Don’t peel veggies & fruits, eat straight

 Don’t peel veggies & fruits, eat straight

Rajkumari SharmaTankha

Want to make that delicious potato curry with Punjabi vadi, but just hate the thought of peeling the potatoes.

Are you one of those who, like me, detest peeling vegetables?

So, let me tell you, you don’t need to do the job. No no, I am not telling you to give this cumbersome job to your maid, I am saying just STOP peeling vegetable, cut and consume them with their peels on.

As a science student I always learnt that skins of vegetables and fruits, especially those that are coloured, are storehouse of essential nutrients and vitamins. I remember my mom used to turn the skin of banana and pea into mouth-watering dishes. We didn’t know what were the ingredients of these tasty dishes we ate; she never told us either.  Wise woman!

Soon as I got busy in the process of making my career and settling down in my life, I forgot all about it. I hired a maid to do the tedious job of peeling and cutting the vegetables; cooking of course I couldn’t trust on anyone as my husband, a finicky eater and a good cook himself, always found a fault too many in anything cooked by maids.

It is only now, after two decades into marriage, that I realize how much of nutrition I have literally thrown away in the dustbin (yeah, I didn’t even turn it into compost). And hence begins my return journey. I have now started consuming every inch of skin of vegetables and fruits.

Enviornmentalists tell you to turn all your kitchen waste into compost, that’s the most healthy thing for plants in your garden. I vouch for that too, but I suggest you try consuming as much of a vegetable and fruit as you can, turn only the non-eatables into compost. Your body will thank you for it. Trust me.

But it is not just me who is saying this, all health experts say that. What we tend to throw away is actually one of the healthiest parts of our foods, say nutritionists.

The rinds of potato, carrot and cucumber, all have plenty of health benefits. These skins have a lot of fiber, and insoluble fiber at that. Eating insoluble fibre helps regulate your digestive system. In case you suffer from constipation, adding more of insoluble fibre to your diet can get things moving. It also improves other bowel-related problems like hemorrhoids and fecal incontinence.  It plays a key role in controlling weight by staving off hunger pangs.

According to nutritionists, in most fruits and vegetable, a majority of nutrients are in the skin. The dark green skin of cucumber is rich in antioxidants and vitamin K. If you peel it before eating, you are left with just water and pretty little else.

Similarly, the skin of a potato packs more nutrients – iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C – ounce-for-ounce than the rest of the potato. If you discard these peels, you end up consuming only starch!

The colourful skin of  beetroot, banana, carrot, red raddish/turnip, all are rich in antioxidants that fight against free radicals. Free radicals cause a lot of harm to body and are responsible for causing gene mutations leading to cancer.

Similarly, the skins of carrots and peppers have phytonutrients which contain antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and liver-health-promoting properties.

Vitamins C and E – as found in peels of many vegetables – protect the body against the destructive effects of free radicals by neutralizing them.

Believe me it is not difficult to start eating the peels. Just start making vegetables with their peels on and in case the peels are tough, and difficult to chew, just boil or roast them and mix with the vegetable.

Or you can make separate dishes with peels, just like my mom did!


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