Is it better to juice oranges with or without the peel?

Oranges are one of the most popular fruits around the world. They are packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients that provide many health benefits. When it comes to juicing oranges, some people prefer to juice them peel and all, while others remove the peel first. So which is better – juicing oranges with or without the peel?

Nutritional Differences Between Orange Peel and Fruit

The peel and the flesh of the orange contain different nutrients. Here is an overview of the main nutritional differences:

  • The peel is higher in certain nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and magnesium.
  • The flesh is higher in antioxidants like carotenoids, flavonoids, hesperidin, and vitamins like folate and thiamine.
  • The peel contains higher amounts of citrus flavonoids and polymethoxylated flavones which have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
  • The flesh is higher in sugars like fructose, glucose, and sucrose that give oranges their sweet taste.

So while both parts are nutritious, the peel offers some additional nutrients and health compounds that the flesh does not contain.

Potential Benefits of Juicing with Orange Peel

Given the unique nutrient profile of orange peels, there are some potential benefits associated with juicing oranges with the peel:

  • More fiber – The peel contains higher amounts of fiber, including insoluble fiber like pectin. This can help promote digestive health.
  • Higher antioxidant content – With more flavonoids, polymethoxylated flavones and carotenoids, the overall antioxidant content of the juice may be increased when the peel is included.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects – The citrus flavonoids in the peel have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Anticancer benefits – Compounds in the peel may help protect against certain cancers like skin, lung, breast and stomach cancer.
  • Higher nutrient content – More vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and other nutrients are retained when orange peel is included.

However, more research is needed to confirm some of these potential health benefits. But juicing with the peel may provide a more nutrient-dense beverage.

Downsides of Juicing with Orange Peel

While orange peels can add nutrients, there are some potential downsides to consider as well:

  • Bitter taste – Orange peels contain citrus bioflavonoids that can give the juice a bitter taste which some find unpleasant.
  • Pesticide residue – Orange peels may contain higher amounts of pesticide residues compared to the flesh.
  • Difficulty digesting – The cellulose and fibrous nature of orange peels can be difficult for some people to break down and digest.
  • GI upset – The high fiber content when consuming peels may cause digestive issues like gas, bloating or diarrhea for sensitive individuals.

So people who experience any digestive problems from high fiber foods may want to avoid juicing peels.

Tips for Juicing with Orange Peel

If you want to try juicing oranges with the peel, here are some tips to improve the flavor and reduce any potential digestive issues:

  • Wash thoroughly – Clean the oranges well to help remove surface pesticides.
  • Remove the outermost layer – Peel off the waxy colored outer layer which is toughest to digest.
  • Use organic – Choose organic oranges when possible to minimize pesticides.
  • Balance with flesh – Use a ratio of 2 parts orange flesh to 1 part peel.
  • Blend well – Blend the juice thoroughly to break down the peel fibers.
  • Drink slowly – Sip your juice slowly to allow time to digest the fiber.
  • Watch for reactions – Monitor how your body reacts and reduce peel amounts if needed.

Best Juicer Types for Orange Peels

To juice orange peels, you need a powerful juicer that can grind through the tough peel. Here are the best types of juicers to use:

  • Masticating juicers – Also called slow or cold press juicers, these crush and press the oranges to extract juice. The auger is powerful enough to break down peels.
  • Twin gear juicers – These use twin gears to crush produce and are especially efficient for juicing peels.
  • Centrifugal juicers – High powered centrifugal models with hard blades can juice peels but may not extract as much juice.
  • Citrus press juicers – Specialized citrus juicers press and grind the whole orange, ideal for juicing peels.

Avoid juicers with soft blades or gears that aren’t designed to grind hard foods. Stick to stainless steel twin gear, masticating or citrus press juicers for best results when juicing orange peels.

Nutrition Comparison of Orange Juice With and Without Peel

Here is a nutrition comparison of 1 cup of orange juice made with and without the peel:

Nutrient Orange Juice Without Peel Orange Juice With Peel
Calories 112 127
Carbs 25g 27g
Fiber 0.5g 3.5g
Sugar 21g 21g
Protein 2g 3g
Vitamin C 124mg (207% DV) 203mg (338% DV)
Calcium 27mg (3% DV) 69mg (7% DV)
Potassium 496mg (14% DV) 666mg (19% DV)

As you can see, the orange juice made with the peel provides significantly more fiber, vitamin C, calcium and potassium compared to juice from just the orange flesh.

Considerations for Children and Older Adults When Juicing Peels

While juicing with peels can provide more nutrients, there are some special considerations for certain groups:

  • Children – Should avoid too much peel as their digestive systems are still maturing. Limit to a small amount of softened peel.
  • Older adults – May have difficulty digesting excess fiber from peels. Introduce small amounts and monitor digestion.
  • Those with GI issues – People with digestive problems should be cautious with high fiber peels.
  • Pregnant women – Should thoroughly wash peels and limit intake of outermost layer due to pesticide concerns.

In most cases, it is best to juice oranges without the peel for children, older adults, and those with any digestive issues. For others, moderate amounts of peel can be beneficial.

The Bottom Line

Juicing oranges with the peel provides more fiber, nutrients, and plant compounds compared to juicing just the flesh. But the high fiber content may cause digestive problems for some people. The outer peel is also more prone to pesticides. For most people aiming to maximize nutrition, juicing oranges with a moderate amount of peeled is a good option. But listen to your body, and peel the oranges if you experience any GI upset.

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