Is it healthy to eat kiwi skin?

Quick Answer

Kiwi skin is entirely edible and rich in nutrients like vitamin E, K, and fiber. Eating kiwi skin can provide excellent nutritional benefits. However, the fuzziness of the skin texture may be unpleasant for some. Washing the fruit well can help remove pesticide residues if present. For most people, eating kiwi skin is healthy and safe in moderation. Those with oral allergy syndrome may need to avoid it.

Nutritional Value of Kiwi Skin

The skin of the kiwi fruit contains high amounts of nutrients and fiber:

  • Vitamin E – An antioxidant that protects cells from damage.
  • Vitamin K – Important for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Fiber – Improves digestion and heart health.
  • Actinidin – A protein-digesting enzyme found only in kiwifruit.
  • Flavonoids – Plant compounds with antioxidant effects.

Kiwi skin contains nearly 5 times more vitamin E than the flesh and about 3 times more fiber. The skin alone provides about 23% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E and 20% for vitamin K.

Here is a comparison of the nutrition facts of kiwi flesh vs skin:

Nutrient Kiwi flesh Kiwi skin
Fiber 2.1 g 6.2 g
Vitamin E 0.25 mg 1.11 mg
Vitamin K 5.5 mcg 15.7 mcg

As you can see, the kiwi skin boasts much higher nutrient content compared to the flesh.

Fiber in Kiwi Skin

The kiwi skin contains a type of fiber called pectin. Pectin is a soluble prebiotic fiber that aids digestion and gut health.

Specifically, pectin from kiwi can provide benefits like:

  • Slowing digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
  • Fermenting in the gut to feed healthy bacteria.
  • Increasing satiety after meals.
  • Softening stool and relieving constipation.
  • Removing cholesterol from the digestive tract.
  • Potentially protecting against colon cancer and ulcers.

The high pectin content makes kiwi skin particularly beneficial for digestion and gut health.

Vitamin E in Kiwi Skin

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that prevents oxidative damage to cells. It protects the skin from UV damage and supports a healthy immune system.

Kiwi skin contains high amounts of vitamin E – about 1.1 mg per 100 g. This is 4 times the vitamin E in the flesh and provides over 7% of the recommended daily intake.

Vitamin E from kiwi skin can provide advantages like:

  • Neutralizing free radicals that cause cell damage.
  • Supporting healthy skin, nails and hair.
  • Protecting against cognitive decline and heart disease.
  • Bolstering the immune system.
  • Potentially reducing risk of certain cancers.

Vitamin K in Kiwi Skin

Vitamin K plays a vital role in blood clotting and bone metabolism. It activates proteins involved in coagulation.

The kiwi skin is a rich source of vitamin K. It contains about 15.7 mcg or 13% of the recommended daily value per 100 g.

Benefits of the vitamin K in kiwi skin include:

  • Essential for blood clotting.
  • Strengthens bones by improving calcium absorption.
  • May protect against fractures and osteoporosis.
  • Reduces heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Potentially lowers risk of heart disease.

Getting adequate vitamin K prevents vitamin K deficiency bleeding in newborns and lowers anticoagulant sensitivity in adults.

Actinidin Enzyme in Kiwi

Actinidin is a unique digestive enzyme found in kiwi fruits. It helps break down and digest proteins.

This enzyme is present throughout the kiwi, including the skin and flesh. Actinidin makes kiwi an excellent food for improving digestion and gut health.

Benefits of actinidin in kiwi skin include:

  • Breaking down proteins for better absorption.
  • Aiding digestion, especially of meat and fish.
  • Tenderizing tough meats when used as a meat marinade.
  • Preventing gut inflammation and bloating.
  • Potentially aiding protein digestion in those with deficiencies.

Actinidin makes the kiwi an excellent digestive aid when consumed before heavy meals.

Flavonoids in Kiwi Skin

Flavonoids are antioxidant plant compounds found in kiwi skin that provide various health benefits. The main flavonoids in kiwi skin include:

  • Quercetin – boosts immunity and heart health.
  • Catechin – antioxidant that may improve brain function.
  • Epicatechin – reduces inflammation and risk of diabetes.
  • Rutin – strengthens blood vessels and may prevent cancer.

These flavonoids act as antioxidants that:

  • Protect cells from oxidative damage.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Lower risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
  • Potentially protect brain function.
  • May prevent some cancers.

Is Kiwi Skin Safe to Eat?

For most people, eating kiwi skin is perfectly safe. However, some precautions need to be taken:

  • Wash thoroughly to remove pesticides – The fuzzy skin can harbor more pesticides than the flesh.
  • Avoid if oral allergy syndrome – Some people may be allergic to kiwi skin.
  • Introduce slowly if new – Monitor for any allergic reaction when eating for first few times.
  • Avoid eating too much – High fiber content may cause digestive issues.

In most cases, the skin is entirely edible and safe once washed properly. Still, peeling it remains an option if desired.

Introduce kiwi skin slowly to watch for any irritation or allergic response. Discontinue consumption if any discomfort occurs.

Allergy Concerns with Kiwi Skin

Some people may develop an allergic response after eating kiwi skin. This is known as oral allergy syndrome.

The flesh of the kiwi contains low amounts of the allergenic proteins. But the skin has a higher concentration, increasing allergy risk.

Symptoms of an oral reaction can include:

  • Itching or tingling sensations in the mouth.
  • Swelling of lips, mouth or throat.
  • Vomiting.
  • Abdominal cramps.

Those with oral allergy syndrome cannot break down the proteins. Their immune system identifies them as harmful, triggering an allergic reaction.

This is more common in those allergic to hazelnuts, avocados, latex or other fruits. Avoid kiwi skin if you have such known fruit allergies.

Pesticide Residues on Kiwi Skin

Another concern with eating kiwi skin is the presence of pesticide residues. The fuzzy exterior of the skin can trap and harbor chemical residues from pesticides sprayed on the kiwi vines.

To minimize exposure:

  • Buy organic kiwi whenever possible.
  • Wash the skin thoroughly under running water while rubbing lightly with your fingers.
  • Peel off the skin after washing if desired.

Washing kiwis soaked in vinegar-water solution for 15 minutes removes over 95% of the pesticides. So clean well before consuming the skin.

How to Eat Kiwi Skin

Here are some tips for including kiwi skin in your diet:

  • Wash the outer skin thoroughly before eating.
  • Consume the skin along with the flesh raw.
  • Blend into smoothies or juice.
  • Leave skin on for fruit salads or desserts.
  • Cook briefly when making chutneys or compotes.
  • Dehydrate for fruity chips.

For many people, the fuzzy texture of the skin can be off-putting. Here are some ways to make the skin more palatable:

  • Rub the kiwi lightly with a towel to buff the fuzz.
  • Scrape away some of the fuzz using a spoon.
  • Slice or quarter and eat the skin using a fork or spoon.

This helps remove the tickling fibers and makes the skin easier to chew and swallow.

Potential Benefits of Eating Kiwi Skin

Here is a summary of the excellent advantages offered by eating kiwi skin:

  • High in fiber, which improves digestion.
  • Rich in vitamin E, K and antioxidants.
  • Unique actinidin enzyme tenderizes meat and aids protein digestion.
  • May reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
  • Promotes gum, skin and bone health.
  • Contains antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties.

In particular, eating kiwi skin boosts gut health due to all the fiber, nutrients and enzymes present in the skin.

Potential Disadvantages of Eating Kiwi Skin

Some drawbacks associated with eating kiwi skin include:

  • Fuzzy texture unpleasant for some.
  • High fiber content can cause bloating, gas or diarrhea.
  • May trigger allergic reactions in those with sensitivities.
  • Can harbor higher pesticide residues compared to the flesh.
  • Slightly bitter, astringent taste.

However, washing the skin thoroughly and peeling off the fuzz can help overcome some of these disadvantages for most people.

Nutrition of Kiwi Skin vs. Flesh

Below is a comparison of the nutritional profile of kiwi skin and flesh (per 100 grams):

Nutrient Kiwi skin Kiwi flesh
Fiber 6.2 g 2.1 g
Vitamin E 1.11 mg 0.25 mg
Vitamin K 15.7 mcg 5.5 mcg
Carbs 8.92 g 15 g
Calcium 22 mg 34 mg
Potassium 312 mg 312 mg

As seen, kiwi skin outshines the flesh in fiber, vitamin E and vitamin K content. The flesh contains more carbs and calories than the skin.

Overall, the skin offers slightly more nutritional benefits, making it worth eating.

How Much of the Kiwi Do You Eat?

Most people eat only the flesh after peeling off the skin. But the skin is entirely edible and nutritious.

You can consume the kiwi in any of these ways:

  • Eat only the flesh – Many find the skin unappetizing.
  • Eat both skin and flesh – For maximum nutrition.
  • Eat just the skin – If you want only fiber and nutrients.

If eating the skin, be sure to wash it thoroughly first. Peel off some of the fuzz if desired.

Introduce kiwi skin slowly and discontinue if any irritation occurs. Monitor children carefully for choking hazards from the fibrous skin.

Tips for Eating Kiwi Skin

Here are some preparation tips for eating kiwi skin:

  • Wash thoroughly under running water while rubbing the skin lightly.
  • Use a produce wash solution or diluted vinegar to remove pesticides.
  • Gently scrape off some of the fuzz using a spoon.
  • Slice the kiwi and use a fork or spoon if the skin is too fuzzy.
  • Rub the exterior with a towel to buff down the fibers.
  • Monitor children under 5 and cut into small pieces to avoid choking.

This reduces the tickling fuzziness and makes the skin easier to eat. The skin can then be consumed raw or cooked depending on the recipe.

Is Kiwi Skin Fuzzy?

Yes, kiwi skin has a fuzzy, downy-like texture. Tiny fibrous hairs grow all over the outer surface of the skin.

This fuzzy fibrous coat:

  • Helps protect the delicate flesh inside.
  • Protects against pests, bacteria and physical damage.
  • Helps the vine retain moisture and withstand drought.
  • May deter predators from eating the ripe fruits.

However, some people dislike the fuzzy mouth-feel of the skin. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to remove the tickling fuzz:

  • Gently scrape it off using a spoon.
  • Rub the kiwi against a towel to buff down the fibers.
  • Cut the fruit into slices and eat it with a fork or spoon.

This allows you to enjoy the nutritional benefits of the skin without the unpleasant texture.

Does Cooking Destroy Kiwi Skin Nutrients?

Some nutrient loss occurs when the kiwi skin is cooked. However, cooking for short durations causes minimal damage.

Studies show steaming kiwi for 5 minutes retains:

  • 100% of vitamin C.
  • 98% of carotenoids like beta-carotene.
  • 95% of polyphenols and flavonoids.

Meanwhile, microwaving kiwi for 60 seconds preserves:

  • 90% of vitamin C.
  • 89% of polyphenols.
  • 95% of flavonoids like quercetin and lutein.

Frying kiwi slices for 2 minutes retains 85% of vitamin C and carotenoids.

So quick cooking methods like steaming, microwaving or stir-frying kiwi skin enable preserving most of its nutrients. Just avoid prolonged cooking times.


Kiwi skin is entirely edible and contains more fiber, vitamin E and vitamin K than the flesh. It provides excellent digestive benefits thanks to all the fiber, antioxidants, enzymes and nutrients.

However, some people may find the fuzzy texture unappealing. Washing the skin well and removing some of the fuzz improves texture. Monitor for any allergic reactions as well, especially in children.

Overall, eating kiwi skin offers various nutritional advantages with minimal risks for most individuals. Including the skin can be an easy way to boost your fiber and nutrient intake.

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