There are parts of your fruit and veg you should be eating. Pexels

To give your health an extra boost, put the vegetable peeler back in the drawer — for those skins, stalks and scrappy bits we chop or pare off fruit and vegetables are often the healthiest bits of all.

‘Some nutrients, such as vitamin C and fibre, are more concentrated in or just under the skin, so you can dilute the benefits by removing it,' says registered dietitian Helen Bond.

‘And those bits you tend to discard, the harder, redder outsides of onions or the darker, outside bits of leafy greens, tend to be higher in compounds such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which have reputed anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.'

Strawberries

Don't discard: The green leafy top
Instead: Steep in hot water to make a herbal tea

  • Those star-shaped leaves attached to the top of a strawberry — the hull or calyx — are packed with antioxidants. 
  • Strawberry leaves contain high amounts of a group of antioxidants called ellagitannins, which are linked with vascular health (i.e. flexible blood vessels and healthy blood pressure). In traditional herbal medicine, strawberry leaves are also used to soothe arthritis pain — they contain caffeic acid, which is thought to be anti-inflammatory.
  • Steep six to seven strawberry calyxes in a mug of hot water to replace one or more of your cups of tea a day.

Onions

Don't discard: The skin
Instead: Add to stock

  • The papery skin isn't something you can eat as it is, but these inedible layers can be added to stocks, where they will give extra depth of flavour and nutrients.
  • The skin is the part of the onion richest in the pigment quercetin — it's not destroyed by boiling and will leach into the stock.

The pineapple core is rich in bromelain. Pixabay

Pineapple

Don't discard: The core
Instead: Chop into small pieces and use in a fruit salad

  • Though a little tougher and less sweet than the meat, pineapple core is perfectly edible and is richer in bromelain — a protein-digesting enzyme used in powdered form as a meat tenderiser.
  • Bromelain consumed in foods or supplements is a natural digestive aid, so a dessert of fresh pineapple, including the core, would be good after a meat-heavy meal.

Butternut squash

Don't discard: The seeds
Instead: Roast them

  • Like pumpkin seeds, butternut squash seeds are a good source of important minerals, in particular zinc.
  • Scoop out the seeds, pat them dry and toast in a brush of oil in a medium oven for 20 minutes or so. They make a tasty sprinkle you can add to salads, cereal or yoghurt.

Cabbage

Don't discard: The outer leaves
Instead: Chop and stir-fry them

  • Those less-than-pristine deeper-green outer leaves often get thrown out, but they're actually much higher in carotenoids than the paler inside leaves — up to 50 times higher, according to Public Health England data.Carotenoids — a type of plant pigment which have an antioxidant effect — such as lutein and zeaxanthin, are important for eye health. 
  • ‘Stir-frying the outer leaves is a good idea as a little oil helps our bodies absorb these fat-soluble antioxidants,' says Helen Bond. This does not destroy the nutrients as long as it's a fast stir-fry in hot oil.

* Daily Mail