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This is a valid question and many people feel like they have to peel fruit and veggies and that this is a normal process of "cleaning" them. The truth is that you don't have to peel all fruits and veggies. In fact, many fruits and veggies have most of their nutrients in the skin! By peeling you could be missing out on key vitamins and minerals!
Whats In the Skin?
By not peeling you are saving yourself time and the hassle. You are also getting key vitamins and minerals that are stored in the skin. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber are all found in the skin or fruits and veggies. These are essential nutrients for your body that you don't want to miss out on!
Lets take a look at an apple for a example. Did you know that about 1/3 of the nutrients of an apple are found in the peel? This includes things like vitamin C, A, and potassium.
Another good example of this is the potato. Potato skins contain half of the fiber and much more iron and calcium that the inside. So think about including the skin the next time you make mach potatoes. In general, peels make up about 1/2 of a fruits overall fiber. Fiber is the nutrient that helps keep you feeling full after a meal.
When to Peel the Skin?
Now, I'm not saying NEVER peel the skin, you just have to use your best judgment. Some fruits and veggies will need to be peeled (like a pineapple). But some simply don't have to be. You can leave the skin on apples, pears, cucumbers, eggplants, peaches, plums, potatoes, and tomatoes.
When you do peel the skin you can also find different uses for it rather than just throwing it way. For example, you can use citrus peels and use it as zest to add extra flavor to your cooking.
Related: Best Vitamins for Natural Energy
Never Peel these Fruits and Veggies:
There are some fruits and veggies you really shouldn't peel and if you do you are missing out on key nutrients and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy.
Carrots are very rich in polyacetylenes, which is a compound that is being researched for it's potential ability to combat cancer cells in humans. These could also have other benefits like antifungel, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
If you peel a cucumber you are reducing it's calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A and K. Additionally, almost all of a cucumber's fiber is located in the skin. The interior is mostly just water.
Apple skin contains some vitamin c and a whole lot of pectin. Pectin is a fiber that can help you regulate and lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
Potato skins have more fiber, iron, and folate than the inside of a potato. Some research has even suggested that the skin could have 5 to 10 time more antioxidants than the interior.