Apples are well known for their deliciously sweet and tangy taste and for their rich nutritional value. What you might not know, however, is that the majority of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in apples actually reside in the peel. Many people prefer to peel the skin off an apple before eating it, but when you do, you are also peeling away much of its valuable nutritional content.
Apple peels are packed with vitamins A and C. According to the University of Illinois, nearly half of an apple’s vitamin C content lies beneath its skin. Your body uses vitamin A to protect your vision and develop healthy linings in your eyes and other organs and in important processes such as cell division. Your body uses vitamin C to heal wounds and to build a strong immune system.
Eating an apple with its peel is a good way to increase your mineral intake. According to the University of Illinois, apple peels contain important minerals, such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, folate and iron. Your body uses minerals like calcium and phosphorus to maintain strong bones and teeth. Potassium helps promote proper cell, heart and digestive function. Iron helps your body regulate cell growth and produce healthy red blood cells. Apple peels are a good source of many vitamins and minerals, and they also are completely free of other less healthy compounds like sodium, cholesterol and fat.
Apple peels are a significant source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. According to the University of Illinois, about two-thirds of an apple’s fiber content exists in its peel. Fiber is an important nutrient that your body uses for a variety of functions. Getting enough fiber in your diet is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system and cardiovascular system.
Apple peels are bursting with antioxidants. According to Cornell University’s Chronicle Online, apple peels are especially rich in powerful phytochemicals like flavonoids and phenolic acids. These compounds work to help keep your cells clear of destructive molecules called free radicals. Free radicals attack and damage your cells and may contribute to the development of a wide range of diseases. Eating a diet rich in foods that contain generous amounts of antioxidants may help to protect you from dangerous health problems like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
According to Cornell University’s Chronicle Online, university researchers have identified about a dozen compounds in apple peels called triterpenoids. Research suggests that triterpenoids may have the ability to kill dangerous cancer cells and protect your body against certain types of cancer, such as liver, colon and breast cancer.