If you remove and throw away the skin of most fruits and vegetablesyou may be depriving yourself of a rich source of nutrientsfiber and phytochemicals (bioactive compounds found in plants).

A study published in the journal Current Research in Food Science discovered that the peels of apples, peaches, and persimmons have higher concentrations of antioxidants (such as gallocatechin, epicatechin, and epigallocatechin) than the pulp or seeds of these fruits.

In some cases, it has been shown that the skin of some fruitsincluding grenades, has levels of antioxidants exponentially higher than those inside. The potential health effects of consuming peels are so promising that some food manufacturers are fortifying functional foods, such as breads and crackers, with fruit and vegetable peels.

In addition to stop food waste, eating the peels has nutritional benefits because “that’s where the darkest color is,” says Keith Ayoob, a registered dietitian-nutritionist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, in the United States. “Colors have nutritional power because they indicate the presence of antioxidants“, that help protect cells from damage caused by pollutants, ultraviolet rays and other sources of unstable molecules called free radicals.

As the peel It is the protective layer of fruits and vegetables, usually has concentrated compounds“These defense mechanisms also help our health. “When you peel these fruits and vegetables, you are literally peeling away some of the nutrition.”

That doesn’t mean you should eat the skin of all fruits and vegetables. Avoid the melon peel, the avocado and the pineappleand always peel the onion and garlic.

It is true that the edible skins of conventional fruits and vegetables can harbor pesticide residues, which is why it is important clean them well: “Rinse them with clean water and use a vegetable brush or paper towel on the skin,” advises Lisa Young, associate professor of nutrition at New York University. Of course, you should also wash organically grown produce to remove dirt and germs.

Next, we show you How Different Peels Compare Nutritionallywith ideas to incorporate them into your meals if you don’t eat them naturally:

When it comes to apples, “the skin is the part richest in nutrients“says Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian and professor of nutrition at Boston University. “It contains a 300% more vitamin K140% more vitamin A and 110% more vitamin C“.

Apple skin is also rich in soluble and insoluble fiber and quercetin (a powerful antioxidant), says Bazilian, author of the series Eat Clean, Stay Lean. Plus, he adds, “you chew more if you eat the skin, which slow down the speed at which you eat“.

So don’t bother peeling apples, whether you eat them raw, cooked or baked. For a delicious snack or dessert, roast whole apples in the oven or peel the skin and bake the strips with a pinch of cinnamon.

The peel of a fresh carrot represents only 11% of its weight, but contains 54% of its phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants, research has shown. Carotenoids, vitamin K, niacin and vitamin C are also more concentrated in the peel than in the interior of the carrot.

Simply wash them with a vegetable brush and running water and eat them raw or cook them. Can Peel the skin into strips and air fry them for a crispy snack, suggests Jackie Newgent, a nutritionist and plant-based chef based in New York. You can also use “ribbons” of the peeled strips in a carrot salad.

The shells of orangesgrapefruits, lemons and limes not only do they contain higher amounts of vitamin C and carotenoids than pulp of these fruits, but they are also rich in a powerful antioxidant called hesperidinwhich has anti-inflammatory properties and can help regulate blood sugar.

Research has found that people in Arizona who regularly consume citrus peels have a 34% lower risk of developing squamous cell skin cancer.

Another series of research suggests that citrus peel may have neuroprotective effects, improving cognitive function in older adults. And a study published in a 2023 issue of the journal Molecules discovered that substances in lime peel have various anticancer effects on human liver cancer cells.

This compelling evidence encourages grate the skin of the citrus in salads, soups, stews or baked goods. You can also use it to season rice, chicken or fish dishes, or roasted or grilled vegetables. Lime zest is used in some Thai soups and stews, and “in Mediterranean cuisine there is an ancient tradition of candiing citrus peels that can be eaten at the end of the meal,” Ayoob recalls.

The fact that the skin is dark purple should be an indication that it is packed with beneficial antioxidants to health. Specifically, it contains nasunin, which protects cell membranes in the body and brain. Additionally, “nasunin reduces inflammation in the body and LDL cholesterol,” says Salge Blake. The skin of the eggplant too contains fiber.

When making eggplant parmigiana, ratatouille, moussaka, or another dish, simply keep the peel on the eggplant while you prepare it for cooking. For a special treat, Newgent recommends mixing strips of eggplant skin with olive oil and seasonings and then baking them to make a vegetable “bacon.”

Many people don’t know that Kiwi skin is edible and good for health.

“The skin of kiwis It has twice as much fiber as the interior“acknowledges Alexandra Kazaks, consultant in nutritional sciences and health research at the Nutrition Division of the Institute of Food Technologists. Hairy skin too contains more folate and vitamin E than the pulp.

Some experts recommend wash a kiwi and eat it like a peach or slice it with skin. “If you slice it, you’ll eat more meat than skin,” explains Salge Blake. You can add those slices to a fruit or leafy green vegetable salad or put pieces in a blender to make a smoothie. If you don’t like fluff, you might be better off with yellow kiwis, which aren’t as harsh, suggests Ayoob.

Keep in mind: “If you have a history of kidney stones, you should not eat kiwi peels because they have a high oxalate content“warns Young, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim.

Many people wouldn’t think of eating the peel of a mango, but they should. Not only is it edible, but it is also rich in vitamin C, carotenoids, fiber and other antioxidants. And it’s “a good source of pectin, a slimy soluble fiber that lowers cholesterol levels and slows gastric emptying, so you feel fuller longer,” says Salge Blake.

Laboratory research suggests that eating mango peel can reduce fat accumulation in people. And several bioactive compounds (such as phenolic acid, mangiferin and beta-carotene) in mango peel are recognized for their antimicrobial, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

You can cut a mango into pieces and eat it with the skin. Or cook with it: “Since mango skin can be a little bitter, I suggest mixing it in a stir-fry along with some of the sweet flesh to balance the flavor,” says Newgent, author of The Plant-Based Diabetes Cookbook (The Vegetable Cookbook for Diabetes.

A note of caution: some people are allergic to the compounds in the peels and may experience reactions such as a rash, itching of the mouth or throat, or swelling of the lips, face and eyes, Kazaks warns. So proceed slowly when eating a mango peel to be sure it is good for you.

Potato skins are not often thought of as a healthy food because they are a staple on bar menus, typically “full of all kinds of fats,” Ayoob says, adding that “it doesn’t have to be that way.” .

Potato skin is not only rich in vitamin C, iron, potassium and some vitamins from group Bbut “50% of the potato fiber resides in the skin,” says Salge Blake.

So forget about peeling white, red, purple or sweet potatoes. Enough with scrub the skin with a vegetable brush under the tap, cook it and eat it with the rest of the potato. You can also remove the “guts” from the potato and eat the roasted skins with sautéed onions and mushrooms (or other vegetables) and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. Newgent also suggests sautéing the grated peels with herbs or truffle salt and using them as a garnish in other dishes.

A waste of time and nutrients: “Some people peel the tomatoes when making a soup or sauce, but it’s not necessary,” says Salge Blake. “By removing the skin, you can lose up to 80 percent of the lycopenethat helps fight cancer“.

The skin also has slightly higher concentrations of vitamin C and some B vitamins than the pulp. And research has shown that removing the skin decreases the overall antioxidant activity of tomatoes.

The solution: use the whole tomato. “Sometimes cooking without having to peel them is much easier,” Ayoob admits.