Mangoes are a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The skin of the mango is also nutrient-dense, containing valuable substances like carotenoids. However, it may have pesticide residue or trigger allergies.
The outer layer of fruits and vegetables, often discarded, is a protective barrier for the tender interior. Though frequently overlooked, most of these outer layers are edible and brimming with healthful components such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and potent plant compounds.
Mango, a widely enjoyed fruit, typically has its skin removed and discarded prior to consumption.
However, some suggest that the nutrient-rich mango skin should be eaten rather than thrown away.
This article delves into the benefits of consuming mango skin.
Health advantages of mango skin
Mango (Mangifera indica) is a tropical fruit known for its delightful flavor and rich nutritional profile.
Before the fruit ripens, its outer skin or peel is green. As it ripens, the skin transitions to shades of yellow, red, or orange, depending on the mango variety.
Mangoes are celebrated for their health benefits, being an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and B6, and minerals like potassium and copper.
They also boast a range of plant compounds, including polyphenol and carotenoid antioxidants.
The mango skin, much like the fruit’s flesh, is densely packed with nutrients.
Studies indicate that mango skin is rich in polyphenols, carotenoids, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, and various beneficial plant compounds.
Dietary patterns high in vitamin C, polyphenols, and carotenoids are associated with reduced risks of heart disease, certain cancers, and cognitive decline.
One laboratory study revealed that mango skin extract showed more potent antioxidant and anticancer activities compared to mango flesh extract.
Moreover, the skins of these sweet fruits contain significant amounts of triterpenes and triterpenoids—compounds recognized for their anticancer and antidiabetic properties.
The skin is also a rich source of fiber, vital for digestive health and managing hunger.
In fact, fiber constitutes 45–78% of the mango peel’s total weight.
Summary: Mango skins are nutrient-dense, offering a wealth of health-boosting antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.
Possible drawbacks of consuming mango skin
While mango skin is recognized for its nutritional value, it’s essential to consider its potential downsides.
Risk of allergic reactions from mango skin
Mango skin contains urushiol, the same compound present in poison ivy and poison oak.
For some individuals, particularly those sensitive to urushiol-rich plants, eating mango skin can trigger allergic reactions like itchy rashes and swelling.
Mango skin and pesticide residue
Fruits and vegetables, including mangoes, are often treated with pesticides to protect against diseases and pests.
Peeling mangoes can reduce the intake of these chemicals, but eating the skin might lead to increased consumption.
High, ongoing exposure to pesticides is linked to several health issues, including disruptions to the endocrine system, fertility problems, and a higher risk of certain cancers. However, the occasional ingestion from fruit skin typically represents a minor exposure.
Texture and flavor concerns of mango skin
Mangoes are known for their sweet, juicy flesh, but their skin might not be as appealing.
The skin can be tough, fibrous, and slightly bitter, which might not be palatable for everyone despite the nutritional benefits.
Summary: Mango skin contains urushiol, which can lead to allergic reactions. It may also carry pesticide residues and has a texture and taste that many find unappealing.
Should you eat mango skin?
Acknowledging that mango skin is edible and rich in essential nutrients and potent plant compounds is crucial.
Suggested read: How mangos affect diabetes and blood sugar levels
However, the question remains whether the potential benefits outweigh the drawbacks like the tough, bitter skin, the possibility of pesticide residues, or the risk of allergic reactions.
Interestingly, the nutrients found in mango skin are also available in various other fruits and vegetables, allowing you to enjoy these health benefits without enduring the unpleasant aspects of mango skin.
Summary: You can obtain the nutrients present in mango skin from a diverse range of fruits and vegetables, making it unnecessary to consume mango skin if you prefer not to.
How to eat mango skin
If you’re curious about incorporating mango skin into your diet, there are several ways to do so.
One straightforward method is to eat the mango as you would other skin-on fruits like apples, pears, or peaches—simply bite into it without peeling.
To counteract the skin’s slightly bitter flavor, consider adding slices of mango with the skin on to your preferred smoothie. Blending the mango skin with other delicious ingredients can significantly improve its taste.
Whether you opt for eating it whole or sliced, ensure you wash the mango skin properly using water or a fruit and vegetable cleaner to eliminate any pesticide residue.
Summary: Consuming mango skin is possible by eating the fruit whole, like an apple, or by blending skin-on slices into a smoothie to disguise the bitter taste. Remember to thoroughly wash the mango to remove any pesticide residues.
Mango skin is indeed edible and a rich source of essential nutrients such as vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
While it can provide health benefits, the skin’s bitter taste, the potential retention of pesticide residues, and the presence of allergenic compounds are considerations.
Eating mango skin is generally safe for most individuals, but it’s not a necessity. A balanced diet rich in whole foods, including a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, will naturally supply your body with all the necessary nutrients.
Suggested read: Passion fruit: Nutrition, benefits, and how to eat it