Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, mandarins, and limes are known for their high content of vitamin C and flavonoids. Both are powerful antioxidants that protect our body against a wide range of diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Although the citrus fruit itself has flavonoids content, the highest concentration of flavonoids was found in the citrus pith (the white part just beneath the peel of citrus fruits). This means that to get the maximum effects from flavonoid we should eat the fruit together with the white pith.
Citrus pith is that papery, white membrane that to some is an offense to the eyes and the tongue.
After successfully peeling grapefruits, lemons,or oranges there’s still the pith blocking our way to the juicy segments beneath. But the truth is that citrus pith is among the most concentrated sources of numerous beneficial nutrients.
The peel of citrus contains one of the most powerful substances in flavonoids – naringenin. It can reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides; and to stimulate the liver to burn excess fat. It’s such a powerful antioxidant that it can repair the DNA damage that leads to cancer.
Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit contain hesperidin. Studies show that in post-menopause it can reduce bone loss and lipids.
D-limonene is the compound that gives citrus its aroma, it also fights high cholesterol, indigestion from stomach acid and cancer.
Citrus pith contains sources of pectin and has almost the same amount of vitamin-C as the flesh. Pectin is a soluble fiber with a potential to act as an immune system stimulant, to lower serum cholesterol and relieve diarrhea.
Vitamin C, is also more potent in the peel: Compared to one wedge of lemon, 1 tablespoon of peel has twice as much vitamin C and three times as much fiber. It is also rich in vitamins A, B5 and B6, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folate, and calcium.
This makes it an ideal to use to boost your immunity, especially during the winter. If you can’t handle the texture or taste of the pith on its own, try adding it to smoothies.