Kiwi fruit is not often considered a “superfood”, but in fact it’s a fruit that is full of important vitamins and minerals and can have a very positive effect on your health. These brown fuzzy fruits have a sweet and slightly tangy taste with green flesh on the inside that lends a unique flavor and tropical zing. Kiwi boasts a whole range of nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, folate, copper, potassium, antioxidants, vitamin E and vitamin K. The skin and seeds are edible, though many people choose to peel it off because of its fuzzy texture. Kiwis are a tough growing fruit and are readily available throughout the year in supermarkets. They are grown in California from November to May and in New Zealand from June to October.
The fruit also comes in 50 different varieties with flesh ranging from custard-like gold to bright pink, each with a varying flavor profile and use.
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Nutritional Value Of Kiwi Fruit
You may have heard that kiwi fruit is high in vitamin C, but besides that it has an incredible nutritional profile. This low calorie fruit (61 calories per 100g) can provide your RDA with many vital nutrients.
Here is the nutritional profile of 100g of raw kiwi fruit:
- 61 calories
- 0.5 g fat
- 3 mg sodium
- 15 g carbohydrates
- 9 g sugar
- 3g dietary fiber
- 1.1g protein
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid is responsible for the growth and repair of body tissues as well as immune system support. In addition to vitamin C, kiwis contain a good amount of vitamin K. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that regulates blood clotting, metabolism and blood calcium levels. Considering it’s a fruit, kiwi contains an impressive amount of vitamin K at 40mcg per 1 cup.
Copper is a nutrient that works with iron to form red blood cells, supports healthy bones, nerves and immune function and helps iron absorption. Copper is a prevalent nutrient in kiwis and provides 14% of your recommended daily intake. Kiwis also contain reasonable amounts of folate, potassium and dietary fiber.
Kiwi Fruit Health Benefits
Let’s get into why you should eat kiwi fruit and how it can impact your health:
1. Kiwi Prevents Blood Clotting
Kiwis were found to prevent blood clotting and manage blood pressure by reducing the amount of fat in the blood. It was found that this happened without negatively affecting blood cholesterol levels. Aspirin is usually the recommended drug to prevent those from cardiovascular events. However, Aspirin can cause inflammation and ulcers in the GI tract. Studies show that consuming 2 to 3 kiwi fruits a day can replace a daily aspirin to help thin the blood and improve heart health over a period of time.
2. Kiwi Can Help Asthma
Asthma can be debilitating. Wheezing and breathlessness are some of the most common symptoms relating to this condition. It has been found that the high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants in kiwis can help control symptoms of asthma. A study demonstrated that lung function was improved in those who consumed kiwi regularly.
3. Kiwi Improves Digestion
Kiwi contains a good amount of dietary fibre making it useful for improving digestion. Apart from the fibre content, kiwi also contains an enzyme, actinidin which can effectively break down proteins in the gut. After eating a large meal, it’s advised to eat a kiwi because it can help break down tough proteins from meat and fish that often can cause bloating. Kiwis also have a mild laxative effect that can help a slow digestive system.
4. Helps Regulate Blood Pressure
Kiwis can help reduce high blood pressure and prevent diseases such as heart attack and stroke. A study showed that those who ate 3 kiwis a day for 8 weeks had a reduction in their diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Kiwis contain an antioxidant, lutein that may be the cause of its blood pressure regulating ability. The vitamin C in kiwis can also contribute to a reduction in blood pressure.
5. Supports Immune Function
Vitamin C is important for the cellular function and protecting cells from free radicals damage in the body. It’s responsible for the growth and repair of tissues and provides support for the immune system.
The high concentration of vitamin C in kiwis can do wonders for the immune system. At 103% of your recommended value of vitamin C per 1 cup, eating kiwis can effectively ward off infection, common cold and flu when eaten regularly.
6. Reduces DNA Damage
Oxidative stress is the imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in your body. This process can also cause strand breakage of DNA. This can lead to health problems, some which can be hard to detect or treat.
Kiwi fruit contains antioxidants that can reduce oxidative stress. A study that tested people’s cells by damaging them with peroxide, showed that those who supplemented with kiwi showed an improved ability of the DNA to repair itself after applying the peroxide. This means that kiwi can possibly help prevent long term cancers and lifestyle diseases such as colon cancer, which is closely linked to DNA damage.
7. Prevents Vision Loss
Kiwis can prevent macular degeneration and ultimately, vision loss. Kiwi contains zeaxanthin and lutein (or the “eye vitamin). These two compounds perform the same function as antioxidants as well as help to form vitamin A, an essential nutrient for your eyes. They also absorb excess light that may damage our retinas and protect the eye from cataracts and other eye-related diseases.
A healthy nervous system can have positive effects on your retina which contains the highest concentration of nerves and is essentially the center of communication of the eye. Kiwis also contain a good amount of copper, which is an essential nutrient that supports the nervous system and therefore supports the healthy functioning of the eyes.
8. Fights Inflammation
Bromelain is an enzyme found in kiwis, pineapple and green papaya which can break down proteins and heal inflammation. Upon consuming the kiwi, bromelain is released in the bloodstream where it breaks down inflammatory complexes. Kiwi has also shown to lower the inflammation relating to arthritis and prevent it from leading to other diseases such as heart disease and stroke.
High amounts of vitamin C can also curb inflammation by fighting against free radicals that can cause an inflammatory response in the body. Since Kiwis have a high concentration of vitamin C it can promote the healing of inflammation when consumed regularly.
9. Improves Skin Health
Collagen is an essential nutrient that supports the structure of the skin and strengthens bones. The vitamin C in kiwi is a key component in the synthesization of collagen in the body. Eating kiwi can help support the structure of your skin and keep it hydrated and healthy.
Acne is an inflammation of the skin and can cause embarrassing pimples on the face and body.The anti-inflammatory properties and vitamin C in kiwis can be beneficial for those dealing with acne and can greatly reduce sebum production in pores. Just apply kiwi extract mixed with aloe vera to your skin and leave overnight for best results.
Kiwi and Weight Loss Benefits
Kiwis are among some of the best fruits to eat if you are looking to lose weight. They have a high water content, are low in calories and have a good amount of fiber. This makes them perfect for a snack or as part of a breakfast smoothie.
The high amount of vitamin C in kiwis is the key to weight reduction. Vitamin C helps control blood pressure, it manages cholesterol levels, supports gut health and supports immune function. It also plays an important role in metabolizing fats. These are all important factors when embarking on a weight loss journey.
Kiwis have a low GI, meaning the sugar contained in the fruit is released more slowly. Because of this, kiwis can also help regulate blood sugar levels, reducing uneven blood sugar spikes.
Foods high in dietary fiber promote weight loss by increasing the feeling of being full and supporting the digestive tract.
Kiwis contain both insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. The insoluble fiber (contained in the seeds) provides bulk and encourages the movement of stool through the digestive system. Soluble fiber is a gel-like substance that traps bile acid and as well as reduces blood cholesterol levels.
Both of these types of fiber help digestive system health and prevent overeating when on a diet.
Kiwis contain actinidin, an antioxidant that breaks down proteins in the body. This antioxidant is a great ally when dieting because it can help a sluggish digestive system. It helps digest proteins and can help those who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome.
Kiwis are not only delicious to eat in fruit salads, smoothies and as a snack, they are packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and fibre. All of these nutrients are essential for our health and the optimal functioning of our bodies. Kiwis contain an extremely high amount of vitamin C when compared to an orange. Because of this, kiwis are effective for immune support, blood pressure regulation and it can even help diseases such as asthma and macular degeneration. Kiwi contains bromelain, a special enzyme that can fight inflammation and improve digestion in the body. Kiwi is low in calories, high in fibre and contains protein digestive enzymes and vitamin C, which means it can effectively promote weight loss.
Eating 1 or 2 kiwis is a great idea if you want to improve your cardiovascular and digestive health. Incorporate kiwis into your diet through a daily smoothie or small snack and watch how it affects you in a positive way.