Sports Nutrition: Should You Eat Fruit and Vegetable Skins?

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

Your students may be reluctant to eat the skins of their fruits and vegetables, fearing the insecticides that are used on farms these days. However, if they peel all their fruits and veggies, aren't they missing a rich source of nutrients?

Yes, according to nutrition counselor Nancy Clark, who usually advises people to eat fruit and veggie skins because they're high in nutrients. In fact, the highest concentration of nutrients is usually just below the skin, which might be removed when the skin is peeled.

 Clark feels that undesirable dirt, germs and chemicals can be removed by scrubbing the skin of the fruit or vegetable with a soft brush and warm water.

The exception to the non-peel rule is fruits that have been waxed. While the wax itself is edible, it can retain chemicals such as pesticides and should be removed. Apples and cucumbers are sometimes waxed to improve their shelf life.

1. Nancy Clark (M.S., R.D.,), “Medical and Training Advice: The skinny on skins.” Runner's World, August 1996.
2. Nancy Clark, Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook-4th Edition,  Human Kinetics, 2008.

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