Last Updated: August 2, 2021
There’s no bigger delight that running a fresh green apple under tap water and biting chunks from the fruit with the skin on. Or is there? A fresh pulpy mango?
While cautioned to contain a very rare compound in nature called “urushiol” capable of triggering allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, mango skins are generally considered safe to eat for the majority of people.
They are highly nutritious on their own and even more when paired up with the flesh, and present a variety of potential benefits some of which include the reduction of oxidative stress by virtue of their polyphenolic compounds and carotenoids, and the prevention of some chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
The potential benefits of eating mango skin
From research, mango skin has been proven to have a lot of health benefits. Some of them include:
- According to research, mango skin extract showed stronger anti-cancer properties than the flesh extract of the same mango, which could mean that mango peels could have more potential for fighting cancer than the flesh.
- According to the same research, the extracts from mango peels exhibited better antioxidant properties than the extracts from the flesh which could mean that mango peels help better prevent damage caused to your cells by unstable molecules produced by your body in response to pressure from many factors.
- Mango skins contain polyphenolic compounds and carotenoids which have been proven to likely reduce oxidative stress and prevent diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
- Mango skins also contain a healthy dose of Vitamin C which can help boost immune system.
- Mango skins contain a high dose of vitamin E which can help with skin health.
- Mango skins contain high dose of dietary fiber which is known to improve digestive health and give the feeling of satiation.
- Mango skin contains triterpenes and triterpenoids which have been observed to demonstrate anticancer and antidiabetic qualities.
From the above points, it can be seen that mangos skins do provide a number of benefits to people when consumed, but just as with any thing that has an advantage, there are also disadvantages to eating mango skin. They are outlined below.
The potential side effects
The main problem with eating mango skins are two.
Allergic reaction from Urushiol
Urushiol is a very rare compound to find in nature, mostly found in poison ivy and poison oak, and it’s basically a cocktail of organic compounds that are known to trigger allergic response primarily in sensitive individuals but also in random individuals too.
The side effect of urushiol sensitivity is inflammation, redness, itching, blisters and gastrointestinal discomfort to mention but a few. And ideally how you’d know you could be sensitive to mango skin is when you’re sure you have allergy to poison ivy. When you have stir clear of eating mango skins and derive the benefits they offer elsewhere from other fruits and foods.
Poisoning from pesticide and insecticide
While organic mangoes might be safe to eat like an apple with just a quick cold water rinse, mangoes grown with synthetic pesticides and round up herbicides usually aren’t, unless they are specifically treated with solutions to rid them off a percentage of the chemical that renders them edible.
Consuming mangoes having agro chemicals on their skins can trigger a variety of side effects some of which could be detrimental both on the short and long run.
One more thing about mangoes:
Another thing that might put you off regarding eating mango skins is its taste. Not all mangoes have a bitter skin, but almost all have tastes which somewhat contrast in a significant way to the flesh inside. Some mangoes have bitter skins, some aren’t bitter but unpleasant, like the kerosene mango, while others adopt a kind of subtle flavor on their skins that is manageable, usually the smaller variety of mangoes.
How to eat mango skins
Look for organic mangoes whenever possible
Organic mangoes do not bombard your gut with all those pesticides and growth chemicals whenever you consume them. They adopt the minimalist style for growing food items with little or no chemicals, and thus, those fruit items that normally have edible skins can typically be washed briefly under running water but still thoroughly, and then consumed straight away.
When it comes to mangoes grown using methods deviating from organic practices, you’ll have pesticide and all those gunk lingering around the surface of the skin. It is therefore a must to wash them thoroughly first before consuming, i like to say even when an earlier washing has been done along the farm to table chain. It’s the safest route out there, and not everyone would care for your health as much as you would. Besides, most washing done in this period is targeted towards eliminating dirt and kill harmful microbes rather washing away pesicides!
So when you have an in organic mango, or you’re not sure what your mango is, you want to clean them to the best of your abilities especially when you want to consume the skin.
A new study from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, suggests soaking fruits in a solution of baking soda and water for 12 to 15 minutes. One teaspoon of baking soda to two cups of water is the ratio.
After the long soaking, you want to rinse it in tap water thoroughly before eating.
So organic all the way!
Never you ever pick up fruits and consume them directly without washing, and a triple warning exclamation follows up for fruits that are to be consumed with their skins on. There could be bacteria, germs, dirt and worst among them, pesticides and chemicals.
So for organic fruits, simply rinse under cold water for 2 minutes while simultaneous scrubbing.
For in organic fruits, soak as describes above, then rinse for 30 seconds under cold running water.
Eat the mango as you would an apple
This means that you could bite chunk after chunk from the fruit, or slice portion after portion with a knife and then eat the slices. You can also slice the mango and arrange unto a plate then feed yourself from the plate.
Other ways to eat mango skin
- Incorporate it into your mango smoothies. This will suppress the funky taste of the mango if you’re not a fan of it.
- Cook it into a syrup alongside other fruit skins.
Frequently Asked Questions
What part of a mango is poisonous?
No part of the mango is poisonous. Normally, the skin should be the number one candidate, but to say that it is poisonous, by normal definition, would imply that it leads to a fatal result whenever consumed. But that’s not the case. Consuming mangoes, rarely causes any side effects on the individual. And when it does, it’s typically in sensitive individuals, and the reaction it causes is usually inflammation and rashes.
Can you just bite into a mango?
Yes, you can eat mango just as you would an apple, by biting into it. But this should only be done in moderate quantities to determine if you are sensitive to the skin, and also when the fruit is washed properly. When it’s organic, the fruit should be soaked for 12 minutes in a solution of baking soda and water, and then rinsed properly before eating.
You can eat a mango just like you would an apple by biting chunks out of the fruit with the skin on.
The skin has been proven through research to be highly nutritious with many benefits in the body. In some studies, extracts from mango peels have been shown to show stronger antioxidant and anticancer characteristics than flesh extracts.
While mango skin has been proven to be highly nutritious, not everyone is going to be able to consume them as there are a few populations that are highly sensitive to it. The compound that triggers the sensitivity is the same as the one that does so in poison ivy and poison oats, urushiol. Thus, people sensitive to poison ivy are more likely to develop allergy to mango peels, having all its symptoms.
For those that are not sure where they lie on the mango peel sensitivity scale, they can be bold enough to try out the peels at moderate amount first and see whether they develop reactions to it. They can then be sure afterwards of their sensitivity.