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Is It Dangerous To Eat The Skin On Avocados

To give your skin a fountain-of-youth boost and help fight inflammation, Woman's World suggests eating avocado skin. Citing a study in the Journal of Agricultural Science, antioxidants like carotenoids, phenolic compounds, and flavonoids — all which help tame inflammation by destroying free radicals — were more abundant in the skin than the berry's pulp (or, the yummy stuff we slather on toast).

If avocado skins are such potent free radical fighters, why do they usually end up in the compost pile? It could be because it's the only fruit to contain persin, which KnowledgeNuts explains is a fungicidal toxin dangerous to animals. In humans, however, avocado skin is not only safe to eat, it has a host of health benefits; Popular Science points specifically to the avocado skin's carotenoid content. Further, according to scientific research, the persin found in the avocado skins may even kill breast cancer cells.

While avocado skin is not poisonous, it's bitter, tough, and generally unpleasant to eat, which is a good reason to eschew the peel. But to take advantage of its antioxidant benefits, there are a few ways to make peels more palatable. Prepared Cooks recommends pulverizing a dry peel into a paste or powder, which you can add to a dip or dressing. To dry it out, pop it in the oven on a low temperature for about an hour. Because the heat reduces its nutritional value, keep a close eye on it, making sure it doesn't overcook.

Try avocado skin for an antioxidant boost

Even easier, the Foods Guy says to simply cut up the avocado — peel and all — and pop it into a blender along with frozen fruit to make a nutrient-rich smoothie. A good blender with sharp blades like a Vitamix makes quick work of the tough skin while the mix of different fruits helps to mask the peel's unpleasant taste. (Fair warning, it won't get rid of the bitterness entirely.)

Prepared Cooks, meanwhile, shares other avocado varieties that have a more palatable peel, like the Topa Topa and the Mexicola. Both have thin peels that are as easy to bite through as a plum and have a more pleasant anise-like taste, according to Edible Ojai & Ventura County.

Since these heritage varieties are hard to find, Kitchen Habit has a few other uses for the skin of the Hass varieties found readily available in our stores, such as steeping it for an hour to make a tea or adding the ground peel to a mix of turmeric and yogurt for a homemade antioxidant-infused face mask. For a big dose of carotenoids (which convert to vitamin A and are essential for immune function), Popular Science says to be sure to eat the dark green outermost flesh that attaches to the skin.