Mangos are a delicious fruit. Usually, you eat them peeled, but the peels of many fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and phytochemicals. If you're used to eating the peels of fruit like apples or pears, you may wonder if the skin of mango provides the same type of benefits.
Mangos are a good source of the following nutrients:
Mangos also contain many other vitamins and plant compounds that have a link to positive health outcomes. Eating mango peels may:
Help prevent or fight cancer. Mango peels contain mangiferin, norathyriol, and resveratrol, which are powerful antioxidants that may help prevent or fight cancers including lung, colon, breast, brain, and spinal cord cancers. Mango peels also contain triterpenes and triterpenoids, which are plant compounds that help fight cancer and diabetes.
One study found that extracts from mango peels contained stronger antioxidant and anticancer properties than the fruit itself.
Help with weight loss. Research conducted by the University of Queensland School of Pharmacy showed that mango peel extract reduced fat cell formation. If you want this effect, though, it's important to pick the right variety. Nam Doc Mai and Irwin varieties scored well in disrupting fat, but Kensington Pride had the opposite effect.
Help prevent heart disease. Orange fruits like mango are rich in beta cryptothanxin, which is a phytonutrient, a nutrient found in plants. This phytonutrient supports communication between your cells and may help prevent heart disease.
The high fiber content in mango peels may also help prevent heart disease. A Harvard study of over 40,000 men found that those who ate a high-fiber diet had a 40% lower risk of heart disease. Another study of female nurses had similar results.
Reduce the risk of diverticular disease. Diverticulitis, which is an inflammation of the intestines, is one of the most common age-related diseases. Eating foods high in fiber, such as mango peel, is associated with a 40% lower risk of developing diverticular disease.
Possible Concerns About Mango Peels
Taste. On their own, mango peels are tough and bitter. If you want to eat them, it may either take some getting used to or some preparation to disguise the taste.
Allergic sensitivity. Mango peels contain urushiol, the same compound that is in poison ivy and poison oak. Some people are sensitive enough to urushiol that they develop a skin rash from handling mangos. In people who are very sensitive to urushiol, mango peels can cause contact dermatitis or difficulty breathing, making it unsafe to eat the peel.
Pesticide exposure. Another safety concern with eating mango peel is pesticide exposure. Pesticide exposure has been linked to endocrine system disruption, reproductive problems, and an increased risk of certain cancers. If you want to eat mango peel, opt for organic fruit. If you can't do that, make sure to wash the fruit to minimize pesticide exposure.
How to Prepare Mango Peels
Mango peels are usually safe to eat on their own, but can be unpleasant to eat raw. One way to extract some of the nutrients from the mango skin is to make mango peel syrup. Combine a pound of mango pits and peels, a quartered lemon or lime, and a half-pound of sugar. Let sit between 4 hours and overnight until the sugar liquifies. Drain and squeeze the pulp and bottle the syrup.
Another way to enjoy mango peel without the added sugar is by dehydrating them. Mix the peel with spices such as smoked paprika, cumin, and salt. Dehydrate the peel at 135 degrees F until they're crispy.