks, toss in a little olive oil and bake for potato wedges.

Potatoes are also good for hair — getting rid of those greys the natural way.

Boil potato peels in water for 30 minutes and cool. Use this water as an after-shampoo rinse and it will gradually darken grey hair, without the need for harsh chemicals.

PEARS

Throw away the skin and you are throwing away the best bits. Pear skin isn’t just packed full of fibre, it also contains a higher concentration of vitamins and nutrients than the flesh itself.

These include chlorogenic acid, a potent anti-oxidant and the flavonoid phloretin, which has been shown in laboratory tests to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

AVOCADOS

The skin may be inedible, but its oil makes a fantastic skin serum, because it’s able to penetrate right down into deep tissue, where it softens and moisturises.

Avocado oil is also high in sterolins, which can help reduce age spots and repair sun damaged skin.

A study by American food engineering experts discovered that using avocado oil significantly increases the amount of collagen in the skin, which reduces naturally with age and can, therefore, fight wrinkles.

Gently stroke the inside layer of the avocado skin along your face.

Leave for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing off.