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A person peels a carrot and potatoes; a giant slash symbol hovers over the peeler.

Don’t Peel Fruits and Vegetables!

Some of the best nutrients are found in the peel of our favorite fruits and vegetables. But for years, we have become accustomed to skinning them for cooking or even eating raw.

Some fruits and vegetables that have the most nutrients in their skin

Here are some favorite fruits and veggies that you may find in your fridge today, and why you should spare them the peeler!

Carrots

I was shocked to learn that baby carrots are in fact, regular carrots that have been peeled and chopped down to their miniature size. Although this makes them highly convenient for snacking, it sadly causes them to lose much of the bulk of their nutrients. Instead of buying prepackaged baby carrots, buy large carrots, wash them, and cut them into quarters to make for easy snacking. Keep them in a glass or plastic container in your fridge with a small amount of water to keep them from drying out. “As with most fruits and vegetables, the greatest concentration of nutrients is in the skin and the tissue right below it. This makes sense because the outer layers of the plant are its first line of defense against UV rays, mold, grazing animals, insects, fungus, and disease. The more phytonutrients in those outermost layers, the better it can defend itself. When you whittle away the outer portion of a carrot, you remove one-third of its phytonutrients.”1

Potatoes

You may not eat potatoes very often now that you have diabetes due to their high glycemic index, but it is more beneficial to you to leave their skin intact. The fiber alone in the skin is beneficial as it will help to slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream. “Remove the skins and you lose 50 percent of the total antioxidants in the potato.”1 There is also a trick to making high glycemic potatoes into a low or moderate glycemic option. This means that the release of glucose into the bloodstream will be more slow and steady, decreasing the risk for spikes. “If you cook potatoes and then chill them for about twenty-four hours before you eat them, they are magically transformed into a low- or moderate glycemic vegetable.” 1 You can even reheat them before consuming and they will stay that way. This is a great option when you are a person living with diabetes.

Apples

Although it is common to peel apples for pies and crumbles, many people continue this practice when eating one fresh. “An unpeeled apple can give you 50 percent more phytonutrients than a peeled apple.”1 Whether you choose a red delicious or a granny smith, leave that peel on!

A word about pesticides

The risk of eating fruits and vegetables unpeeled is that there is a higher risk of consumption of pesticides. Scrubbing is an option but can also remove some important nutrients. The best alternative is to purchase organic produce whenever possible to decrease the risks of harmful pesticides. Most supermarkets have a central station for all organic produce making it easy to find.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Robinson, Jo. Eating on the Wild Side. New York: Little Brown and Company 2014

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