The next time when you want to throw away the peels of fruits and vegetables, it would be better to have a second thought about this! A new study has found that the peels that are being thrown away as wastes are actually the best source of potent antioxidants, which are fighting against aging and keeping us young.
In it is reported that sales of functional foods containing antioxidants has soared in the United States to $2.7 billion in 2003. On the very top are the vitamins C and E, soy isoflavones, estrogen-like substances under study in the prevention of cancer and catechins, tannins peculiar to green tea that stick to proteins, blocking bacteria from adhering to cell walls and disrupting their ability to destroy them.
The scientists have examined residues from different kinds of fruit that are used in juice production, such as apples, strawberries, pears, red beets etc, as well as the waste from the various kinds of vegetables, for example tomatoes, artichokes and asparagus used in canning, along with the remains from the harvesting broccoli, cucumber, chicory and endive.
All these mentioned above along with extracts of woad and golden rod herb, yielded polyphenols, a chemical that protects from aging and damage caused by free radicals.
Unfortunately, extraction methods are so expensive that it is not worth doing to red beet, asparagus and woad.
It seems as though functional ingredients extracted from some fresh produce may not be able to compete economically with commercially available synthetic antioxidants.