The Real Reason You Should Stop Peeling Your Potatoes

Eating spuds is as American as apple pie, and we consume a lot of them — nearly 50 pounds per person annually, says the USDA. A significant portion of that is frozen, thanks in part to the French fry, a Belgian invention perennially popular in the U.S. Sure, you may link them with fast food, bars, and late nights, but there are benefits to eating the humble tater. Despite their reputation, potatoes are surprisingly nutritious ... and even more so if you consume them the right way.

Containing resistant starch, vitamin C, and a substantial dose of fiber, according to Healthline, potatoes can provide a considerable portion of our daily dietary needs. However, for truly the best of this tubular root, it's not about what's on the inside, but on the outside is what counts.

Most often trashed due to some dirt or a distasteful appearance, it's best to keep the skin on your potatoes, as it packs a nutritional punch high above its weight.

Skin on potatoes have countless nutritional benefits

Unsurprisingly, the potato's flesh contains the bulk of the carbs, but minerals, vitamins, and fiber is where the peel shines. According to SFGate, 100 grams of potato skin has 17 times more iron and seven times more calcium than the same amount of flesh — elements vital for boosting your immune system and neural health. Something as simple as a skin-on baked potato is a great nutritional move: it provides 66% of your daily B6 requirements and 31% of vitamin C. Though 60 to 70% of this comes from the flesh of the potato, you're still missing out on a decently sized portion if you prefer your spuds bare.

The skin also contains upwards of 10 times the amount of antioxidants as the flesh, according to research published in the agricultural journal AIMS Agriculture and Food. The researchers in this study even propose several applications for discarded peels, ranging from diabetic treatments to a potential meat additive. They aim to reduce waste, accrediting the skin as a fruitful bio-material.

So next time your peeler is about to hit the spud, consider leaving it on or saving the exterior for other uses (such as bacon-loaded skins or potato-skin nachos). There is no need to abandon your favorite creamy mashed potato recipe altogether, but at least consider the entire vegetable in a new nutritionally-dense light.