Should You REALLY Eat Apple Peel? The Straight Facts

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Should You Really Eat Apple Peel
Photo: © Vanoa2 –

Ok folks, are you ready for some hard “core” apple facts? (pun intentional!) We’ve got some seriously great stuff for you today. Vital information.

Today’s topic up for dissection is – should you discard the apple peel or leave it on?

On The Positive Side

Remarkable new scientific research is linking consumption of apple peel to fantastic health benefits: A 2014 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food has found that consumption of dried apple peel powder increases joint function, range of motion and improvement in serum antioxidant protective status. [1] This study included not only lab tests but also small-scale clinical testing on human subjects who consumed 4.25 grams of dried apple peel powder daily for 12 weeks.

This isn’t by any stretch the only positive result for apple peel. Here’s another example: Apple peel polyphenols were found by another team of scientists in 2013 to have beneficial actions on oxidative stress and inflammation, two pivotal processes involved in inflammatory bowel diseases. [2]

Even the media has picked up on the idea that apple peels contain fantastic nutrients – however, as you will soon see, catchy mass-media headlines such as “Why You Should Never Peel An Apple” [3] are deeply flawed…

On The Negative Side

Mass-produced apples are frequently sprayed with pesticides, coated with wax – and even sometimes plastic wrapped. Conventional apples are typically heavily sprayed and considered to be one of the “Dirty Dozen” – foods typically highest in pesticide residues. [4]

Now many people (including us!) have espoused the virtues of cleaning fruit properly with vinegar-water. However – certain modern pesticides are what is known as systemic pesticides – meaning that they are absorbed systemically by the plants to make the entire plant toxic to the bugs. [5]

And then we eat this stuff??

It gets worse. Recent research by the Pesticide Action Network has found that even non-systemic pesticides such as glyphosate are absorbed by plants and that the quantity of pesticide residues found in the actual food has gone up dramatically in recent years. [6] So yes, you can wash off a lot of gunk and cut out the “pesticide pool” part at the top of the apple, but you’ve still got the pesticides in the actual fruit.

Buy organic, you say? Well yes, those things improve your odds significantly. But you should know that not all produce that is supposedly organic, is actually organic. Some organic produce has been found with pesticide residues! Not as much, but some: According to the USDA’s reports on pesticides in organic food, a certain amount is permitted: “Although most EPA-registered pesticides are prohibited in organic production, there can be inadvertent or indirect contact from neighboring conventional farms or shared handling facilities. As long as the operator hasn’t directly applied prohibited pesticides and has documented efforts to minimize exposure to them, the USDA organic regulations allow residues of prohibited pesticides up to 5 percent of the EPA tolerance.” [7]

An apple should contain only apple and nothing that is not apple. It’s quite simple really.

The problem here is not so much organic food, as organic standards. It’s hard to admit this, being a diehard fan and ambassador of organic everything. And then there is the shocking fact that some non-organic food (notably from China) is being counterfeited as organic on a large scale. [8] The reality is that not enough food testing is being done – and this is the next logical step in a global mass produced food chain where, sorry to say it but it’s true, labels don’t necessarily mean a damn thing.

Now also we have preposterous GMO apples that “solve” the “problem” of apple slices browning when exposed to the air. Is this really something that people spend even a nanosecond worrying about? Really? It sounds more to me like a way for Big Food to sell older, “deader” food that has been sitting around longer, rather than a way to actually improve something about the apple from the point of view of the person eating it. As if they could improve it anyway by tampering with it. What a joke! Let’s be honest: It’s simply about increased efficiency in their dead, soulless mechanisation-of-everything process that has nothing whatsoever to do with THINGS THAT ARE ALIVE. *end GMO rant*

Conclusion: What To Do?

So the ULTIMATE answer? Yes, eat the peel; BUT only if you grow your own “truly organic” apples – or if you buy apples locally from a trusted organic source.

And then – soak your produce for 15 mins in water with apple cider vinegar added (one cup in a bowl of water – kills bacteria, “deep cleans” them and also kills mold, making them last longer) – and then eat them with the peels on.

And THEN you really might find that an apple a day keeps the doctor away….


[1] Jensen, G.S. et al. – Consumption of dried apple peel powder increases joint function and range of motion. (J. Med. Food, 2014).

[2] Apple peel polyphenols and their beneficial actions on oxidative stress and inflammation. (PLoS One, 2013).

[3] Why You Should Never Peel An Apple – (Huffington Post, 2014).

[4] Environmental Working Group – Shopper’s Guide To Pesticides In Produce™.

[5] Systemic Pesticides: Chemicals You Can’t Wash Off.

[6] Pesticide Residues: On The Up And Up.

[7] 2010 – 2011 Pilot Study Pesticide Residue Testing of Organic Produce (USDA).

[8] USDA Uncovers Plot to Import Fake Chinese Organic Food (Cornucopia Institute, 2011).

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