Can You Eat Kiwi Skin?

Kiwi aka Chinese gooseberry is a nutritious fruit, that has brown fuzzy skin and bright green flesh with black and white seeds. It is a sweet fruit with a zesty aftertaste. In fact, a whole kiwi contains only 45 calories and can provide nearly all the daily requirement of vitamin C for young adults (1). 

While kiwis are bought all year round by many, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of eating the skin. The skin is completely edible, this article highlights the benefits of eating kiwi skin with slight exceptions.

Kiwi skin is more concentrated with antioxidants than the flesh of the fruit. Vitamin E and C are the main sources of antioxidants found in kiwi skin. Vitamin E has several benefits like; aiding the immune function and countering inflammation (2). 

Whereas Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid helps with the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. This includes; healing wounds, forming collagen and even enhancing bones and teeth. Considering kiwi skins contain water- and fat-soluble antioxidants, they provide a substantial amount of security for the entire body (1).

There are multiple nutrients present in the kiwi skin, that are critical to optimum nutrition. These include; vitamin E, folate and fibre. 

Most fruit skins are full of fibre, which is important for gut function. By acting as nutrition for the healthy bacteria living in the gut, fibre reduces exposure to cancer, heart diseases and diabetes (1). 

Kiwi skin also contains folate which aids in cell development and neural tube support at pregnancy. Eating the flesh alone reduces the benefits of the fruit. While eating the skin enhances folate intake by 32%, fibre intake by 50% and vitamin E intake by 34% (1). 

Since most people find it difficult to consume the right amount of nutrients needed in their diets, eating kiwi skin can be a quick fix to improve intake.

Some people are not comfortable with eating kiwi skin because of its furry feel and odd taste in the mouth. But the texture of the skin can be changed by rubbing the kiwi with a clean cloth, a vegetable brush or spoon (3). 

As the skin is full of nutrients, you might want to give it a try. Nevertheless, there are calcium oxalate crystals known as raphides that are present in kiwis. Raphides can aggravate the mouth by scratching the tender skin inside. 

The acid from the fruit can then enter these scratches and cause a sour stinging feel. This effect can be reduced by peeling off the skin, for people with sensitive skin (4). Moreover, fully ripe kiwi fruits tend to have less irritation effect, as the raphides effect decrease due to the soft flesh. 

So as you can see, kiwi fruits are great for your health! While there are some risks associated such as aggravating the tender skin of the mouth for people who have sensitive skin, they’re overall a delicious and healthy snack that can impart several benefits on health.

References:

  1. Richardson, D. P., Ansell, J., & Drummond, L. N. (2018). The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: a review. European journal of nutrition, 57(8), 2659–2676. doi:10.1007/s00394-018-1627-z
  2. Olatunya, A. M., Omojola, A., Akinpelu, K., & Akintayo, E. T. (2019). Vitamin E, Phospholipid, and Phytosterol Contents of Parkia biglobosa and Citrullus colocynthis Seeds and Their Potential Applications to Human Health. Preventive nutrition and food science, 24(3), 338–343. doi:10.3746/pnf.2019.24.3.338
  3. Kilonzo-Nthenge A., Chen F.C., Godwin S.L. (2006). Efficacy of home washing methods in controlling surface microbial contamination on fresh produce. J Food Prot, 69(2), 330-334. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-69.2.330
  4. Korth, K. L., Doege, S. J., Park, S. H., Goggin, F. L., Wang, Q., Gomez, S. K., … Nakata, P. A. (2006). Medicago truncatula mutants demonstrate the role of plant calcium oxalate crystals as an effective defense against chewing insects. Plant physiology, 141(1), 188–195. doi:10.1104/pp.106.076737