Not many of us know that the peels of citrus fruits are packed with amazing nutritional benefits. Usually, we only tend to use the fruit and the juice, and ignore the peel. However, the peel is packed with health-supportive compounds too—and they can be used to add flavor and zest to recipes.
Grapefruit and lemons are some of the most popular types of citrus fruits, and they pack quite a nutritious punch. In this article, we’ll explore those health benefits, including the benefits of their peels.
What Are The Benefits of Boiling Grapefruit and Lemon Peels?
Boiling grapefruit and lemon peels release their nutritional benefits so they are better absorbed by the body. Grapefruit and lemon peels contain vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids that help promote health. Citrus peels contain pectin, a kind of soluble fiber that helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar. Some compounds present in grapefruit and lemon peel are also said to be protective against cancer.
Takeaways Benefits of Boling Grapefruit and Lemon Peel
|Benefits of Boling Grapefruit and Lemon Peel|
|Regulates Blood Sugar and Metabolism|
|Contains Antioxidants that Prevent Cell Damage|
|Helps With Weight Loss|
|Improves Skin Health|
|Contains Essential Oils which Boosts Mood and Relieves Stress|
Benefits of Boiling Grapefruit and Lemon Peels
When we see citrus fruits, we normally always go for the flesh or the juice, and think that’s where all the nutritional benefits of these highly nutritious fruits are. We could not be more wrong.
In fact, citrus fruit peels are packed with health benefits, and if we always toss them, we are missing out on these wonderful health benefits.
So what are these benefits?
1. Fiber and Digestive Health
Grapefruits, lemons and other citrus fruits are rich in pectin. You may have heard of pectin as the starch that is used to thicken jams and jellies, but it is more than that.
Pectin is an insoluble fiber that helps us maintain healthy digestion. Besides this, it is also a prebiotic, or a source of food for the good and healthy bacteria in our gut, helping to keep them alive so they can do their job of protecting us from harmful bacteria. This, in turn, relieves gastrointestinal issues and reduces inflammation in the gut.
2. Controls Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure
In one study, it was shown that lemon peel may have the ability to inhibit sugar absorption in the blood, meaning that it helps to regulate your blood sugar and regulate metabolism. Moreover, it was also shown to exhibit antihypertensive properties, meaning that lemon peel can maintain healthy blood pressure.
The bitter pith of the grapefruit, while unpleasant to most, actually contains a ton of fiber that helps with digestive health. Fiber is essential to digestive and gut health and helps slow down the absorption of sugars, helping with blood sugar control and weight management.
A study revealed that there is a higher concentration of Vitamin C, flavonoids, and anti-oxidants in citrus peels than in the pulp or the seeds. This is quite surprising because we normally just discard the peel, or we think that the juice is well, in the juice.
While of course they still have health benefits, it helps to know that the peel can offer us much more of the complete package in terms of health benefits.
Free radicals are atoms in the body that are unstable and cause aging and damage to cells, resulting in sickness. Antioxidants are in charge of catching these free radicals and preventing them from doing damage to our bodies and also play a role in lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Grapefruit peel also contains carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene, which are essential in forming vitamin A that our body needs, and helps support bone, eye, and skin health.
4. Promotes Immunity
Citrus peels contain high amounts of vitamin C, and it’s actually more concentrated in the peels than in the fruit itself. Lemon peels contain 129 mg of vitamin C per 100 g portion or 9% of the daily recommended value per tablespoon, more than what you would get if for some reason you are able to consume a whole lemon in the same amount, at just 53 mg.
Needless to say, the peel packs an important nutritional punch, so don’t miss out.
Vitamin C prevents inflammation and is very important in promoting overall health and immunity, and helps prevent us from getting sick.
5. Decreases Cholesterol and Helps Manage Healthy Weight
A study has shown that citrus peels may help decrease insulin resistance and help with weight loss. Citrus peels are rich in compounds called poly ethoxy flavones, or PMFs. These compounds greatly help with regulating how sugar is absorbed by the body, preventing the body from being overwhelmed, resulting in weight gain.
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, the compound pectin also has been found to curb appetites and increase feelings of satiety, which helps contribute to a healthy weight.
PMF’s have also been suggested to lower bad cholesterol, and have shown to be protective against cancer, inhibiting its genesis and proliferation.
6. Skin Benefits
Grapefruit peels have anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties which are useful in treating and preventing skin infections. An enzyme in the peel is also said to be helpful in exfoliating and renewing the skin.
Grapefruit peel has also been shown to help with oral health and because it is a natural antiseptic and disinfectant, it has also been shown to have benefits for hair health.
Lemon peel is also good for skin lightening and for treating age spots and dark spots on the skin. It helps cleanse the skin and helps with pigmentation, and helps promote skin renewal. It is also naturally anti-fungal.
7. Essential Oils
Essential oils derived from citrus peels like grapefruit and lemon also have mood-boosting and stress-relieving properties.
Why Boil Grapefruit and Lemon Peels?
Boiling grapefruit and lemon peels in water allow the healthful compounds and essential oils to be released into the water, making them easy to consume as tea or as a drink. It makes it easier for us to take in all the wonderful health benefits.
One of the first things I learned when I took up a health-supportive culinary program was to make a lemon peel tea that became my natural remedy for everything, from headaches to sore throats to colds —anything that causes you to not feel good or not feel your best.
This version doesn’t just use the peel, but uses the whole lemon.
I’ll share a simple recipe for it below.
Lemon Peel Tea
- 1 whole lemon, organic
- 2 cups of water
- Raw honey to taste
- Your favorite mug
- Boil water in a pot. While waiting for it to boil, prepare your lemons.
- If your lemons are not organic, wash your lemons with a natural fruit and vegetable wash or wash them in water with baking soda or vinegar. Since you will be boiling the peel and extracting all the healthy goodness out of it, it is important that your lemons are free of pesticides or wax that may affect the taste and quality of your tea.
- With a vegetable peeler, peel your lemons and set the peel aside.
- Cut your lemon in half. Take one of the lemon halves and squeeze the juice into your favorite mug. You can save the other half later or squeeze it into a different mug if making 2 cups.
- Place the peel into the now boiling water, lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes. At the end of the 5 minutes, you should see that your water has turned a slight tinge of yellow.
- Pour the lemon water into the mug (you should have some extra for later).
- Mix and add raw honey to taste. Voila! Lemon Peel tea!
I make it a lot and I use it for everything. I find that it instantly makes me feel better, no matter how I am feeling that particular day.
A Recipe for Grapefruit Peel Tea
In much the same way, grapefruit peel can also be boiled to make tea. Stephanie Wilger, a Health Care Practitioner and Educator from Oakland, CA, said in an email that grapefruit peel tea helps clear out nasal passages and aids our lungs in detoxification.
Aside from this, it also has other health benefits that she shares on her website, along with her simple recipe for Fresh Grapefruit Peel Tea.
What Are Grapefruits? A Brief History
Grapefruits are subtropical fruits that originally came from Barbados. They are an accidental hybrid fruit; a mix of an Indonesian pomelo and a Jamaican sweet orange.
They are usually quite large for citrus fruit, and their flavor profile is a combination of sweet, sour, and bitter. Their flesh is segmented like that of an orange and it can range in color from light to dark pink, and sometimes even pale yellow.
Pomelo seeds were said to have been brought into Barbados by one Captain Shaddock, and he was the one who planted the first fruits there. Over time, the fruit may have evolved from the combination of the two plants existing there, and the grapefruit came about.
Grapefruits were also referred to in history as the “forbidden fruit”. Its name “grapefruit” though, is thought to have been concocted because either they tasted similar to grapes or because the fruit formed in clusters, in much the same way as grapes do.
Grapefruits grow on trees and are the only citrus fruit that comes from the Americas.
What Are Lemons? A Look At Its Origins
Lemons are small, bright yellow citrus fruits that are native to Asia, specifically India and China. They are known for their sour and tart flavor and bright yellow color. Lemons are used extensively in both culinary and non-culinary uses.
The specific origin of lemons is unknown also they are said to be a cross between a citron and a bitter orange. They were present in Europe long before they were brought to America by Christopher Columbus in 1493, but they were initially just used for medicinal purposes. The 19th century saw increased planting of lemons in Florida and California.
Today, lemons are prized for the flavor that they offer in recipes, for the vitamin C and other benefits they provide, and as an important household ingredient in cleaning and preserving food.
Unique Ways to Use Grapefruit and Lemon Peels
Aside from boiling them to make tea, what else can you use grapefruit and lemon peels for?
You can use them to make the following.
- Candied Citrus Peels
- Citrus-Flavored Olive Oil
- Infused Drinks
- Infused Water
- Flavored Compound Butter
- Grind them and freshen your trash can
- Combined with salt, it can be an effective stain remover
- Add to brown sugar to prevent clumping
- Compost them
- Freeze them for later use to add to recipes
Frequently Asked Questions What Are the Benefits of Boiling Grapefruit and Lemon Peels?
Can Boiling Lemon Peels Help Increase Immunity?
Lemon peels, like other citrus peels, have high concentrations of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is known to strengthen and promote immunity. Boiling lemon peels and then consuming the infused water as tea can boost your intake of vitamin C.
How Can I Get the Benefits of Grapefruit Peel and Lemon Peel?
Boiling grapefruit and lemon peel as tea or infusing them in water is a great way to drink in their benefits. Boiling them, drying them, and tossing them in sugar as candied citrus peels is also another way of consuming them.
Conclusion to What Are The Benefits of Boiling Grapefruit and Lemon Peels
Grapefruit, lemon, and other citrus peels are often discarded and not consumed.
However, studies have shown that peels are significant sources of vitamin C, antioxidants, and other health-promoting compounds that support healthy body functioning, and that, along with the pulp and the rind, it would be beneficial to add them to our diets.
Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)
Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.