What’s So Great about Eating ALL of the Potato, Apple? Print Write e-mail
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Phytochemicals - Phytochemicals 2008
Written by Frank Mangano   

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On Skin-sational!

When it comes to eating poultry, we health aficionados know that eating the skin ain’t “in.” The amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in turkey skin is enough to counteract pretty much any of the health benefits that one might want to get from eating the skin, like the extra protein perhaps. But 81 percent of the calorie content turkey skin is fat and 26 percent of the fat is of the saturated variety.

But when it comes to fruits and vegetables – particularly apples and potatoes – you might want to think twice before peeling away that skin from your baked potato or your Red Delicious.

When it comes to potatoes, ask any health professional and they’ll tell you to eat the potato with the skin. Why? Because eating only the inside of a potato not only robs you of a ton of fiber, but it also robs you of all the vitamins and minerals that the potato itself contains.

Potatoes are a great source of potassium, vitamin C, iron and vitamin B6. These vitamins and minerals are essential for the avoidance of health maladies like hypertension and anemia, and assisting the body in protein synthesis and iron absorption. So by not eating the skin, you’re essentially giving your body a raw deal. That’s because the skin contains almost 40 percent of the vitamin B6 in a potato, more than 20 percent of the vitamin C, almost 50 percent of the iron and 30 percent of the potassium!

And when it comes to the skin on apples, don’t get me started! In fact, if you have an apple peeler in your kitchen, you might as well toss it in the trash right now. Here’s why: According to a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, apple skins help inhibit or kill cancer cells.

Researchers from Cornell University came to this conclusion after analyzing the skins from 230 pounds of Red Delicious apples. In their analysis they found a dozen compounds called triterpenoids. These odd-sounding compounds, once extracted from the apple skins, were tested on rats with cancerous tumors in their laboratories. Not only did these compounds reduce the size of rats’ mammary tumors, they also reduced the number of them! This finding corroborated some related studies on apple skins. In those studies, the phytonutrients in apple skins were found to reduce cancer cell growth by 43 percent!

Now, for we health aficionados, the fact that the skin on vegetables and fruits contain a lot of nutrients isn’t exactly new news. But it never hurts to be reminded of why they’re important to eat and not throw away. And the reminder couldn’t come at a better time. After all, with the shortages in food commodities combined with the skyrocketing prices of corn, wheat and other staple crops, we need to get the most bang for our hard-earned buck.

If possible, try to consume organic fruits and vegetables. For one thing, organically grown fruits and vegetables aren’t grown with the use of chemical agents such as pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or chemical fertilizers. Another benefit is that higher levels of antioxidants are found in organically grown foods as opposed to non-organic foods. Learn more about “going organic” in my organic food section of the website.

Does this mean if it’s not organic you shouldn’t consume it? Absolutely not. It’s still in your best interest to consume fruits and vegetables that aren’t organic rather than not eating them at all. Just be sure to thoroughly clean them.

  

 

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