Health Benefits Of Kiwifruit
Kiwifruits lower your BP, balance cholesterol levels, and reduce blood clotting to keep your heart healthy. Their lutein and vit. A improve eye health, while vits C and E avert DNA damage. Actinidin in kiwis help digest complex proteins, while their fiber eases constipation. Packing in 178% of the vit. C you need daily, they boost immunity and prevent cold, flu, and asthma attacks. Kiwis can also strengthen bones, check anemia, and promote sleep.
That kiwifruits are delicious you can surmise from their scientific name, Actinidia deliciosa, itself. But the benefit to your taste buds is the least important among the many benefits kiwifruits offer to almost every part of your body. Kiwis help your heart by keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar in check and preventing blood clots. They prevent macular degeneration in the eye, can strengthen your bones, and even prevent DNA damage. And with a high vitamin C content, they are a potent immunity booster. Before we list the benefits of kiwifruits, take a look at the nutrition you get from just 100 g of the fruit.
Kiwifruit Nutrition: Green Versus Gold
Kiwifruits, also known as Chinese gooseberries, are rich in vitamin C and are a good source of nutrients like folate, potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber. Apart from being the highlight of colorful fruit salads, they also contain phytonutrients like quercetin, lutein, and actinidin and vitamins like A, E, and K.
There are mainly 2 varieties of kiwifruits: green (Actinidia deliciosa) and gold (Actinidia chinensis), which is the more recent cultivar. The nutrient levels vary depending on the type. While the gold type has more vitamins (except A and K), the green one has less sugar and more fiber and lutein.
Just 100 g of the green kiwifruit contains 61 Cal, 83% water, and 9 g sugar, while the same quantity of gold kiwifruits contains 63 Cal, 82% water, and 12 g sugar. Here’s a list of the chief nutrients kiwifruits offer.1 2 3
|Nutrient||Kiwi green | %DV||Kiwi gold | %DV|
|Fiber||3 g | 12%||1.4 g | 6%|
|Calcium||34 mg | 3.4%||17 mg | 1.7%|
|Iron||0.31 mg | 1.7%||0.21 mg | 1.1%|
|Magnesium||17 mg | 4.25%||12 mg | 3%|
|Phosphorus||34 mg | 3.4%||25 mg | 2.5%|
|Potassium||312 mg | 8.9%||315 mg | 9%|
|Vitamin A||87 IU | 1.74%||23 IU | 0.46%|
|Folate (B9)||25 mcg | 6.25%||31 mcg | 7.7%|
|Vitamin C||92.7 mg | 154.5%||161 mg | 178%|
|Vitamin E||1.46 mg | 7.3%||1.4 mg | 7.3%|
|Vitamin K||40.3 mcg | 50%||6.1 mcg | 7.6%|
|Lutein+Xeazanthin||122 mcg||24 mcg|
Health Benefits Of Kiwifruit
1. Keeps Your Heart Healthy
You may know that excessive blood clotting is a potential risk for your heart. Blood clots can clog up your arteries and lead to strokes. Kiwifruits are an excellent blood thinner. In a 28-day study on healthy volunteers, having 2 to 3 kiwis daily could reduce the risk of blood clotting by 18%. At the same time, it could reduce the triglyceride levels by 15% without affecting the cholesterol profile.4 Isn’t a kiwi a day a better option than aspirins to prevent blood clotting?
2 to 3 kiwis a day could reduce risk of blood clotting by 18%.
Many studies show that the deficiency of vitamin C is linked with risk of cardiovascular diseases. Since kiwis are high in vitamin C, offering over 3 times the required amount in a day, including just 1 in your daily diet can keep your heart healthy.5
Moreover, the high fiber content of kiwi can offer a lot of benefits to your heart like lowered cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
2. Prevents DNA Damage
Certain foods you eat, the air you breathe, and the products you use can all release toxins in your body and generate reactive molecules called free radicals. Sometimes, these free radicals can go on a rampage, damaging your cell walls, and even your DNA, and overwhelming your natural immune system. Your body then comes under oxidative stress, leading to several diseases, even cancer.
The only way to prevent this is to have foods containing antioxidants that can hunt down the free radicals and deactivate them. Kiwifruits offer such antioxidants in the form of vitamin C, vitamin E, and other plant nutrients. A study on human lymph cells found that kiwifruit juice made the DNA more resistant to oxidative damage.6
3. Balances Cholesterol
Scientists suggest that free radicals may also have a role to play in increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. They oxidize the LDL (bad) cholesterol and lead to diseases like atherosclerosis.7 The ideal remedy for such scenarios is something that can deactivate the free radicals as well as balance the cholesterol levels by increasing the good HDL cholesterol levels. Kiwifruits can do just that.
Kiwifruits can both reduce oxidative damage and balance cholesterol levels.
Researchers in Taiwan asked 43 patients with high cholesterol to eat 2 kiwifruits every day for 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, it was seen that the levels of HDL were elevated and the ratio of HDL to LDL was more balanced. Moreover, they also saw a reduction in the quantity of the by-products of cell damage caused by free radicals.8
This led the researchers to suggest that having kiwifruit daily can help high-cholesterol patients cut down the risk of heart disease. Do you know what else reduces high cholesterol? Ashwagandha.
4. Lowers High Blood Pressure
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But 3 kiwis a day can keep high blood pressure away, say scientists. They gave people with slightly elevated blood pressure (stage 1 hypertension) 3 kiwis or 1 apple a day for 8 weeks. There was greater reduction in the systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the kiwi group than in the apple group.9
You can supplement your hypertension medication with kiwifruits, but after checking with your doctor.
The researchers weren’t entirely sure about how exactly kiwis could do this. But one reason could be that kiwis have over 300 times more potassium than sodium. The right sodium-potassium ratio is also a must for optimum blood pressure. Another reason could be the kiwi antioxidants since oxidative damage is also responsible for hypertension.
Yet another reason, that was unfortunately not measured in the study, is that kiwifruits can inhibit the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). ACE controls the complex renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) that controls fluctuations in blood pressure. The fruits act as standard ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels by decreasing the activity of RAAS.10
5. Manages Diabetes
Thanks to their high natural sugar content, most fruits are a no-no for diabetics. But kiwifruits have a low glycemic index of 47 and a very low glycemic load, which means they release little sugar and that too slowly.11 This is because their insoluble fiber delays the absorption of the sugar. This can prevent a sudden blood sugar spike. Researchers have found that a 100 g kiwifruit will release just about 5 g or 1 teaspoon sugar, which makes it a good fruit for diabetics.12 Opt for the green variety, which has less sugar and more fiber.
Moreover, myo-inositol, a major component of the kiwifruit carbohydrates, can mimic insulin help patients of type 2 diabetes who have insulin resistance. It has even helped women with gestational diabetes.13 14 On days you don’t want to have kiwifruits, have a pomegranate for your diabetes.
6. Prevents Vision Loss
Diabetics and the elderly have a higher risk of vision loss due to macular degeneration in the retina. A study found that about 3 servings of fruits can reduce the risk of macular degeneration significantly in such high-risk groups. Given that kiwi is rich in lutein and vitamin A, the carotenoids responsible for eye health, you should consider having at least 1 serving of the fruit a day.15 16
7. Helps Digestion
Kiwifruit has a protein called actinidin, which enhances the digestion of other proteins, even those that pepsin cannot break. Note that actinidin is present in considerable amount in the skin of the green variety of kiwifruits and not so much in the gold variety.17 Toss a green kiwi into a salad, skin and all, and eat it with a protein-rich meal.
If you are eating a protein-rich meal, follow it up with a kiwi salad.
Kiwi also increases the production of mucin, a component of the mucous lining of the gastrointestinal tract. A strong mucosal barrier is required to separate the harmful external environment from the internal environment. It also protects the stomach from the strong stomach acids.[re]Boland, Mike, and Paul J. Moughan. Nutritional benefits of kiwifruit. Vol. 68. Academic Press, 2013, pp. 169–86.[/ref]
8. Eases Constipation
The dietary fiber and certain bioactive compounds in kiwifruit make the passage of food down the digestive tract smoother and easier.18 This is why they are often used as a natural laxative, for the elderly19 and even for patients of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In a study, 41 IBS patients who suffered from constipation were asked to have 2 kiwifruits a day for 4 weeks. Kiwifruits could reduce the time food took to travel through the colon and also increased the frequency of defecation.20
9. Prevents Asthma And Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
A large-scale survey found that having kiwifruit (or any other fresh citrus fruit) at least once a week is related with fewer incidences of wheezing and fewer relapses.21
This positive effect can be attributed to the very high vitamin C content in kiwifruit. Many scientists relate a low intake of vitamin C during winter with wheezing and bronchitis symptoms, especially in children who have a history of asthma, bronchitis, or breathing problems. This is because vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can counter free radicals, tobacco smoke, or air pollutants, all of which trigger asthma attacks.
Start having a kiwifruit a day to reduce the risk of cold, flu, cough, and wheezing.
Another study found that having 4 gold kiwifruits a day for 4 weeks reduced the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections in people above 65 years.22
However, if you have baker’s asthma, it is possible that you can be allergic to kiwifruit.23
10. Strengthens Bones
A recent study on mice whose ovaries had been removed showed that green kiwifruit could reduce the resorption of bone minerals into the blood – resorption can worsen the problem of loss in bone mineral density, especially when the body cannot reclaim the minerals and compensate for the loss. This experiment is of significance for post-menopausal women who have low levels of estrogen, a major contributing factor to bone loss and osteoporosis.24
This could be due to a number of minerals kiwi has, like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, all of which are responsible for bone health. With their high vitamin K content, just a couple of kiwifruits a day can meet your daily vitamin K requirement. Vitamin K, along with vitamin D, is an essential vitamin for bone health.
11. Strengthens Immunity
There are quite a few ways in which kiwifruits strengthen your immunity. First, they’re chock-a-block with vitamin C. They have more vitamin C than oranges and lemons. Kiwis also contain some amount of vitamin E. Both C and E are potent antioxidants that boost your body’s natural antioxidant stores. This is how kiwifruits can prevent cold or flu in children and the elderly.25
Kiwifruits also have soluble dietary fiber that can nourish the healthful gut bacteria. Your gut bacteria plays a major role in your immunity.
12. Improves Sleep Duration And Efficiency
No one can deny that sleep is perhaps the best preventive as well as remedy for a number of health condition. Lack of sleep can even lead to diabetes. But what do you do when you can’t catch those forty winks easily?
Kiwifruits before bedtime can increase your sleep duration by 13.4%.
Have 2 kiwifruits a day. In a study, having just 2 (100 g each) green kiwifruits a day for 4 weeks improved sleep duration by 13.4 % and sleep efficiency by 5.41% in 24 adults. They also fell asleep faster.
The researchers attributed this sleep-inducing effect to the antioxidants and the folate in kiwifruits. Moreover, kiwifruits have a high concentration of the hormone serotonin, which is linked with REM sleep and the lack of which is linked with insomnia.26
13. Can Help With Anemia
It is a known fact that the deficiency of iron leads to anemia, and vitamin C enhances iron absorption. So to test whether having citrus fruits with an iron-fortified breakfast can be a remedy for anemia, researchers asked women with low iron stores to have 2 gold kiwis or 1 banana every day at breakfast for 16 weeks. The kiwi group saw a significant improvement in the iron levels, thanks to the higher vitamin C and lutein content in the kiwis.27
14. Can Keep Obesity Away
Whether you have kiwis for breakfast or as snacks, the chief advantage of kiwis for weight loss comes from their high water and dietary fiber content. Both of these can fill you up and keep you off snacking. They can also help you flush out toxins and reduce bloating. Plus, kiwis have almost zero fat, and their carbohydrates are mostly in the form of fiber. The fruit sugar too is released slowly. Watermelon too is good for weight loss. So you could juice the two together, or toss up a sweet and tart fruit salad.
15. Can Improve Skin Health
The antioxidants in the form of vitamin A, C, and E are the main weapons in kiwifruit’s arsenal against signs of aging on the skin. While vitamin C helps produce collagen, the building block of the skin, vitamin E helps against UV damage. Vitamin A, or retinol, and its by-products also help the skin against acne and photo-aging or skin damage caused by exposure to light.28 You may even simply mash the fruit, apply it on your face, and wash off after 15 minutes.
You may even simply mash the fruit, apply it on your face, and wash off after 15 minutes.
Green and gold kiwifruits also contain two proteins called thaumatin-like protein (act d2) and actinchinin, respectively, which work against two different types of fungi.29 The seeds of the gold variety of kiwifruits also showed antibacterial properties.30 This can also have a potent effect in keeping fungal and bacterial skin disorders away.
16. Has Anticancer Effects
Studies have found that the roots of the gold variety of kiwifruits have anticancer effect on lung and liver cancer cells.31 32 This explains why the root of the kiwifruit is used in folk medicine.
17. Helps Pregnant Women
Kiwifruits are good for pregnant women. The folate in them can prevent birth defects related to poor development of the neural tube in fetus. The vitamins A, C, and E can help both the mother and child. The fiber can help would-be moms with constipation, a common side effect of pregnancy. The fruit itself offers few calories but serves as a filling snack, and the fruit sugars are released slowly enough to avert a blood glucose spike. Moreover, according to the Environmental Working Group’s 2017 guide for shoppers for pesticides in produce, kiwis are among the 15 fruits that are relatively free from pesticides.33
Can Kiwifruits Cure Dengue?
There are anecdotes afloat about how kiwifruits help treat dengue by raising the platelet count hugely. Kiwi is obviously a tastier option than the bitter papaya leaf juice for healing dengue, but since this has not yet been clinically proven, it may be better to stick with the papaya leaf juice cure.
Do Kiwifruits Have Side Effects?
Unfortunately, yes. The protein actinidin that helps in digestion can also produce allergic reaction in kids and in people with latex allergy. This could manifest as rashes on the skin, tingling in the mouth, swollen lips, abdominal cramping, and breathing difficulties in severe cases. Since they delay blood clotting, you should avoid having kiwis before a surgery and if you are on blood-thinning medicines.
Here are a few kiwifruit smoothie ideas you could try. It’s best to have kiwifruits fresh and raw. Heating or cooking them destroys the vitamin C. Tell us if you have any other healthy kiwi recipes.
3 Kiwifruit Smoothie Recipes
Just mix all the ingredients together in a blender.
Kiwi Banana Smoothie With Broccoli
- 1 medium sliced banana
- 1 cup finely chopped broccoli
- 2 kiwifruits
- 2 small cucumbers
- 8 oz filtered water
Kiwi Mango Mint Smoothie
- 3 peeled and sliced kiwifruits
- 5 to 6 mint leaves
- 1 finely chopped mango
- 1 small stalk of celery
- 8 oz filtered water
Kiwi Apple Smoothie With Cucumber
- 3 peeled kiwifruits
- 1 finely chopped apple
- 1 medium size cucumber
- 3 oz almond milk
References [ + ]
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