Vegetable and fruit peels contain plenty of antioxidants and other powerful nutrients. Some produce can be eaten straight out of the garden while others require extensive cleaning, scrubbing and peeling. Other less-popular parts of the produce, such as the core and seeds also hold other nutrients found in smaller quantities in the fruit itself (1).
For example, the hairy skin of the kiwi fruit is high in antioxidants and thought to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergenic properties, explains Dr. Marilyn Glenville, former president of the Food and Health Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine (2).
Can You Eat Mango Peel?
Mangoes are a powerhouse of vitamins C, A, E, K, and B6 as well as minerals like copper. They’re also high in fiber and other nutrients (3).
Mangiferin is also “… analgesic, antidiabetic, anti-sclerotic, antimicrobial and antiviral, cardio-, hepato-, and neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, MAO inhibiting and memory improving, as well as radioprotective against X-ray, gamma, and UV radiation.” (5)
Resveratrol, commonly found in red grapes, fights cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. It can even significantly improve glucose and lipid metabolic disorders in patients with type 2 diabetes (7).
What’s more, mangoes contain quercetin, a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects (8).
Mango Peel and Weight Loss
Oklahoma State University published a study in 2008 that found that eating mangoes may help control blood sugar and cholesterol. It may also and reduce body fat by reducing leptin levels (9). Leptin is the hormone that regulates energy consumption and storage and helps regulate appetite (10).
What’s more, research conducted by the University of Queensland School of Pharmacy found that mango peel extract inhibits fat cell formation. Two particular varieties of mango – Nam Doc Mai and Irwin- were the most effective at doing so. In contrast, the Kensington Pride variety actually promoted fat cell formation (11).
Mango pulp has high amounts of sugar, so eating the fiber-rich peel is a great way to balance out these sugars.
Is Mango Skin Safe for Everyone?
Mangoes contain urushiol, a compound also found in poison ivy and poison oak (13,14) that is responsible for skin rash when coming into contact with these plants. But worry not, the vast majority of urushiol is found mostly in the vines, sap, and stems (15) of the mango plant, not the fruit itself.
In general, mango peel contain very little urushiol. However, some people are more sensitive to this compound and may experience an allergic reaction such as dry skin (dermatitis) just by touching or eating the tropical fruit.
Even if you’re not sensitive to mangoes, it’s best to eat a little bit of mango peel at a time to see how your body reacts to it, since it’s possible to be exposed to urushiol-containing plants all your life and suddenly develop a sensitivity.
The easiest way to know whether or not you can eat mango peel is by holding the fruit with your bare hands. If you begin to feel an itch on your hands, it’s best to remove the peel before eating or avoid the fruit altogether.
Another thing to remember is that if you have a strong reaction to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, it’s probably best in your case to avoid eating mango skin.
How to Eat Mango Peel
The most obvious way to eat mango peel is to bite into it directly from the fruit, as you would an apple.
Here are other ways to enjoy mango peel:
- Smoothies: simply cut up your mango (peel and all) into the blender with your favorite fruits and veggies. Just make sure not to place the mango seed into the mix.
- Chips: Peel a mango and chop the skin into square pieces. You can then bake them or pop them into a dehydrator to make chips.
- Pickling: Pickle mango skin as you would cucumbers. For best results, spiralize the skin to make it more visually appealing.
- Zest: Zest mango skin onto desserts, salads, smoothies, or even soups. Keep in mind that some mango varieties are better for zesting than others.
- Extract: Mango peel is bitter and can be tough to chew. If you can’t stand mango peel, simply purchase a mango peel extract from your local health food store.
So can you eat mango peel? You can, and you should! Mango season only lasts so long, so make sure to stock up and save your peels!