10 Amazing benefits of kiwi
While there are plenty of delicious fruits to consume every day- bananas, oranges, apple, grapefruit, if you want to enjoy something new, delightful, and refreshing, Kiwi is worth the shot.
Beautiful on the inside and outside, one would wonder how this small fruit is packed or loaded with nutritional benefits. This small but mighty fruit has a refreshing flavor that puts other fruits in the shade.
The kiwi fruit is oval and its size can be likened to that of a hens’ egg. Approximately, the kiwi fruit is 3 inches long and weighs about 4 ounces.
Once sliced, you could notice its vibrant green color speckled with black seeds. The green flesh of this extraordinary fruit is sweet and tangy.
Its tiny black seeds and fuzzy fibrous brown skin are edible; however, most people discard the fuzzy skin due to its texture.
Kiwis are grown in California from November through May, and in New Zealand from June through October, hence, they are available year-round.
Kiwifruit is delicious and has a reminiscent taste of watermelons, apples, bananas, and even strawberries, yet it has a superseding unique flavor.
This exotic fruit contains series of nutrients that promote health. It contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals- all of which contribute to the numerous benefits of kiwi.
What are kiwifruit and its origin?
Kiwifruit or Chinese gooseberry or yang tao originated from Northern China where it was used traditionally as a medicine for children to help them grow and women to recover from childbirth.
It was first recorded and described in the 12th century during the song dynasty. The cultivation of kiwifruit spread from China to New Zealand in the 20th century.
New Zealand began to cultivate the fruit commercially in 1940 and the United States, early 1960.
Wondering how New Zealand cultivated the kiwifruit? All thanks to Mary Isabel Fraser who thought it necessary to return to her Homeland (New Zealand) with Chinese gooseberry seeds.
Fraser gave this gift to a local farmer who began cultivation immediately. And now, New Zealand is the third largest kiwi producer while Italy is the first and China, the second.
Grown from the Actinidia deliciosa vine, it may interest you to know that there are other varieties of kiwifruit. The golden or gold kiwifruit with a yellow flesh other than green grows from the Actinidia chinensis vine.
Gold kiwis are flavorful and sweeter than green kiwis.
The kiwifruit had the name yang tao, Chinese of course, and was later nicknamed Chinese gooseberries in New Zealand. It earned this name because of its sweet tangy flavor and green color.
In 1959, it was changed to kiwifruit, after New Zealand’s national bird, how amazing.
Zespri is one of the world’s largest marketers of kiwifruit having its location in New Zealand. Well, we can say New Zealand rock.
Want to find out more about kiwi and why you should be eating them? Read on.
Nutrition facts of kiwi
Whether you take in the smallest bite or the whole fruit, you enjoy kiwifruit and its benefit. One kiwifruit as small as it is contains almost 69 grams of water.
Asides from keeping you properly hydrated, this delightful starfruit delivers numerous health benefits and a complete menu of nutrition because of its unequaled concentration of vital nutrients and vitamins.
Kiwis are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, calcium, and potassium. A powerhouse of antioxidants, kiwi induces sleep, promotes metabolic health, and ensures your skin is bright and glistening as its green flesh.
Yes, it may surprise you to know kiwi has beautifying powers and is mostly a key ingredient in beauty products.
The following is the nutritional fact for one kiwifruit about 69 grams according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- 42 calories (Cal)
- 215 milligrams (mg) of potassium: 5% recommended daily value
- 1g dietary fiber: 8% DV
- 8g protein: 2% DV
- 23mg calcium: 2% DV
- 64mg vitamin C: 107% DV
- 2g sugar
- 1mg vitamin E: 5% DV
- 8 micrograms (mcg) vitamin K: 35% DV
- 7 milligrams (mg) magnesium: 3% DV
- 60 international units (IU) vitamin A: 1% DV
- 17 micrograms(mcg) folate
Benefits of kiwi
- Promotes Digestion
Fruits containing dietary fiber, whether soluble or insoluble are great for aiding digestion. And kudos to the kiwifruit which bags both dietary fiber and enzymes that improve the consistency of stool movement and reduces bowel problems such as diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, and also slows the rate of digestion.
Kiwis are also filled with actinidin, a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down protein.
- Can Treat Asthma
Research shows that adequate consumption of vitamin C can decrease symptoms and severity of Asthma.
According to a study, eating fruits rich in vitamin C, including kiwis can protect children from wheezing and asthma attacks. While more research needs to be done to prove this, vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risk of respiratory problems such as the common cold and its duration.
Know that colds trigger asthmatic attacks. To manage asthmatic conditions and promote lung function, kiwi should be one of the fruits you opt for. Kiwis contain 64mg of vitamin C and that is massive.
- Promotes Immune Function and Prevents Disease:
Kiwi is rich in health-promoting vitamins such as vitamin C and E.
For its small size, kiwi packs 64mg of vitamin C which is around 107% of the recommended daily value. Both vitamin C and vitamin E work as a team to promote immunity by repairing the damage caused to body cells and DNA caused by free radicals.
Free radicals are some set of bad guys responsible for damaging body cells and DNA.
One study found that kiwis may promote immune function and reduce the likelihood of developing illnesses related to cold or flu. And when free radicals win, we become susceptible to inflammatory disease, cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses.
Fruits rich in these antioxidants especially kiwi can help fight and maintain a strong immune system.
- Lowers Blood Pressure
Kiwis can also lower and manage blood pressure. A study conducted on people with high blood pressure found that consuming three kiwis per day lowered their blood pressure compared with one apple a day.
Kiwi contains vital nutrients that can help even reduce the risk of related conditions like stroke or heart disease.
- Reduces Blood Clots
Indeed, kiwi has the power to reduce blood clots asides from helping us manage our blood pressure. A study from the University of Oslo found that kiwifruit was just as effective in preventing blood clotting as aspirin.
The study found that consuming two to three kiwis a day for 28 days lowered the risk of blood clotting and reduced the quantity of fat in the blood. The rate at which the blood clots were reduced was by 18 %.
Another study showed that kiwifruit extract is filled with potent antiplatelet components that may help in the prevention of stroke, heart attacks, and related skin conditions.
More study and research need to be done on this topic.
- Induces Sleep
Eating kiwi just before sleep time can enhance a night of good sleep. In a study conducted on 24 men for a period of four weeks. It was found that by the end of the given period, their sleep quality was enhanced by 42%.
The men were given two kiwifruits an hour before bedtime. Their total sleep time was increased by 13% and their ability to sleep at night without waking up by, 5%.
Kiwifruit contains serotonin, a hormone with a sedative effect. This hormone can help you fall asleep faster without encountering any sleep disturbance.
Serotonin manages mood, sleep-wake cycle, and rapid eye movement (REM). When serotonin levels are balanced, you are more likely to feel happier and calmer. Also, melatonin, a vital hormone that supports sleep regulation is boosted.
If you encounter insomnia or any sleep disorder, grab a bowl of kiwi. To truly understand how kiwi affects serotonin secretion and levels, more research is needed on this topic.
- Aids Weight Loss
Rather than depend on weight loss pills that may promote short-term weight loss, eat a kiwi. Kiwis contain 42 significantly low calories and they are also excellent sources of fiber.
If you are interested in shedding off few pounds or maintaining a healthy weight, then kiwi is good for you. Fruits rich in fiber promotes feelings of fullness so we eat less and consume fewer calories- a means to promote weight loss.
- Promotes Vision Health
Eye health maintenance is essential. While other foods like carrots are great but may be hard to chew, kiwi’s succulent flesh can be a go-to.
Kiwi has other antioxidants solely responsible for protecting and improving eye health, lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
This disorder could occur from 65 years of age onwards and nobody wants poor eyesight or disorder.
According to a study, eating three servings of fruit a day reduced macular degeneration by 36%.
- Prevention of Cancer
Kiwi contains powerful antioxidants that help to reduce the activities of free radicals that damage blood cells and DNA. These antioxidants are flavonoids and carotenoids.
Oxidative DNA damage is linked to colon cancer. Regular consumption of kiwi can lower your risk of colon cancer and other types of cancer, too.
Since kiwi has the ability to reduce cancer, it deserves a spot on your plate.
- A Healthy Heart
Kiwi is an excellent source of potassium, a natural nutrient that lowers blood pressure and other related heart conditions.
According to the USDA, a kiwifruit of about 69 grams contains 215mg which is 5% of the recommended daily value.
Reduction of blood pressure can decrease the risk of stroke or heart attack. Kiwi’s dietary fiber can also boost your heart by lowering triglyceride levels.
A study found that people who ate two to three kiwis per day had their triglycerides by 15% compared to those who did not.
High triglyceride levels increase your susceptibility to heart disease and heart attack.
Benefits of kiwi in pregnancy
It is necessary to monitor the foods you eat when pregnant. You definitely have a baby in your belly to take care of. Kiwifruit is low in sugar and fats but high in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals which makes it a great choice during pregnancy.
It is safe to eat kiwi in pregnancy except you have a kiwi allergy. To know if you are allergic to kiwi, watch out for symptoms like skin rashes, or swellings around the mouth.
During the first trimester:
Folate is an essential nutrient for preventing natural tube defects (NTDs). It is important to take a daily folic acid supplement of 400mcg according to the U.S Centers for Disease and Prevention. Eating a kiwi or two is helpful, as well.
- Vitamin C
As an expecting mother, vitamin C is good for you as it helps with the absorption of iron. Iron levels should be high as it aids the formation of neurotransmitters that supports optimum brain function- good for the baby. Also, absorption of iron prevents anemia during and after pregnancy.
Excluding strong bones and teeth, your body needs an adequate supply of calcium for muscle and heart development, necessary for your fetus. And an average kiwi contains 23mg of calcium, so grab a bowl and enjoy this emerald delight.
- Dietary fiber
Pregnancy definitely comes with its own issue such as bowel problems, from constipation to diarrhea. Kiwi contains just the right amount of fiber to help you maintain smooth bowel movement
- Vitamin A and Zinc
Vitamin A helps in tissue repair, immune function, fetal growth, and visual health while zinc plays a role in the formation of a baby’s cells and DNA. Kiwi is a great fruit choice for you.
- Vitamin K
Vitamin k is known for its healing powers and also its contribution to blood clots. Kiwi contains 27.8mcg of vitamin k, and your body needs enough.
Kiwis contain low sugar content which is ideal for preventing gestational diabetes. This fruit wouldn’t cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. Eat a kiwi but ensure you don’t over-eat it.
Benefits of kiwi for skin
Kiwi can nourish, gently exfoliate and moisturize the skin, enhancing its beauty and radiance. Kiwi contains antioxidants like vitamin C and E, all of which are great for your skin. And you can either drink its extract or apply it to your face.
- Acne, one common skin problem can be handled by kiwi. Kiwi contains anti-inflammatory properties that fight acne.
- Kiwi contains anti-aging properties that can clear wrinkles and reduce signs of premature aging effectively, thanks to vitamin C and A.
- Kiwi has the ability to control excess sebum production
- Kiwi may reduce dark circles due to its vitamin K content.
- As an effective facial cleanser, kiwi contains vitamin C that can give your face radiance and glow.
Kiwi face mask
To help you make this amazing and unique fruit a part of your skincare routine, we have compiled 2 simple and effective kiwi face masks to make your skin smooth, soft, and radiant.
- 1 puree kiwi
- 1 tablespoon plain unsweetened yogurt
- 1 teaspoon organic olive oil
- Blend the kiwifruit
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir properly
- Apply on your face and keep for 15-20 minutes and wash
To rehydrate your skin, mix blended kiwi and aloe Vera gel in a bowl thoroughly. Apply on your face. Keep for 15-20 minutes and wash.
The potential risk of kiwi
Consumption of kiwifruit is safe except for you to have an allergy. Risk for allergy to kiwi increases if you are also allergic to avocado, latex, wheat, figs.
Signs of a kiwi allergy include:
- Itchy throat
- Swollen tongue
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore mouth
- Tingling lips
Kiwifruit may also slow blood clotting in most people. If you have a blood disorder, avoid kiwi or consume it lightly.
The best way to incorporate kiwi in your diet.
This awesome fruit can be eaten in different ways. You could choose to eat it raw by peeling and cutting it into slices or eating it wholly as an apple.
The entire fruit of a kiwi is edible and can even supply more nutrients than when you discard its skin and seeds.
You could also incorporate several fruits in a bowl with kiwi to make a delicious and healthy salad. Or make a rich smoothie, by combining kiwi with milk, other fruits, or juice.
To make a salad, fruits that go well with kiwi include apples, berries, coconut, citrus, mango, cherry, etc.
Banana Kiwi Smoothie Recipe
This extra boost of potassium is a healthy and delicious creamy smoothie. Its flavor and taste are unique and can supply your body with the nutrient it needs.
- 1 medium kiwifruit
- 1 ripe frozen banana
- 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- Wash, peel and cut both kiwifruits and banana into a bowl
- Pour the milk into a blender
- Add the chopped fruits and honey
- Blend till the mixture is smooth and creamy
- Stir in a glass and serve either warm or cold.
When next you go to a grocery store and spot a kiwifruit, add it to your cart and move along. Kiwifruit supplies nutritional benefits and works wonders on your skin and even hair.