Eat food with the skin on.
This obviously comes with a bit of common sense. Don’t, for example, eat a banana with the skin on, and don’t eat an orange with the peel on (although maybe don’t pick off all the little bits of pith). You can leave the skin on sweet potatoes, chicken thighs, pork chops (crackling – yum!), apples, bacon and a whole host of other foods. I’m currently eating a kiwi with the skin on for example, and once you take the plunge and bite into its slightly furry skin it is delicious, enjoyable, and much easier than pealing it.
Fruits/ vegetables – The skin of fruits and vegetables is highly concentrated in nutrients, more so than the flesh. Amongst other reasons, this is to protect the inside of the food from the damage of the sun. Having antioxidants such as vitamin C and E in the skin helps to neutralise any radicals which might be created from the sun. In Healthy Habit #4 I mention how nutrients in common vegetables have dropped by as much as 40% over 70 years, so it is more important than ever to get as much nutrition from these fruits/ vegetables as possible.
For an example of the difference between skin of an skin off – a peeled apple contains 30% less vitamin A, 33% less beta-carotene, 13% less vitamin C, 50% less vitamin E and 73% less vitamin K, than an apple with the skin on.
Meats – The skin of meats is almost entirely fat, and in a society that predominantly (wrongly) shies away from fats, most people could do with eating some more. These natural fats are healthy, and fulfil such a vast number of essential roles in the human body, from simply providing energy to our cells, to creating hormones which regulate how the body works. These fats are just good, and everyone in the Western world could do with eating some more.
The fat from animal skin is good fat (as long as you don’t burn it in the oven). A chicken thigh with the skin on will give you approximately 9g of total fats. 2.5 of which are saturated fats, which, despite being historically deamonised, are now widely accepted has being beneficial for a number of reasons. Just over 3.5g of the fat will be mono-unsaturated fats, these are similar to types of fats found in avocados and olive oil, and have been considered to be healthy for a long time now. About 2g will by poly-unsaturated fats, which again have been considered by be healthy for a long time. then there will be a small amount of (around 100mg) of omega-3 fatty acids, which seem to have earned the title of most healthy fats (and with good reason, if consumed in moderation).
This one should be easy for most people, but if you eat the skin on most things, try and go out of your way to eat the skin on something, perhaps even a kiwi, and let me know what you thought.
Image courtesy of josephskompski