Mangos can be fairly tricky to eat, especially as they have a relatively tough skin and a seed in the middle. Even when you do get into them, mangos are often messy.
Nevertheless, mangos are an extremely popular fruit, offering an appealing flavor profile and a range of beneficial plant-based nutrients.
But, what about the skin of the mango? Can you eat mango peel, or should you just throw it out?
Well, in part, the answer depends on who you are – as some people are sensitive to mango skin and even to mangos themselves. But, for those who aren’t, mango peel is surprisingly nutritious and can even offer some health advantages.
Mango Skin Nutrition and Benefits
So, what is it about mango peel that makes it so significant?
Well, mangos themselves offer a range of benefits. For example, they have been linked to the ability to control blood sugar, primarily because of their fiber content (1,2). Likewise, that fiber has been linked to metabolism and digestion improvements, partly due to the way that fiber acts as a prebiotic (3,4)
Nutritionally, mango peel will have many of the same components as mangos, including significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber and a range of plant-based compounds (8). Additionally, the skin may be more relevant to weight loss because most of the sugar and carbs from mango are contained in the flesh.
A key class of plant-based compounds in mango peel include the polyphenols, many of which have significant antioxidant potential (9).
Indeed, polyphenols are well-known for their health benefits. For example, the cognition benefits of cocoa have also been linked to polyphenols and these compounds are the reason for the development of products like Cocoavia.
One specific example of this type of compound is mangiferin, which may help to protect against cancer (10,11). Mangiferin also has a range of advantages, such as to balance blood sugar, control allergies, improve cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system (12,13,14).
Additionally, mango peel contains a range of enzymes that may help to improve biological function, such as our ability to absorb nutrients from our food (18).
Collectively, the various compounds may offer significant advantages to health, especially when you also consider the benefits that mangos themselves offer.
As with mangos themselves, mango skins offer a considerable range of nutrients and potential health benefits
Mango Skin and Weight Control
Along with general benefits, mango skin has also been linked to weight control and even weight loss. This impact is associated with compounds in the peel itself, ones that aren't prevalent in the fruit's flesh.
Research suggests these compounds can help to inhibit fat production. For example, one study showed this effect with peel extract from Irwin and Nam Doc Mai mango cultivars. Another study indicated that one of the significant compounds was mangiferin, which is common in mango skin and also in mango extract.
This is a topic that the site ThoughtCo. highlights as well. Their article also states that this impact is similar to the compound resveratrol (found in red wine).
Mango skin may play a role in weight control due to the compounds it contains
Mango Skin Allergy
While there are many reasons to eat mango skin regularly, not everyone can. In particular, mango skin can give some people are bad reaction.
This occurs because of the compound urushiol, which is also found in poison ivy and poison oak. If you are sensitive to this compound, then eating mango skin can be harmful and may even result in a doctor’s visit (19).
For that matter, this allergy can result in anaphylactic shock, so you need to be incredibly careful if you think you may be sensitive to the peel.
In the same way, people who are sensitive may get contact dermatitis from coming in contact with mango skins – such as when they’re peeling the fruit. Some people are also extremely sensitive and may have a reaction from the fruit itself, even when the peel isn’t present.
With this in mind, you should avoid mango peel entirely if you know that you’re sensitive to urushiol or to poison ivy. If you’re not certain, then it’s important to be careful the first couple of times you eat mango skin, especially as the reactions can be delayed (22). For example, you might start off with a small amount and monitor your outcomes.
Now, in fairness, the mango skin allergy is rare (23), so most people won’t have any issue. Plus, if you are allergic to poison ivy or similar plants, you probably already know about the issue. That being said, the potential severity of the allergy means that you do still need to take care when first trying the peel.
Mango peel can cause a significant reaction among people who are sensitive – so you should be cautious the first few times you try the skin
Can You Eat Mango Skin?
Mango skin is a little bit like lemon peel, in that it does offer significant benefits – but you don’t normally eat it. For that matter, mango skin isn’t very appetizing, tending to be bitter and tough to chew.
Nevertheless, some people do simply eat the peel outright. Doing so does give you the ability to eat a mango much like an apple, which is convenient at least.
If this isn’t your preference, there are other ways to take advantage of mango peels. For example, the video below shows how you can make chutney using mango peels.
Mango peels aren’t a common ingredient, so there are relatively few recipes out there. But, other examples are included in the list below. Some of these use mango peels specifically, while others use the whole mango, with the peel included.
Many people simply use mango peels (along with the flesh) as part of a smoothie. If you’re using a powerful blender, like the Ninja BL660, then this process should be easy. Plus, it gives you the chance to take advantage of all the other benefits of smoothies and you can add in other healthy ingredients too, including protein powder.
In fact, smoothies may be the best choice for using mango peel, simply because the other ingredients can mask the peel’s flavor. Smoothies are also easy to make, so you don’t need a specific recipe to take advantage of them.
There are also various other approaches that you can potentially take, including the following:
If you don’t want to eat the mango skin outright, there are some recipes you can try or the skin can simply be included as part of a smoothie
Wax and Mango Skin
Regardless of how you eat the mango skin, it’s important to choose your mangos carefully. As with lemons, the ideal is to look for organic mangos, ones that haven’t been exposed to a significant amount of chemicals.
Now, many people feel that organic mangos aren’t needed because of the tested levels of chemicals. Nevertheless, that claim assumes you’re just eating the flesh of the fruit, not the skin.
Additionally, waxes are often used to preserve fruit and ensure that it lasts longer in the grocery store (24). This pattern is generally considered safe if you’re consuming the fruit normally. But, if you plan to eat the mango peel as well, it would be better to choose mangos that don’t have the wax.
Once again, organic mangos are a good choice, although some types of waxes are still permitted even with organic produce. One way around this is to talk to the producer and find sellers that don’t use wax on their fruit.
Because wax is often used on fruit, choosing your supplier carefully is critical
An Alternative to Mango Skin
If you really don’t like the flavor of mango skin or don’t want to eat it, one alternative is mango powder, also called amchur. This power is created from green, unripe mangos, which are then dried. There are many brands out there, but one particularly good choice is Rani mango powder.
The end result is a sweet and sour powder that is often used as a cooking ingredient. This includes recipes like stir fries, soups and curries, while the powder is also used as a way of tenderizing meat.
Because mango powder is made from the flesh of green mangos, it’s not going to offer the same set of benefits that mango peel does. However, it is often a more practical alternative, especially when mangos aren’t in season.
Amchur does also act as a relatively concentrated source of nutrients and tends to be inexpensive. As such, you could easily keep a jar of it in your cupboard and still rely on fresh mangos and mango peel when the fruit is in season.
What’s more, mango powder is a perfect solution for people who are sensitive to the urushiol in mango peel. This way you’re still getting a wide range of nutrients but you’re not putting yourself at risk. There are also many different recipes that take advantage of mango powder, such as Spiced Chickpea Curry with Mango Powder from Wishful Chef.
Mango powder offers another way to get nutrients from mangos and can be a good alternative or complement to eating mangos and mango peel
Mango peel does contain a range of healthy compounds, particularly antioxidants. As such, it can be beneficial for health, provided you’re not sensitive to urushiol. If you are, mango powder is an interesting alternative and offers a range of health benefits as well.
So then, mangos, mango peel and mango powder are all ways that you can take advantage of the compounds in mangos to promote health and well-being. Indeed, getting a wide variety of fruit and vegetables is important for ensuring long-term health and reducing the risk of disease.
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