Why do we peel fruits and vegetables? Mostly it is the same reason white bread and white rice and sugar are so popular. Wealthy people could afford to waste the coarse, more bitter skin in favor of the tender, sweeter “meat” of the vegetable or fruit. It soon became a status symbol to be able to serve peeled fruits and vegetables, just as serving white bread and white rice was seen as higher-class than brown bread or brown rice. This is also why several of the deficiency diseases afflicted the wealthiest first and then followed the diet into the lower classes as standards of living rose during the industrial revolution. At the time, no one realized many of the nutrients were being discarded along with the skins, peels, bran and husks.
You've probably been spooning out the green flesh inside for years, but a kiwi's fuzzy exterior is also edible. In fact, the skin contains more flavonoids, antioxidants and vitamin C than the insides—and double the fiber. So ditch the spoon, wash the kiwi and eat it like a peach. If you find the fuzz unappetizing, scrape it off first.
Most of the nutrients in a carrot are surprisingly located in the skin! Carrots are incredibly rich in carotene, which helps protect our eyes and make our skin glow from the inside out! They are loaded with fibre for a healthy colon, and taste pretty incredible too – what’s not to like about carrots?
The dark green skin contains the majority of a cucumber's antioxidants, insoluble fiber and potassium. The cucumber peel also holds most of its vitamin K. The next time you have a Greek salad, ask the chef not to peel your cukes.
Taking off an apple peel won't rob you of much vitamin C, but you will lose out on pectin, a soluble fiber that can help keep you regular and lower your "bad" LDL cholesterol and blood sugar. Pectin also slows digestion, helping keep cravings at bay.
Gram for gram, potato skins have more fiber, iron, and folate than potato flesh. Choose deeply pigmented purple potatoes and the skin becomes even more important: One study found that the skins of these potatoes contained 5 to 10 times more antioxidants than the flesh
Eggplant skin is packed with an antioxidant called nasunin. The compound hasn't been extensively researched on its own, but one animal study suggests that it could be important in maintaining healthy brain tissue. (Try this rockin' eggplant parm recipe.) Plus, nasunin is part of a larger family of antioxidants known as flavonoids—and the more flavonoids you eat, the less likely you are to gain weight over time, according to research.
You've probably never peeled grapes in your life, and don't start now. The skins are where you'll find all of red grapes' resveratrol—the phytochemical that seems to benefit heart and brain health, and that's been shown to slow cancer growth in cell and animal studies.
A mango's peel also contains larger quantities of carotenoids, polyphenols, omega-3, omega-6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids than its flesh. Another study found compounds more heavily concentrated in mango's skin that fight off cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Mango skin also has quercetin. The skin of a mango can be eaten raw, or cooked along with the insides. Another way to eat both flesh and skin is to pickle the entire mango.
All watermelon contains citrulline, which has antioxidant properties and converts to arginine, an essential amino acid that is beneficial to the heart, immune system and circulatory system. But most of that citrulline is found in the rind. Eating a rind might sound unappetizing, but it can be pickled (like a cucumber), or simply sautéed and seasoned. Or throw it in a blender with the watermelon flesh, and add some lime.
Like apple skin and mango skin, the outside of an onion's skin contains quercetin. Although that skin is not directly edible, you can draw out some of those nutrients by adding it to stock.
Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that can help reduce inflammation, especially in the nose and sinuses. One study found that a pineapple's core and peel yielded the highest amount of bromelain in the fruit, at 40 percent by weight.The skin and core of a pineapple straight-up would be tough on your digestive system, so try putting them through a juicer or sauté them for a few minutes in a pan.