If you constantly peel your fruits and vegetables, what made you decide to take this extra step? Are you worried about the pesticides on the peel? Is it because you don’t like the texture? Or is it not appealing to your dishes? Unfortunately, you may have just discarded the very valuable part of your fresh foods that is packed with nutrients! So, why are some peels good for you and how should you decide what to peel?
The nutrient contents in different types of fruit and vegetable vary, but generally speaking, non-peeled ones contain higher amounts of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds compared to the peeled counterparts. A boiled potato with skin can contain up to 175% more vitamin C, 110% more magnesium, 111% more folate and 115% more potassium than a peeled one. A raw apple with skin contains up to 332% more vitamin K, 142% more vitamin A, 115% more vitamin C, 20% more calcium and up to 19% more potassium than a peeled apple. Peels keep you fuller longer thanks to their high fiber content. The antioxidants concentrated in the outer layer of fruits and vegetables may help prevent some diseases. Studies have shown that antioxidants may help lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers.
On the other hand, some peels could be inedible or hard to clean. For example, the peels of pineapple or onions have a tough texture which is hard to chew and digest. Many people remove the peels as they are worried about the pesticides remaining on the surface. Most pesticides remain on the outer peel of the fruits and vegetables. A study has shown that the response ratios for washing fruits and by tap water, boiling and sun drying were 0.59, 0.71 and 0.65, respectively, indicating that they could reduce the pesticide residues effectively. Besides, the amount of pesticides used on fresh foods is strictly regulated, and the upper limits in Canada are much lower than the lowest that may be harmful to humans.
To sum up, peels are rich in vitamins, fiber, minerals and antioxidants. The inedible and hard-to-clean peels could be removed but try to eat your fruits and vegetables with the peels if possible.