If you also peel apples, pears and other fruits, you are making a mistake according to the nutritionist

When and how should we eat fruit? Peeling is not always a good idea. Here's what the experts say

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Some fruits should always be eaten (or almost) with the peel. Let's find out why and what is the opinion of nutritionists in this regard 

We all know that it is important to eat fresh, seasonal fruit on a daily basis. The recommendation of the experts is to ensure the consumption of 3-5 servings of vegetables and fruit every day (but if you exceed these quantities all the better).

Thus we can supply our body with various useful substances, especially vitamins and mineral salts. But when and how should we eat fruit? For example, we usually remove the peel, but is it really a good habit or maybe there are fruits that it would be better to consume in their entirety?

We wanted to clarify some important points regarding fruit consumption by asking the opinion of two doctors and nutritionists.

Read also: Pesticides on fruits and vegetables: rinsing is not enough, these are the best and most effective methods to remove them


Should fruit be eaten with the peel?

If you also remove the peel from apples, pears and other fruits. It really seems that you have to change your mind:

“Fruit should always be eaten with the peel. In the peel of the fruit there are non-soluble dietary fibers, vegetable waxes and a few proteins, lipids, sugars and water ”, said Dr. Alessandro Targhetta, homeopathic doctor and expert in food intolerances.

Fruit is an important source of antioxidants, but the nutritional value seems to be concentrated mainly in the skin and in the part of the pulp immediately below. But why are so many properties enclosed in the most external parts of the fruit?

"The explanation is simple - Roberta Martinoli, doctor and nutritionist told us - antioxidants have the task of protecting the fruit itself from the aggressive action of atmospheric agents and from the attack of insects, molds and bacteria".

Ma what are really the benefits of eating unpeeled fruit? Dr. Targhetta explains that:

The fruit peel serves to increase fecal mass, improving intestinal emptying. Like a scavenger, it cleans the intestines and stimulates intestinal peristalsis, fighting constipation. It also promotes the development of a good intestinal bacterial flora, nourishing the microbiota like a true prebiotic.

Dr. Martinoli agrees and also provides us with some more details:

The soluble fiber contained in the peel (pectins, gums, mucilages, galactomannans) slows down the gastric emptying time giving a greater sense of satiety, reduces the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine, improves glycemic control in subjects with glucose intolerance and in diabetics. The higher the fiber content of the fruit, the lower the glycemic peak reached at the end of digestion. So if we eat a sliced ​​orange the glucose level will rise more slowly than when we drink a juice.

Can you eat the peel of all fruits?

The answer, according to our experts, is no. "Not all fruits should be eaten with the peel. Those not to eat with the peel are: medlars, bananas, coconut, prickly pears, pineapple, kiwi, watermelons and melon ”explained Dr. Targhetta.

While it is possible to consume the peel of citrus fruits, also candied, eliminating the internal white part, which is too bitter. However, Dr. Martinoli warns us that:

"Great attention should be paid to the consumption of citrus fruits with the peel. Oranges, grapefruits, clementines are subjected to an anti-mold treatment with thiabenzol (E233) and biphenyl (E230). If treated in this way, the fruit must bear the wording "inedible peel" on the label! ".

Is it essential that it be organic?

Especially if we want to eat the peel, it is important to buy and consume fruit of organic origin.

“Eating fruit with the peel means loading up with substances useful for our health but at the same time it could mean taking pesticides or other chemical molecules deriving from environmental pollution. To avoid the risk of potential intoxication the consumption of fruit from organic farming is certainly a valid strategy. However, it must be said that for each pesticide the shortage time is established, i.e. the minimum number of days that must elapse between the date on which the last treatment was carried out and the date of collection. During this period the active ingredient has time to degrade to a level that does not produce harmful effects on the consumer. In any case, it is good practice wash the fruit thoroughly if the intention is to eat it with the peel. Rinsing fruit several times in running water can remove 75% to 80% of chemical residues, ”Dr. Martinoli specified.

In any case, there remains a quantity of harmful substances that it is definitely better to avoid. By the way, Dr. Targhetta is decidedly more categorical:

“There is no way to 'wash off' the pesticides that accumulate in the peel. Either we eat organic fruit or we have to throw away the peel, ”she told us.

When to eat it 

We often ask ourselves when it is better to eat fruit to fully enjoy its properties. So here's what our experts think:

“The best time to eat fruit is in the morning for breakfast, or mid-morning or mid-afternoon, never after meals! Fruit, if consumed at the end of a meal, slows down the digestion of the foods we have just taken, both carbohydrates and proteins. Fruit must find an empty stomach and precipitate in the intestine, without stopping in the stomach and fermenting ”advises Dr. Targhetta.

Therefore confirmed the fact that it is better to space out fruit intake from main meals to avoid discomfort and absorb it better.

Dr. Martinoli then specifies that:

Fruit contains a mixture of sucrose, glucose and fructose; the relative content of the various sugars depends on the type of fruit, the variety and the degree of ripeness. Fructose once absorbed by the intestinal villi is carried to the liver through the enterohepatic circulation. Here it undergoes two different metabolic fates: it can be converted into glucose or into fatty acids. For this reason, unless we are talking about subjects with high energy expenditure, eating fruit after a meal can contribute to the accumulation of fatty acids in the liver parenchyma, a condition known as hepatosteatosis (see in this regard the article by Tappy L and Le KA "Metabolic effects of fructose and the worldwide increase in obesity"). It would be better to consume fruit for breakfast or as snacks between meals.

Doctor Targhetta then suggests something very important to us:

The fruits should be eaten alone. Macedonia will avoid you. Many fruits do not combine well with each other, that is, they are not well digested when associated together. We can eat different fruits on the same day, but always at different times.

So let's continue to eat fruit but keep in mind all these precious suggestions!

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