Every time you peel your favorite veggie or fruit, you may be throwing out many of the nutrients that it has to offer. Although it is not always the tastiest part of the produce, the skin offers a large amount of the nutritional benefits associated with fruits and vegetables. Below you’ll find a list of some of the most common produce items that are peeled, that should always be kept in intact.
Many packaged apple slices come without the skin, which makes for a snack virtually devoid of any nutrients. Apples contain large amounts of vitamin C, fiber, and phytochemicals in the skin. These nutrients help protect against cognitive diseases, diabetes, obesity, and possibly even cancer.
So much of carrots’ benefits are tossed in the garbage if you’re peeling this vegetable. The skin of a carrot contains most of the carotenoids and polyphenols, which can help treat and prevent heart disease, types of cancer, and diabetes.
Not only are cucumbers extremely hydrating and low-calorie due to their high water content, but they also offer large amounts of flavonoids and other nutrients which can help prevent cancer. You’ll only gain these benefits, however, by keeping the peel on.
Eggplant isn’t usually a favorite of anybody’s, but when it is eaten, it’s usually sans skin. This waxy, purple outer layer should not be neglected, however, for it is rich in a certain type of flavonoids that can prevent cell damage due from free radicals in the body. The skin also contains phytochemicals which help to lower blood sugar and reduce one’s risk of diabetes.
Contrary to popular opinion, the skin of a kiwi fruit is entirely edible and rich in nutrients. The fuzzy peel of a kiwi contains most of the fruit’s fiber, folate, potassium, and copper contents. If you don’t care for the skin’s texture, it may help to run the fruit under running cold water and scrub the skin to get rid of the fuzz.
Recent studies have shown that the skin of a mango actually contains far more nutrients than the flesh of the fruit. Some of the nutrients to be found in the skin include flavonoids, carotenoids, and polyphenols. These nutrients help eliminate free radicals from the body. Because the skin of a mango can be a little tough, it may be best to chop it up and add it to a salad, or to simply incorporate the fruit (skin on) into your smoothie.
Be warned, however, that some people may have a reaction to the skin of a mango similar to a poison ivy reaction; if you can hold the mango in your hand without a reaction, you are good to go.
Potatoes are the #1 vegetable that is often peeled before being cooked and eaten. Fresh potatoes wrapped in their natural skins (and without additions such as cheese or butter) offer a low calorie, low fat, and vitamin rich side dish or snack. Most of the potato’s benefits are yielded in the skin, which contains high amounts of vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and folate.
By now you should be convinced that many of the fruits and vegetables you used to peel should be kept intact from here on out. Without the skin, you are not getting all of the benefits out of your produce, particularly those discussed above. Always be sure to wash your produce thoroughly, especially when you are keeping the skin on. If possible, opt for organic produce as often as possible to avoid harmful pesticide that could be lingering on the skin.