Is it true that the skins of vegetables such as potatoes and carrots contain the most nutrients?
No, it’s not. Some older scientific studies showed that a potato skin, for example, was higher in mineral nutrients – but this result was shown to be due to soil adhering to the skin. Now it’s thought that the minerals in a potato are throughout the vegetable. And – in the case of potatoes – the main nutrient is starch. Plants store carbohydrates as starch, which can be broken down easily for energy. Potatoes also contain vitamin C and vitamin B-1. These nutrients are in greater concentration in the center of the potato.
In the case of carrots, the main nutrient is carotene – a type of orange pigment that your body converts into vitamin A. Carotene is distributed pretty evenly throughout the carrot.
But even though the nutrients are scattered throughout vegetables, the skins might hold other health benefits. Potato skins, for example, have higher concentrations of special plant chemicals known as “polyphenols.” The potato uses polyphenols as a defense against fungus and insect attacks. Scientists are currently studying these chemicals to see if they might help humans fight off disease, too.