Should You Really Be Eating Cucumber Peels?

Some food items are meant to be peeled. While we routinely remove the outer layers of an onion or banana, are cucumbers another item we should be eating bare?

Contrary to popular belief, cucumbers are actually classified as fruits — not vegetables, according to WebMD. Packed with vitamins and minerals, one medium-sized raw cucumber with the skin still intact contains 2 grams of fiber, 10% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C, 12% of your daily suggested calcium, and a whopping 57% of the recommended daily value for vitamin K – not to mention, protein, vitamin A, manganese, and more. 

Another benefit is that cucumbers are also predominantly water-based. "Not only are they high in water content, they also contain important nutrients that play a part in hydration like magnesium and potassium," registered dietitian nutritionist Angela Lemond told Livescience

No doubt that cucumbers are crunchy, delicious, and nutritious, but can all that juicy goodness be found in the peel too? Even more, are there any potential risks to eating cucumber skin?

To peel or not to peel?

When it comes to eating cucumber peels, WebMD gives it the A-OK. In fact, doing so will give you a boost of fiber and vitamin A. After all, it's the seeds and skin of the cucumber that harbor the most nutrients out of the entire fruit, according to Livescience.

While cucumber peels can be healthy for us to eat, experts at WebMD caution that there are times when one may opt to peel their cucumbers, such as to reduce the risk of possible pesticide ingestion. Additionally, germs can hold fast to the synthetic wax added to the outside of cucumbers by producers in order to prolong their shelf-life. While the wax is not harmful to humans, removing the cucumber's peel prior to eating can lower the risk of potential germ transfer.

Alternatively, rather than doing away with the peel altogether, consider purchasing organic cucumbers and thoroughly dousing them in warm, running water beforehand to help ensure they're safe to eat (per WebMD). "This does not mean you should avoid cucumbers altogether if you can't find or afford organic," notes registered dietitian nutritionist Megan Ware to Livescience. "The nutritional benefit of eating conventionally grown produce outweighs the risk of not eating produce at all."