Can You Eat Orange Peels, and Should You?

Yet, other than for zesting, orange peels are usually removed and discarded before the fruit is eaten.

Still, some argue that orange peels contain important nutrients and should be eaten rather than thrown away.

This article reviews whether orange peels are a healthy addition to your diet.

Beneficial nutrients and plant compounds

Oranges are juicy, sweet citrus fruits known for being high in vitamin C.

It’s perhaps less well known that orange peels are also rich in several nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, and plant compounds like polyphenols.

In fact, just 1 tablespoon (6 grams) of orange peel provides 14% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C — nearly 3 times more than the inner fruit. The same serving also packs about 4 times more fiber.

Studies show that diets high in vitamin C and fiber benefit heart and digestive health and may protect against certain types of cancer

Orange peel also contains good amounts of provitamin A, folate, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, and calcium (1).

Plus, it’s rich in plant compounds called polyphenols, which may help prevent and manage many chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s

One test-tube study found that the total polyphenol content and activity in orange peels was significantly higher than in the actual fruit

Specifically, orange peels are a good source of the polyphenols hesperidin and polymethoxyflavones (PMFs), both of which are being studied for their potential anticancer effects

Additionally, nearly 90% of the essential oils in orange peels are made up of limonene, a naturally-occurring chemical that has been studied for its anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, including against skin cancer