Is Apple Peel Good For You?

Updated: Aug 18



Do you think peeling your apple is a hassle, but you do it anyway because you worry about the pesticides?


Unpeeled apples have quite a few (naughty) benefits.


We are going to explore what exactly these apple peel benefits are and how to reduce your exposure to pesticides, so you can eat your apple unpeeled whenever you feel like it, without dropping dead unexpectedly from pesticide poisoning.



Exploitation




Cultivated apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) is one of the most widely produced and economically important fruit crops in temperate regions. (1) An analysis done in 2017 has shown that the origin of apples leads back to Kazakhstan.  


From there apples were dispersed westward to Europe along the silk road and eastward to China. (1)


The scientists concluded that thousands of apple cultivars with diverse fruit sizes and flavors have been produced by human selection and human exploitation. (1)

Yes, you read that correctly; apples have been exploited by humans.  


Nowadays these practices still happen. It’s not uncommon for apples to get scalped, disposed of their skin and then consumed alive. Oh, the horror! 



Don't Waste Your Apple Peel


The peeling of apples is common all over the world.


  • Why do people peel their apples in the first place?

  • Is the peel any nutritious?

  • Where are most of the nutrients and apple fruit vitamins located? 


In some parts of the world people grew up believing the best part of the apple was just under the skin. Therefore, you had to make sure not to peel too thickly. 


Is that actually true...?


I always found this urban myth questionable, because nobody exactly knew the ins and outs of it.


Then why?


It probably stems from people who had experienced lots of hardships and scarcity, especially during World War II. When things got better, they still kept a ‘no waste’ mentality.


Although that part is admirable, it may have brought this myth into existence. 


It wasn’t until years later that apples with their peels would be put to the test against their naked, skinless siblings.



Within a few hours after consumption fully clothed apples appear to improve artery function significantly better than unclothed apples. (2)


Bottom line:

Apples with skin improve your blood flow.

This becomes more visible in the graph below:


Yellow represents peeled apples and red represents unpeeled apples.

The higher the line goes, the better the blood flow.




Improved Artery Function and Sexual Performance


This graph basically shows how well the arteries are able to dilate. The ability of arteries to dilate is immensely important for improved blood flow.


Imagine blood vessels and arteries not being able to do that properly.


Even worse:



The more stiffening occurring in their circulatory system, the less stiffening occurring in the places where it is most desired during those special occasions..

Instead of dilating, they would stiffen up. That would be ironic for men...


The more stiffening occurring in their circulatory system, the less stiffening occurring in the places where it is most desired during those special occasions.


If you think that only men are affected, think again...


Even young sexually active women may benefit from apple peel nutrients—in the sexual department—because of that improved blood flow. (3)


Women need blood flow too in the nether regions.


Really?


Yes, we know that female athletes have better blood flow overall, which means better blood flow to & in the genital containing area, which in turn results in better sexual function. (4)


But the good news is you don’t have to become an athlete to improve your sexual function. You just have to make sure your blood flows smoothly. (5) 


Blood that doesn’t flow smoothly could also give women ironic outcomes in the bedroom, since it can negatively affect lubrication (6) and as you can imagine that makes things, well, less smooth. 


Notice the terms ‘better’ and ‘improvement’. You don’t need to have sexual dysfunction in order to benefit. 


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Why is there such a difference in artery function between the peeled and unpeeled apple?


Well, we know that the peel is rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are phytonutrients. Phytonutrients is just a fancy word for nutrients that can only be found in plants, since ‘phyto’ means plant. These flavonoids are most likely the reason, although there might be others as well. We are not sure. 


The apple peel health benefits seem convincing so far.


Can they, perhaps, also help to "keep the doctor" away?



Can an Apple a Day, Keep the Doctor Away? 



Funnily enough, this has actually has been looked into...


When comparing apple eaters to non-apple eaters, the number of visits to the doctor’s office didn’t differ that much. BUT...


The number of prescription medications was in fact lower.


That means:


Apple eaters used less medication.


Maybe there's a catch though:


Apple eaters were more likely to have higher education attainment and were less likely to smoke, so perhaps they just made better lifestyle choices overall. (7)


Unfortunately:


They didn't distinguish between peeled and unpeeled apple consumption.


But regardless...


Apple peel nutrients do seem beneficial.


But what about pesticides?





Removing Pesticides


Conventional apples do contain more pesticides than organic apples, which may not come as a surprise. (8)  If you want to limit pesticide exposure, you could obviously peel your apples, but...


Are there other ways to get rid of pesticides as well to get in that extra apple peel goodness?  


Washing your fruits and veggies under running water with some added rubbing action thrown in, seems to help remove some of the pesticides, but the degree of which depends on the kind of pesticide.


You could always ask your local farmer, in case you buy your apples locally, and inquire about the kind of pesticide(s) he or she uses.


If you get imported apples though...


then you better combine that round-trip to the farm with some holiday time of your own.


Are there more convenient and realistic solutions?


Special veggie washes don’t seem to add extra benefits. (9) It pays off to wash your apple with water, at least to some extent. 


What seems to work better is vinegar, but that can be pricey.

Especially apple cider vinegar!


Better than vinegar would be washing your produce in a salt solution of 90% water and 10% salt. But in these tests, they washed the produce for 20 minutes. (10)


That doesn’t sound too appealing...


Unless you have time on your hands and use that as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Things may all work out in the end perhaps!

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Conclusion


Whether you should peel your apples or not, is entirely up to you. If you can get your hands on organic apples, then that’s great! We eat non-organic apples mostly, because that’s what we get here and we usually eat it with the peel on. We wash it well with water or water with salt. Just not for 20 minutes, because otherwise there is no more time to do research on apples.


Apples without their peel still contain other nutrients and are low energy dense, which is a great thing in respect to weight loss and weight management. (11)


Only a small part was covered in this article in regard to apples, but we hope next time you eat a "skinless apple" you will at least know more about what you are throwing away.  


What to do with apple peel, when you don't want to eat it but don't feel like wasting it either...


You could always make apple peel tea.

If you have a lot of apple peels you could even make apple peel syrup or apple peel jelly. "Collect" apple peel by blanching and freezing them every time you peel an apple until you have enough.


Otherwise you could always bake yourself some apple peel chips or find an apple peel recipe online.


How do you feel about apples now? 


Would you still peel them?

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References:


(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28811498

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29086478

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24518938

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19912502

(5) https://www.nature.com/articles/3900258

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2771367/

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25822137

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19680960

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12545350

(10) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713506002696

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664987/




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