This is exactly how the skins of your fruit benefit your health.
Good news is, you don’t actually need to go through the extra hassle of peeling your fruits and vegetables, says Carolyn Brown, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist at Foodtrainers in New York City. In fact, you’re better off keeping the skins on.
That’s because the peels are packed with the good stuff, like antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, she says. When you strip the skins, you’re cutting out extra essential nutrients that fight disease and keep your body humming along smoothly, according to a review published in Advances in Nutrition.
For example, about one third of the nutrients in an apple—like vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium—can be found in the peel. The same goes for your spuds: Potato skins contain half the fiber—an essential carb that helps keep you full—and a whole lot more calcium and iron than just the starchy vegetable itself, Brown notes. Peels and rinds generally make up around half of a fruit’s overall fiber content, she adds.
What’s more, keeping the peel on can give your meals a different taste and texture and cut down your overall prep time.
“I recommend eating skins on apples, pears, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, nectarines, peaches, plums, potatoes, and sweet potatoes,” Brown says.
And don’t let your citrus peels go to waste: Save your orange rind and use it as zest to add extra flavor to your chicken or fish, Brown suggests.
To be clear, we’re not telling you to go out and eat a spiky pineapple rind. Use your best judgment: If your fruit or vegetable has a tough exterior, you may be better off peeling it, Brown says. And if you really can’t stand the taste or texture of potato skin, you’re better off eating a peeled vegetable than no vegetables at all, Brown says. But if you want to take full advantage of all those extra nutrients hiding in their rinds, read up on these 6 fruits and vegetables you should never peel.