Can You Safely Eat Mango Skin?

Mangoes can be enjoyed on their own or mixed in with other ingredients for a wholesome smoothie, but let's face it, peeling and cutting a mango can be torture. From the pit in the middle to the thin skin on the outside, getting to the delicious, juicy fruit takes time. So why not skip a step and eat mangoes with the skin on? We do it for other produce, such as apples and peaches. Even potatoes are best served with the skin on. Can we do the same for mango? 

If you want to break out in a painful and itchy rash, go ahead, but if that's not how you want to spend your day, you should probably keep your mouth far away from the skin of a mango. 

Though mango is far from being one of the world's most dangerous fruits, the skin does contain a chemical that could cause a pretty gnarly reaction. Vandana R. Sheth, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that urushiol is found in mango skin (via Women's Health). Urushiol is something you're probably pretty familiar with. It's the same toxin found in poison ivy, oak, or sumac that causes you to break out in that horribly painful and irritating rash. Food and nutrition expert Abby Langer has experienced this firsthand when it comes to unpeeled mangoes. "It makes me break out in an itchy rash if my mouth comes into contact with the skin."

If you've had poison ivy before, it is recommended that you proceed with caution when handling mango skin, as those who have come into contact with urushiol prior may have a sensitivity to it. Sheth urges mango lovers not to let that scare them away from this tropical fruit, though. "The high antioxidant content makes mangoes helpful for cancer protection, skin, and eye health," she says.

So, instead of swearing off mangoes forever, just be sure to peel the skin prior to enjoying them. There are plenty of peeling hacks out there to help make the process a bit less tedious.