Kiwi: The Ultimate Health Guide

Kiwi on white plate

If you’re not adding kiwi fruit to your diet yet, it’s time you do. Known to perk up fruit bowls and desserts, kiwi offers a powerful nutritional punch, too! 

This refreshing, nutrient-dense fruit has been prized since ancient times for its medicinal properties.

Today, kiwi continues to exhibit incredible benefits to health and wellness, including healthier digestion, better eye health, weight loss, and reduced risk of respiratory disorders and cancer.

There are tons more you’d love about this nutritious fruit, so read on. We will further talk about why kiwis are super great for your health, and how you can add it to your diet!

What is Kiwi?

Kiwi, otherwise known as the Chinese gooseberry, is the edible fruit of several species of woody vines. It is shaped like an egg with fibrous, greenish-brown skin, and a luminous green flesh with rows of edible black seeds at the center.

This fruit has a unique, sweet flavor that somewhat resembles that of honeydew melon or gooseberry. Eaten raw or cooked, kiwi is often used as a topping in desserts, cereals, fruit bowls, and pavlovas.

It is also sometimes used as a tenderizer for meats, especially for curries and roasted dishes.

Native to China, kiwi is now commercially cultivated in New Zealand, Italy, and California. Statistics, however, show that Mainland China is still the top producer of kiwis in the world, followed by Italy and New Zealand.

Kiwi: Nutrition Facts

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Database, a 100-gram serving of raw kiwifruit has 15.79 grams of carbohydrates, 12.30 grams of sugar, and 1.4 grams of dietary fiber.

It also contains rich amounts of essential nutrients such as vitamin A (23 IU), potassium (315 mg), vitamin C (161.3 mg), phosphorus (25 mg), and calcium (17 mg) per one hundred grams of serving.

What are the Health Benefits of Kiwi?

Kiwi slices

While apple often takes the spotlight as the “miracle fruit”, other fruits such as kiwi also boast key nutrients that offer incredible health rewards. Let’s take a look at these amazing kiwi health benefits:

Kiwi promotes weight loss

Weight loss is something that many of us want to succeed in. Luckily, there are foods that promote weight loss by reducing our hunger pangs. These foods, kiwi included, contain fiber that promotes the feeling of fullness.

Kiwi also proves to be a perfect addition to your weight loss diet because guess what? It only contains 61 calories per one hundred grams. What’s more, it has zero cholesterol!

So, if you’re looking to lose or manage your weight, consider adding this nutrient-loaded fruit to your regular nutrition. It’s nutritious, it’s yummy, and you can enjoy it in many ways, too!

Kiwi enhances your digestion

Kiwi is also good for your digestive system. Aside from being a good source of dietary fiber, kiwis also have actinidin, a proteolytic enzyme that assists in the digestion of proteins.

One study showed that kiwifruit extract containing actinidin improved the digestion of most food proteins.

Kiwi eases constipation

Not only is kiwi helpful in digestion but in easing constipation as well. Several studies show that kiwi provided favorable effects for individuals, particularly the elderly, who have constipation problems.

One study found that healthy adults aged above 60 who regularly consumed kiwi, had more frequent, and bulkier and softer stool. A separate study revealed that kiwi helped relieve chronic constipation in Chinese patients.

Another research found that kiwi powder improved bowel frequency and reduced abdominal pain and flatulence in people with occasional constipation.

Kiwi helps control diabetes

If you are a diabetic and wondering what fruits you can add to your diet, look no further than kiwi!

It is high in important nutrients and low in glycemic index, a ranking associated with the carbs on foods and its effect on blood glucose levels. One study concluded that kiwi, having a low GI, is suitable for diabetic patients.

Kiwi maintains eye health

Several studies show that kiwi is also an excellent source of good-for-your-eyes carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which helps prevent the development of macular degeneration.

Aside from these carotenoids, this tropical fruit is also a great source of vitamin A, an essential nutrient for eye health.

Kiwi combats respiratory disorders

Aside from reducing your risk of eye disorders such as macular degeneration, kiwi also helps to fight respiratory diseases like a chronic cough, and asthma.

One research found that vitamin-C rich fruits, particularly kiwi, exhibited a protective effect against wheezing and other respiratory symptoms.

Such findings suggest that kiwi consumption may benefit those who are suffering from respiratory ailments.

Kiwi boosts heart health

Another prized benefit of this tropical fruit is its ability to keep your heart healthy. Kiwi is rich in potassium, an essential nutrient that also acts as an electrolyte, and plays a crucial role in blood thinning and heartbeat.

Several studies found a link between increased potassium intake and lower risk of hypertension, morbidity, and mortality from cardiovascular diseases.

Kiwi was also found to increase the levels of HDL or good cholesterol, and decrease total cholesterol in subjects with high cholesterol.

Other studies suggest that kiwi may have favorable effects on the blood pressure and platelet aggregation of male smokers.

Some research found that kiwi also lowers LDL or bad cholesterol and triglyceride, concluding that kiwi may be beneficial in cardiovascular disease.

Kiwi may benefit IBS patients

Individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may also find relief from eating kiwi. IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by constipation (IBS-C), diarrhea (IBS-D) or alternating constipation and diarrhea (IBSC-A).

One study conducted on IBS-C sufferers showed the beneficial effect of kiwi intake. The study found that people with IBS-C had a more frequent bowel movement and shorter colon transit time after four weeks of intervention.

The research concluded that consuming kiwifruit may enhance the bowel function of IBS-C patients.

Kiwi reduces cancer risk

Kiwi is one of the cancer-preventive foods that you can take if you want to lower your risk for cancer.

A rich source of cancer-fighting antioxidants such as vitamin C, kiwi combats free radical damage that not only causes skin aging but a higher cancer risk, too.

Kiwi is one of the best sources of vitamin C. In fact, a hundred-gram kiwi can provide you with 154 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement! It’s even more loaded with this important nutrient than lemon and orange combined!

Kiwi boosts your immune system

Start adding kiwis to your diet if you want to give your immunity a boost, too! The immune system-strengthening powers of kiwi are also attributed to its rich vitamin C content.

Aside from vitamin C, kiwi is also a good source of vitamin E, a nutrient found to increase the T-cell count, which helps to further improve your immune system.

Kiwi promotes healthy bones

If you’re also looking to make your bones healthier and stronger, kiwi makes a great addition to your nutrition plans.

This tropical fruit contains two of the most important nutrients for bone health: calcium, and vitamin K. Several studies show that both nutrients can prevent your risk of bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis.

Kiwi gives you healthier skin and hair

If you think kiwi is only good for your health, you’re mistaken because apparently, it’s also great for enhancing your looks!

Want to have healthier, more beautiful hair and skin? It’s time you consider adding kiwi to your beauty routine.

Kiwi helps to promote skin health by preventing skin degradation; thanks to its antioxidant nutrients. Kiwi also helps to prevent hair loss and premature graying due to its key minerals such as zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium.

How to Add Kiwi to Your Diet

Breakfast bowl with kiwi slices

Kiwi may not look like it’s the tastiest fruit on earth, but you’ll be surprised to discover that it’s actually delicious! In fact, you can enjoy it on its own.

If you want to experiment with kiwis and perk them up, though, you can try any of these yummy ideas:

  • Add a unique flair to your fruit salads by throwing kiwis into the mix.

  • Boost the flavor and texture quality of your cereals and oatmeal by incorporating kiwis and strawberries into them.

  • Make a refreshing dessert! Put kiwi slices into your popsicle tray and pour coconut water. Freeze and enjoy!

  • Kiwis can also take your savory dishes to a whole new level!

  • You can also add kiwi slices to your baked goodies such as muffins, and cakes.

  • Other than being a nice addition to recipes, kiwis can also be used as a meat tenderizer. You can mash kiwifruit and marinate your chicken breast in them for about 20 minutes to make it tender.

What are the Potential Risks of Eating Kiwi?

While Kiwi is considered generally safe for consumption, some people may experience allergic reactions after intake. Some of the symptoms may include mouth irritation, mild swelling, and stomach pain.

Since it is also a natural laxative, kiwi may also cause diarrhea, especially when taken in high amounts.

Kiwi may also interact with certain medications. People who are taking beta-blockers are advised to avoid consuming more than one kiwi per day as it may cause adverse effects.

To avoid any of these negative effects from occurring, remember to consume kiwi moderately and see your doctor immediately if symptoms get worse.

Takeaway

Kiwi just might be the newest healthy addition you’re looking for to include in your regular nutrition. Packed with essential nutrients and fantastic health benefits, kiwi proves to be a mighty fruit, too!

Keep in mind, though, that moderation is important, so avoid overconsuming kiwi and talk to your doctor if you’re taking any meds or have a medical condition for safety.


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