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To Peel Or Not To Peel

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Does eating fruit and vegetable skins provide nutritional benefits?

Yes, but there may be hazards, too. Skins tend to be fairly high in insoluble fiber, which can lower the risk of some digestive disorders, and they're loaded with phytonutrients, which may help prevent many diseases. But conventionally grown produce is usually coated with tiny amounts of pesticide residues. With certain items---apples, bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, peaches pears, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes---the pesticides may be trapped under a layer of wax. Whether it's harmful to consume those residues is not clear. For maximum safety. particularly with children, you could scrub produce in a highly diluted solution of liquid dish detergent, which should remove most of the pesticides and wax. Or you could peel it---especially apples, peaches, and pears, which may be waxed and have particularly heavy residues. Alternatively, choose organically grown produce, which harbors very little or no residue. Organic produce should still be washed to remove other contaminants.

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