Can You Eat Peach Skin, and Should You?
They can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or baked. Both the peach flesh and skin are edible, but you may wonder whether thereâ€™s any reason to avoid the skin.
This article reviews the possible benefits and downsides of eating peach skin.
Peach skin is not toxic to humans and generally safe to eat. It can even provide some health benefits.
Peaches as a whole are a good source of energizing complex carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also provide antioxidants that fight reactive molecules called free radicals, which cause oxidative damage and may lead to disease (1).
Peach skin, in particular, contributes much of the 3 grams of fiber found in a large peach. Thus, eating a peach with its skin is the best way to get the most fiber out of it (1).
Fiber-rich fruits help promote regular bowel movements and have even been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease (2, 3).
Peach skin also contains more antioxidant compounds, including polyphenols like caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, than the flesh (4, 5).
One older study found that the peels of peaches contained over double the number of polyphenols than their flesh. Peach skin also had significantly more fiber than unpeeled peaches (4).
Another rat study investigating the effects of various components in peaches on oxidative stress and inflammation found that peach peel exerted significant protective effects against oxidative damage in the kidneys, liver, and brain (5).
That said, the flesh of fresh peaches also exhibited protective effects (5).
While more research and human studies are needed, these results suggest that eating a peach with its skin likely provides the greatest protection against damage and inflammation in the body.
Peach skins provide more fiber and antioxidant compounds than peeled peaches, so a whole peach may confer more health benefits than a peeled one.
One downside of eating peach skin is the possible presence of pesticides, which are chemicals that help prevent damage to crops and improve yields.
In most cases, the skins of fruits and vegetables treated with chemicals have a higher concentration of pesticides than their flesh (6).
Thereâ€™s growing concern about the health effects of pesticides. Some research suggests that the consumption of and exposure to pesticides over time may lead to the development of certain diseases, including Parkinsonâ€™s and some cancers (7, 8).
However, the effects of pesticides on human health are still largely uncertain, and more extensive research is warranted. The effects of pesticides in humans likely depends on the type of pesticide and level of exposure (7).
If youâ€™re concerned about consuming pesticides from peach skin, wash peaches well with water, peel them before eating them, and/or choose ones that are certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
While organic certification doesnâ€™t guarantee that the food is completely free of pesticides, pesticide use on organic fruits and vegetables is more restricted (9).
Another downside of eating peach skin is that it may cause digestive discomfort for those with moderate to severe inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or other digestive issues (10).
Most dietary recommendations for these conditions recommend avoiding unpeeled fruit and most raw fruits in general (10).
Lastly, certain recipes, such as those for pies or ice cream, may recommend removing the skin to enhance the final product.
Peach skin likely contains more pesticides than the flesh. In addition, eating fiber-rich peach skin may worsen digestive issues.
The bottom line
Peach skin is generally healthy and safe to eat for most people.
In fact, itâ€™s higher in fiber and certain antioxidants than peach flesh alone. As such, eating a whole peach with its peel may provide the greatest potential health benefits.
However, peach skin may contain more pesticides than the flesh.
If you want to reduce pesticide levels on peach skin, wash and peel the peach before eating it, and/or choose organic ones at the store. Still, keep in mind that getting rid of the peel will also get rid of some beneficial nutrients.
Furthermore, people with IBD or other digestive issues are typically advised to avoid raw fruits with their peels.
Lastly, it may be best to peel your peaches for certain recipe preparations like pies or ice cream. Simply follow the recipe suggestions for the best results.
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