Though often discarded, the majority of these peels are edible and packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals and powerful plant compounds.
Mango is a popular fruit whose skin is commonly removed and thrown away before eating.
Some people argue that mango skin — which is highly nutritious — should be consumed instead of tossed.
This article explores the value of eating mango skin.
Nutrients and Plant Compounds May Offer Various Benefits
Mango (Mangifera indica) is a tropical fruit celebrated for its sweet taste and high nutrient content.
Until the fruit fully ripens, the outer skin or peel is green.
When ripe, the skin turns shades of yellow, red or orange, depending on the type of mango.
The nutritional benefits of mango are well established. It’s an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E and B6, as well as the minerals potassium and copper (1).
Mangos also contain various plant compounds, including polyphenol and carotenoid antioxidants.
Like the flesh of the mango fruit, the skin is highly nutritious.
Research shows that mango skin is loaded with polyphenols, carotenoids, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E and various beneficial plant compounds (2).
People who consume diets high in vitamin C, polyphenols and carotenoids have lower risks of heart disease, certain cancers and cognitive decline (3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
One test-tube study found that mango skin extract exhibited stronger antioxidant and anticancer properties than mango flesh extract (8).
Additionally, the skins of these sweet fruits are high in triterpenes and triterpenoids — compounds that have demonstrated anticancer and antidiabetic qualities (9, 10).
The skin is also packed with fiber, which is important for digestive health and regulating hunger.
In fact, fiber makes up 45–78% of the total weight of the mango peel (11).
Mango skins are highly nutritious and loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.
Potential Drawbacks of Eating Mango Skin
Though mango skin boasts a significant number of nutrients, it also carries risks.
May Cause an Allergic Reaction
Mango skin contains urushiol, a cocktail of organic chemicals also found in poison ivy and poison oak (12).
Urushiol can promote an allergic response in some people, especially those with sensitivities to poison ivy and other urushiol-heavy plants.
Be aware that consuming mango skin may cause an itchy rash and swelling of your skin (13).
May Contain Pesticide Residue
Many fruits and vegetables are treated with pesticides to fight bacterial infection and insects that may damage crops (14).
While peeling off mango skin decreases consumption of these potentially harmful chemicals, eating the skin increases consumption (15).
Research links pesticide exposure to negative health effects, such as endocrine system disruption, reproductive problems and increased risk of certain cancers (16).
Keep in mind that these effects are primarily associated with high, routine pesticide exposure, not the small amounts ingested from eating fruit skin.
Has an Unpleasant Texture and Taste
Though mango fruit is sweet, soft and pleasant to eat, the texture and taste of mango skin might seem unappetizing.
It’s relatively thick, difficult to chew and slightly bitter in taste.
Despite its nutritional benefits, the fibrous texture and unappealing taste of mango skin may turn you off.
Mango skin contains urushiol, a mixture of compounds that can cause allergic reactions. The skin also has an unappealing taste and may harbor pesticides.
Should You Eat It?
That mango skin is edible and packed with important nutrients and powerful plant compounds has been established.
Yet, you may wonder if the potential benefits outweigh the drawbacks outlined above, such as the tough texture, bitter taste and potential pesticide residues or allergic reactions.
In truth, the same nutrients in mango skin exist in many other fruits and vegetables, so it’s not necessary to endure the unpleasant taste of mango skin to reap its potential health benefits.
Consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables can provide the same nutritional benefits as eating mango skin.
How to Eat It
If you want to try mango skin, there are a few ways to eat it.
The easiest way is to simply consume mangoes the way you would an apple, pear or peach, biting into the fruit without removing the skin.
To mask the slightly bitter taste, try tossing skin-on mango slices into your favorite smoothie. Blending mango skin in with other tasty ingredients is an excellent way to make it more palatable.
Whether slicing or eating whole, be sure to wash the skin thoroughly with water or a fruit and veggie cleaner to remove pesticide residue.
You can try eating mango like an apple, biting into the fruit without removing the skin. If you want to mask the skin’s bitter taste, try blending unpeeled mango slices into your favorite smoothie. Always be sure to wash your mango thoroughly.
The Bottom Line
Mango skin is edible and packed with nutrients like vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.
Though it may offer health benefits, it has an unpleasant taste, may preserve pesticide residues and contains compounds that may cause allergic reactions.
While eating mango skin is safe for most people, it’s unnecessary.
Simply consuming a diet high in whole foods — including fresh, colorful produce — will provide your body with all the nutrition it needs.
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