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Is it safe to eat the skin of kiwi?

Introduction

Kiwis are a nutritious fruit that are enjoyed around the world. While many people enjoy the sweet, tangy flesh of the kiwi, some prefer to eat the fuzzy brown skin as well. The skin of the kiwi contains high amounts of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. However, there has been some debate over whether it is safe or healthy to eat kiwi skins. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and potential risks of consuming kiwi skins to help you decide if you would like to eat them or not.

Nutritional Benefits of Kiwi Skins

Kiwi skins contain a significant amount of nutrients and plant compounds that make them very healthy to eat. Here are some of the top nutrients found in kiwi skins:

Dietary Fiber

Kiwi skins are an excellent source of fiber. A 100g serving of kiwi skins provides around 7g of fiber, while the flesh only provides about 3g. The skin’s fiber content is comparable to that of many whole grains and significantly higher than most fruits. Fiber is essential for digestive health, weight management, and reducing cholesterol levels.

Vitamin C

Kiwi skins contain a tremendous amount of vitamin C – even more than the flesh. 100g of skin has over 200% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. This vital antioxidant boosts immunity, aids collagen production, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Vitamin E

The skin of kiwis is high in vitamin E. This antioxidant vitamin benefits skin health, heart health, and even cognitive function.

Folate

Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is abundant in kiwi skins. Folate is key for preventing birth defects and producing healthy red blood cells.

Potassium

Kiwi skins provide more potassium than bananas – over 300mg per 100g. Potassium regulates fluid balance and supports bone, muscle, heart, and nerve function.

Nutrient Per 100g Kiwi Skin % Daily Value
Fiber 7g 25%
Vitamin C 228mg 254%
Vitamin E 2.6mg 17%
Folate 58mcg 15%
Potassium 312mg 9%

Potential Concerns with Eating Kiwi Skins

While kiwi skins are nutritious, there are some potential downsides to consuming them that should be considered:

Pesticide Residue

Kiwis are on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of produce most contaminated with pesticides. The fuzzy skin is more prone to holding onto chemical residues compared to the flesh. Make sure to thoroughly wash kiwis before eating the skins.

Oxalates

Kiwi skins have a moderately high oxalate content. Oxalates can bind to calcium and cause kidney stones in those prone to the condition.

Allergens

Some people may have allergic reactions to compounds found in the skin but not the flesh. Oral allergy syndrome is possible, causing itchy mouth and throat.

Texture

The fuzzy hair-like texture of kiwi skins can be unappealing or hard to digest for some. The skin provides a sour, bitter flavor compared to the sweet flesh.

Pesticides

Kiwi skins may contain higher amounts of pesticide residues compared to the flesh. Be sure to wash them thoroughly before eating.

Potential Concern Details
Pesticide residue Kiwis are prone to high pesticide levels. Wash skins thoroughly.
Oxalates May cause issues for those prone to kidney stones.
Allergens The skin may trigger oral allergy syndrome in some.
Texture The hairy, sour skin may be unappealing.
Pesticides Skins likely contain more pesticides than flesh.

Tips for Eating Kiwi Skins

If you want to consume kiwi skins, here are some tips to make them more palatable and reduce potential risks:

– Wash thoroughly – Scrub skins under running water and use a produce wash to remove pesticides.

– Peel thinly – Removing just the outermost hairy layer can make skins smoother and less sour.

– Blend into smoothies – Mixing skins into fruit smoothies makes them undetectable. Great way to get nutrients.

– Bake into muffins – Baking skins into treats like muffins improves the texture.

– Take precautions if at risk – Avoid skins if you have kidney issues or oral allergy syndrome.

– Buy organic – Choosing organic kiwis reduces pesticide contamination risks.

– Start slow – Introduce skins gradually to allow your body to adjust and avoid stomach upset.

Tip Details
Wash thoroughly Use a produce wash and scrub well to remove pesticides
Peel thinly Removing just the outer hairy layer reduces texture issues
Blend into smoothies Mixing into smoothies makes the skins undetectable
Bake into treats Baking improves the texture of the skins
Take precautions if necessary Avoid if you have kidney issues or oral allergy syndrome
Buy organic kiwis Reduces pesticide contamination risk
Start slow Gradually introduce skins to allow adjustment

The Bottom Line

Kiwi skins are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. However, they also contain antinutrients, allergens, and pesticide residues in some cases. Whether you want to eat the skins comes down to your personal taste preferences and health status. If you enjoy the texture and flavor and are not at high risk for kidney stones or allergies, consuming the skins can provide you with an extra boost of nutrition. But feel free to peel them if you find the sour, hairy texture unpalatable. With the right precautions like washing and organic selection, kiwi skins can be a nutritious part of your diet.

References

1. Kiwifruit skins and fleshes positively influence mineral absorption and metabolism in Wistar rats.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24624288/

2. The Potential Health Benefits of Kiwifruit.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3887317/

3. Oxalate content of fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21633150/

4. Kiwi allergies occur almost exclusively in adults.
https://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies/types-food-allergy/kiwi-allergy

5. EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce
https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php