Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and many phytochemicals (plant chemicals), including antioxidants (substances that protect cells from damage). Not eating enough of these nutrient-dense foods is linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In 2017, the World Health Organisation reported that about 3.9 million deaths each year around the world were attributable to people not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
Eating 400 grams of fruit and vegetables a day, as recommended by the WHO, is difficult for many to achieve. But what if eating these unpeeled foods helped solve the problem by adding important nutrients to our diet?
It could certainly contribute. For example, there are nutritionally significant amounts of vitamins, such as vitamin C and riboflavin, and minerals such as iron and zinc, in the skin of seven root vegetables: beets, field mustard, wild carrot, sweet potato, radish, ginger and white potato. And the US Department of Agriculture estimates that unpeeled apples contain 15% more vitamin C, 267% more vitamin K, 20% more calcium, 19% more potassium, and 85% more fibre than their peeled counterparts.
Additionally, many peels are rich in biologically active phytochemicals, such as flavonoids and polyphenols, which have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
Another reason not to dispose of peels is their effect on the environment. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, uneaten food, including peels, generates between 8% and 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly methane. New Zealand alone, a country with a population of just 5.1 million people, records an annual waste of 13,658 tonnes of vegetable peels and 986 tonnes of fruit skins.
Considering the nutrient content of the peels and their contribution to food waste, why are fruits and vegetables peeled? There is no other remedy when the external parts are inedible, do not taste good, are difficult to clean or cause some damage, as occurs with bananas, oranges, melons, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, onions and garlic. Also, peeling can be a necessary part of the recipe, for example when making mashed potatoes. But there are many edible peels (potato, beetroot, carrot, kiwi and cucumber) that we keep peeling unnecessarily.
Some people peel the fruit and vegetables because they are worried about pesticides. While it is true that pesticide residues can accumulate on or just below the surface, most are washed away. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration recommends washing fruit and vegetable pieces under plenty of cold water and scrubbing with a stiff brush to remove pesticides, dirt, and chemicals.
Cooking techniques, such as boiling and steaming, can also reduce pesticide residues. But since not all of them go away by washing and cooking, it may be useful to consult the lists of pesticide contents in fruits and vegetables. Among them is the one produced by the Pesticide Action Network for the United Kingdom. This can help us decide which fruits and vegetables we should peel and which peels we can safely eat.
If you want to know more about fruit and vegetable peels and what to do with them, there are plenty of tips online, including help on how to use them for composting, feeding a worm, or incorporating them into recipes.
With a little research and creativity, we can help reduce waste and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. It sure is worth a try and help meet one of the UN’s sustainable development goals: halve food waste by 2030.
Quirónsalud Torrevieja receives the golden seal of the Joint Commission International, the most demanding quality accreditation in the world in the health field
The Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja has been accredited with the golden seal of the Joint Commission International, the highest distinction granted by this body, after an exhaustive audit in which more than 1,200 quality standards have been analysed, which the hospital rigorously complies with.
This accreditation of the Joint Commission International is the most demanding worldwide for the health field and analyses that all the care and processes of the hospital are focused on safety and quality, and in a process of continuous improvement.
Continuous improvement of quality and safety in care at Quirónsalud Torrevieja
The achievement of accreditation means an official recognition of the great effort to improve the safety and quality of care, guaranteeing a safe patient care environment and permanent work for the reduction of risks.
The Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja has carried out multiple actions in order to promote a safety culture established throughout the organisation, working on the improvement of the six international safety objectives recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO): unequivocal identification of the patient, effective communication between professionals, improvement of safety in the use of high-risk medicines, safe surgery, decreasing the risk of infections and reducing the risk of falls.
The audit team has highlighted as a differentiating element of the Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja the great teamwork of the hospital, the excellence in the safety culture and the involvement and enthusiasm with the continuous improvement of the hospital.
The organisations accredited with this prestigious seal (which must be renewed every three years), respond to an international demand for evaluation in the health sector through quality levels based on evaluable standards and comparable with other countries, with the aim of stimulating constant improvement.
The Quirónsalud Group also holds this accreditation from the Teknon Medical Centre, the Dexeus University Hospital, the Quirónsalud Barcelona Hospital, the Quirónsalud Madrid University Hospital, the Quirónsalud Córdoba University Hospital, the Ricardo Palma Clinic in Lima (Peru), and the Imbanaco Clinic in Cali (Colombia).
Last year, Quirónsalud became the first private hospital group in the world to obtain the Joint Commission International Enterprise accreditation, as well as the first health entity in Europe to do so. The fact of having this recognition is an additional guarantee for patients seeking the best health care to treat their health problems.
What is Joint Commission International?
The Joint Commission International is a non-profit organisation, which has been working since the 90s in more than 100 countries to improve patient safety and quality of care, offering health accreditation services internationally. This organisation audits hospitals, health systems and agencies, government ministries and institutions, promoting rigorous standards of care. JCI is the most prestigious health accreditation in the world for its high level of demand, for the safety it provides to the patient and for the rigorous and exhaustive evaluation of all care processes.
Keys to a healthy heart free of risks
The specialists of the Cardiology Unit at Quirónsalud Torrevieja answer the most frequently asked questions about cardiovascular diseases.
What is cardiovascular pathology?
Cardiovascular disease refers to the pathological process that affects the entire arterial system, not only the coronary arteries, but also the brain, legs and the rest of the body.
Therefore, when we talk about cardiovascular disease we refer to stroke, transient ischaemic attack, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, intermittent claudication and arterial ischaemia as manifestations of cardiovascular disease, among others.
The pathological process involved is usually atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fats, cholesterol and other substances within the wall of the arteries, causing progressive narrowing and even complete obstruction, blocking the flow of blood that should reach a part of the body.
Prevention of cardiovascular diseases
In addition to exhaustively treating the classic risk factors such as arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia (hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridaemia) and tobacco consumption, there are a series of measures that help prevent the onset and progression of cardiovascular disease. The cardiology experts at Quirónsalud have drawn up the following list:
– Nutrition: is the integrating pillar for both prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
– Exercise: most cardiovascular risk factors are improved by a combination of aerobic exercise, resistance training and stretching.
– Mind-heart interactions: A clear association between emotional state and heart health has been observed. Stress can induce ischaemia by causing both epicardial and microvascular vasoconstriction.
How to prevent heart disease
At Quirónsalud, heart health experts and cardiologists recommend the benefits of a comprehensive lifestyle intervention programme, including: nutritional changes through a low-fat, vegetable-based diet, frequent physical exercise and stress management, all of which have shown the disappearance of angina pectoris in 74% of patients included in the study by Frattaroli et al.
In addition, as shown in the 2011 study by Sattelmair et al in the scientific journal Circulation, walking 30 minutes 5 days a week reduces the risk of ischaemic heart disease (angina pectoris or myocardial infarction) by 14%.
Risk factors for heart disease
There are certain risk factors for heart disease that are not within our control, such as genetic inheritance, age, gender and environmental pollution. However, by knowing these factors in each person’s specific situation, we can take appropriate measures to try to minimise the harmful effects of these risk factors.
Keeping the heart healthy
Stress is pervasive in our lives today and we need to learn how to manage it effectively. Stress can induce ischaemia by different mechanisms, but it also alters autonomic regulation and triggers the release of circulating catecholamines that can even trigger stress cardiomyopathy. In the 2012 study by Schneider et al, it was shown that meditating twice a day can reduce cardiovascular events by up to 48%.
Diet to prevent heart disease
One of the best-studied dietary approaches in cardiology is the Mediterranean diet, which consists of increasing vegetable and fruit intake, giving preference to whole grains over refined grains, reducing red meat and increasing fish consumption, with a predominant use of olive and rapeseed oil.
Sport for an active heart
The sport with the most cardiovascular benefits would be one that combines aerobic exercise, resistance training and stretching.
Walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week has been shown to play a beneficial role in cardiovascular risk management. Thus, sports such as running, cycling, jogging, trekking or swimming would fulfil this role. A notable cardiovascular benefit has also been demonstrated with tai chi, a form of martial art from ancient China that is characterised by smooth, flowing movements.