It’s amazing what a little hairy fruit can do. Over the past decade, you would have heard a lot about the term “superfood”. Superfoods are very much like a fad trend, we talk about it for a few months, then once everyone has tried it, it kind of seems to slowly wear off.
Remember when kale became a crazy superfood trend? Suddenly every cafe and restaurant was offering kale juice, boiled kale and kale chips, etc. After some time, research revealed that spinach contained very similar nutrients to kale, as well as added vitamins not found in kale.
The kale craze was officially over. I mean, who really enjoyed eating kale anyway?
What if I told you that one of these “superfoods” never lost its superpowers?
Meet the humble kiwi. A crazy fact that is not well known is that the kiwi, or Chinese gooseberry, originally grew wild in China. Kiwis are a well-known “medicinal” plant in the country and for good reason.
Kiwis are small fruits with big benefits.
Their green flesh is sweet and tart. Their small black seeds are edible, as is the fuzzy brown skin, although many prefer to peel the kiwifruit before eating it. You can also buy ‘Golden Kiwis’ which have smooth skin.
The story goes that a schoolteacher introduced the fruit to New Zealand in 1904, when he returned from China with the seeds sewn into his pockets. The New Zealanders then named it “kiwi” after their national bird, the Kiwi.
Kiwis are nutrient-dense foods. They are rich in nutrients and low in calories. Each kiwi contains around 60-70 calories, making it a perfect snack for anyone trying to lose weight.
You can combine 2 kiwis with Greek yogurt and boom! Here’s your superfood snack. So easy.
The kiwi has since gained a reputation as a “super food” or “health food” due to its high vitamin C content, but the fruit is also abundant in many other nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin E, folate and potassium. They also contain lots of antioxidants and are a good source of fiber.
Antioxidants like choline, lutein and zeaxanthin are very helpful in eliminating free radicals from the body. Free radicals are generally known as unstable atoms that the body produces during metabolism, immune system responses, and aging.
When too many free radicals build up, they cause oxidative stress, which can lead to cell damage inside the body. This alteration of cells can lead to many health problems such as cancer and heart disease.
Antioxidants help fight free radicals by protecting your cells.
The benefits of kiwi are many, but here are the main (and most useful):
- Prevention of constipation and regular bowel movements (A kiwi a day keeps the gastroenterologist away)
Kiwifruit has been shown to relieve constipation and improve bowel movement frequency in several clinical studies. This is because they are high in fiber and contain unique properties due to Kiwi’s interesting composition of insoluble and soluble fiber, which work together simultaneously to fight constipation.
A kiwi provides approximately 2 g of fiber or 6–9% of the daily fiber requirements of an adult.
A 2019 study concluded that when healthy people eat kiwi fruit, their small intestines are better able to retain water, leading to greater stool frequency and softer stool consistency.
The study authors recommended that kiwi may be a natural alternative to medical laxatives for people with mild constipation.
- Aids digestion (especially in high fat/protein diets like KETO)
The kiwi contains many digestive aids. According to Zespri, actinidin is one such aid. Actinidin is a unique protease found in kiwifruit, which breaks down proteins and speeds up gastric digestion. This natural enzyme can break down a wide range of dietary proteins more completely and faster than our natural digestive enzymes can do on their own. They are therefore an excellent alternative to store-bought digestive aids.
- Healthy and youthful skin
Healthy skin requires constant production of collagen to function properly.
Vitamin C is a major contributor to the creation of collagen. Collagen is a key component of cells and organs throughout the body, including the skin. Vitamin C also boosts the body’s ability to repair wounds and injuries.
A kiwi weighing 69 grams provides 64 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C. This is 71-85% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement. Incredible!
The kiwi also provides vitamin E or tocopherol. The unique antioxidant characteristics of vitamin E and its ability to help protect the skin against sun damage and wrinkle formation (glycation) can help prevent skin disorders such as eczema and acne.
- Anti-inflammatory reaction
Kiwis have unique anti-inflammatory proteins. Kiwellin and Kissper are two such proteins in kiwi fruit that contain anti-inflammatory properties. Several lab findings have indicated that Kissper can help manage inflammation in the human intestines (small and large), potentially benefiting sufferers of IBS, IBD, CD, and UC by effectively counteracting stress. oxidative and inflammatory response. intestinal cells and colonic mucosa CD. (Read more here)
- Improved sleep (it’s interesting)
In 2011, a study looked at the effects of kiwi fruit on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems. Researchers found that eating kiwi fruit improved sleep and the ability to fall asleep, based on self-reported measures.
Eating 1-2 medium kiwis before bed can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Scientists have proposed that this benefit may come from the antioxidant and serotonin content of kiwi fruit.
- Improved blood pressure and heart health
Due Thanks to the high fiber content of kiwi fruit, along with loads of potassium and antioxidants, a person’s heart health can be greatly boosted by consuming the fruit.
Potassium promotes relaxation of blood vessels, which helps control blood pressure, and people with low blood pressure tend to be less likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
A kiwi contains about 215 mg of potassium, which is about 5% of an adult’s daily requirement.
The high fiber content of kiwi fruit may also benefit cardiovascular health. A medical journal published in 2017 found that a person who consumes high amounts of fiber has a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. These people also have less “bad cholesterol,” or low-density lipoproteins.
- Pregnancy support
Folate is a well-known nutrient that a pregnant woman needs to maintain the health of the growing fetus. Folate is crucial early in pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects in the brain and spine.
As mentioned above, kiwi fruit contains folate, which is essential for cell division. One kiwi provides approximately 17.2 micrograms (mcg) of folate.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, every pregnant woman should consume at least 600 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily. It may be a good idea to combine a few kiwis a day with your prenatal vitamins for optimal folate intake.
Now that we’ve discovered some of the amazing benefits of kiwis, how should we incorporate them into our diet?
- Eat raw kiwifruit – Cut a ripe kiwifruit in half, leaving the skin on and eating each half with a spoon. If you prefer, cut the skin or buy Golden Kiwis.
- Smoothies – Create a fruit smoothie with kiwi, pineapple, coconut milk, frozen mango, and strawberry chunks.
- Add diced kiwi to a colorful salad of spinach, kale, walnuts, dried cranberries, diced apples, feta cheese, seasoned with lemon, olive oil and salt.
- Freeze kiwi slices and eat them as a snack or dessert on a hot day.
To learn more about the incredible health benefits of kiwi fruit, click here.
Good Kiwi to eat!
Note: I am not a registered dietitian or nutritionist, the exercises and information in this article were developed based on research by health professionals and scientists.
This article is not intended to provide specialist medical advice, and the points in this article may not apply to everyone.
Always seek professional medical advice if in doubt.
*Learn more about GCT: Will Greek yogurt be the next big “superfood”?