Should You Eat Fruit with or without Skin?

March 16, 2020
In this article, we’ll show you why it's a good idea to eat fruit with the skin and how to do it properly without hygienic risks.

Fruit skins are very interesting elements from a nutritional standpoint. Some authors advise that we shouldn’t eat fruit with the skin on, due to the possible presence of heavy metals or possibly harmful chemicals on them.

But the skin is rich in nutrients and elements that you need in order to stay in good health. Below, we’ll show you what these nutrients are and the measures that you need to take to eat fruit with the skin without putting yourself at risk.

Fruit skin provides a lot of fiber

Although not all fruit skins are edible, they all contain a significant amount of fiber. Fiber is positive for the prevention of colon cancer, for improving gastrointestinal transit, and to reduce the incidence of other complex diseases.

In addition, the regular consumption of fiber improves microbiota quality and biodiversity. This can positively impact many other bodily functions.

You need to remember that an adequate intake of fiber slows down digestion and, thus, the absorption of sugars. Therefore, it produces a lower insulin peak and causes less stress on the pancreas. In a world where diabetes has become an endemic disease, any strategy to prevent it is welcome.

A fruit salad.

Keep reading: 7 Fruits and Vegetables that May Help Reduce Cancer Risk

The skins of fruits also contain nutrients

Fruit skins usually contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, and consuming them improves your micronutrient intake.

In some cultures and countries, the skins are baked to make them fit for consumption or even used to make teas, thus allowing the vitamins they contain to pass to the water. This is because most of the vitamins in fruits are water-soluble. Therefore, they have the ability to move from the skin to the hot water. Likewise, it’s quite common to use citrus peel to dress salads.

On the other hand, the skins of some fruits are rich in antioxidants. These substances are essential to prevent oxidation and aging and to fight the formation of free radicals.

Also, a regular intake of antioxidants is essential to ensure proper health. Therefore, you mustn’t dispose of the skins of fruits, as they’re great sources of these substances.

The risk of pesticides

The authors who advocate for the consumption of peeled fruits base themselves on the possible presence of chemicals on the skins. To prevent the ingestion of these substances, it’s necessary to wash the fruit thoroughly before considering it suitable for consumption.

Thus, it’s a good idea to put the piece of fruit under the tap and rub it a little to ensure proper hygiene. Even wiping it with a damp cloth may be enough.

Experts advise pregnant women to avoid consuming the skins of fruits to prevent possible poisoning due to toxoplasmosis. If they want to ingest them, they should previously disinfect the fruit with a product that kills the bacteria that may exist.

Another reason why you should thoroughly wash fruit before consumption is to remove waxes. Normally, these substances are used in order to improve the visual quality of the product when they’re on the market. Waxes are usually applied by aerosols on inedible fruit skins. However, it’s best to wash all of them to prevent the ingestion of unwanted chemicals.

Nevertheless, it’s always preferable to choose ecological or trusted varieties instead of those sold in supermarkets or large chains. This way, you’ll be accessing noticeably cleaner and healthier products that contain fewer chemicals and have better organoleptic quality.

A man washing some vegetables.

Find out more here: How to Wash Pesticides Off Your Fruits and Vegetables

Eat fruit with or without skin: conclusion

You should always eat fruit with the skin. The skins of fruits provide fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, which are necessary substances for proper bodily functioning.

However, you need to clean the fruits before consuming them in order to prevent unwanted ingestion of chemicals. Buy fruit from trusted places that guarantee their quality and wash it with water before consuming it to reduce the presence of pesticides on the skin.

  • Gianfredi V., Salvatori T., Villarini M., Moretti M., Nucci D., Realdon S., Is dietary fibre truly protective against colon cáncer? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2018. 69(8): 904-15.
  • Holscher HD., Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. Gut Microbes, 2017. 8 (2): 172-184.