Is It Possible To Get Sick From Eating The Skin On Mangoes?

Mangoes are the epitome of tropical deliciousness, evoking images of swaying palm trees, ocean breezes, white, sandy beaches, and island-inspired dishes. There is no doubt that whether enjoyed on a beach with a sprinkling of Tajín seasoning, blended in a margarita, or simply eaten at home while watching Netflix, a beautifully ripe mango can immediately put you in vacation mode. But there is more to mangoes than a trip to the beach — mentally or physically.

Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, mangoes are as good for our bodies as they are for our mood (via Women's Health). Yet despite their undeniable flavor — and health benefits — mangoes still remain something of a mystery to many, from how best to cut them, to whether the skin is safe to eat. Perfectly cutting a mango is a matter of practice. The skin is a matter of understanding the facts. Here's what you need to know about the potential risks of eating mango skin.

Mango skin benefits and risks

Mango skin presents something of a dichotomy, because while it is good for you ... it can also be bad for you. As Web MD explains, mango skins are packed with antioxidants that have potential cancer-fighting properties. Additionally, mango skins are full of fiber, which is known to keep you full and regulate digestion (via Healthline). However, even with all the benefits of mango skin, there are also some big drawbacks that may make you think twice about eating it. 

Besides being unappetizing — mango skins are tough and bitter, as noted by Web MD — eating mango skins can also cause an allergic reaction. Mango skin contains a mix of organic chemicals called urushiol that are commonly found in poison ivy and poison oak (via Healthline). That means, for some, eating mango skin can cause an itchy rash. Additionally, like many other fruits, mangoes are widely treated with pesticides that linger on their skin. As Web MD notes, exposure to pesticides can cause a host of health problems, including increasing your risk of some cancers.

So, while mango skins do have some health benefits, the truth is that we don't have to endure their bitter taste and potentially unpleasant reactions to reap them. Instead, eat the interior of mangoes — which are nutrient rich and delicious. Your only challenge going forward is how best to cut them.