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Kiwi Nutrition: 10 Surprising Benefits + More Vitamin C than Orange

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Kiwi - Dr. Axe

If you’ve never tried a kiwifruit, you might be on your way to the grocery store after reading all of the ways it can enhance your health. That’s because kiwi nutrition provides an insane amount of health benefits.

For instance, did you know that kiwi is one of the most nutritious vitamin C foods around? It’s true.

In fact, just one cup of kiwi nutrition provides almost 275 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. Kiwi’s beneficial phytonutrients combined with the fantastic lineup of vitamins and minerals kiwi nutrition provides create a delicious, nutrient-dense fruit with an impressive list of health benefits.

The kiwifruit, also called the Chinese gooseberry, comes in different varieties — golden kiwi and green kiwi being the most popular.

This fruit easily added to fruit salads, smoothies, and other delicious meals and snacks, and kiwis also great on their own. The flesh of the fruit is sweet, creamy and delicious.

Can you eat kiwi skin? Its fuzzy skin is similar to that of a peach, and the fruit can be enjoyed with or without it.

Health Benefits

This powerful antioxidant fruit has significant amounts of over 20 vital nutrients. Kiwis are low in calories but high in energy, making them a great option for people trying to lose weight.

Kiwi nutrition is super heart-healthy thanks to the high levels of potassium — which helps prevent low potassium — fiber and vitamin K. Kiwis are proven to reduce symptoms associated with upper respiratory illnesses as well as digestive illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome.

Kiwi nutrition has elements that help with bone growth and maintenance, eye and vision health, and can even help you sleep better, among the following benefits.

1. Incredible Source of Antioxidant-Powered Vitamin C and E

One reason kiwifruit is undeniably a superfood is because it’s a high-antioxidant food that fights free radical damage.

One study conducted by the Department of Chemical Toxicology, Division of Environmental Medicine, at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in which kiwifruit was supplemented to a normal diet showed that with just one to two golden kiwifruit a day, a marked decrease in internal oxidative damage occurred.

A recent 2020 study found that the vitamin C in kiwifruit may reduce cancer development because of its ability to reduce oxidative injury and enhance bowel movements. This may help in the prevention of colorectal cancer.

A big reason for this is that vitamin C levels in kiwifruit outshine oranges and provide benefits that help repair and maintain a number of body tissues and systems.

In addition, kiwi’s vitamin E is fat-free and a strong component in lowering cholesterol and fighting free radicals.

Aside from the high levels of vitamin C and E, both natural antioxidants, kiwifruit is also rich in polyphenols that have immunostimulatory activity. These polyphenols have been proven to prompt an immune system response.

2. Counteracts Aging and Improves Skin Health

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and the building block that maintains the skin, muscles, bones and tendons. Research shows that it breaks down as we age and is dependent on vitamin C, which we know kiwifruit has plenty of.

Research published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology suggests that the polysaccharides in kiwifruit are able to double collagen synthesis in the body compared to normal conditions when this activity reduces as we age.

Kiwi is also host to a carotenoid and antioxidant called lutein. Lutein is incredibly beneficial to skin health by protecting the skin from UV light, marking yet another kiwi nutrition benefit.

3. Improves Respiratory Health

Kiwifruit and other fruits high in vitamin C have been used successfully to treat a number of respiratory illnesses. Two studies have shown beneficial reactions in both adults and children suffering from asthma and other respiratory illnesses and infections after adding kiwifruit to their diets.

Both studies concluded that the fruit was able to enhance the vitamin C concentration in the body. This was able to reduce the symptoms of the patients, including decreasing wheezing, head congestion and duration of sore throat.

4. Good for Vision and Prevention of Eye Disease

Kiwi nutrition’s supply of lutein not only protects the skin, but is also a powerful phytochemical that has been shown to prevent many diseases of the eye, including age-related macular degeneration. Lutein is able to protect the eye by filtering out damaging short-wavelength UV light.

Kiwifruit has 171 milligrams of lutein in one large fruit. That is substantially higher than almost any other fruit.

Along with lutein, kiwifruit has a great supply of another carotenoid, vitamin A. Vitamin A has proved to be beneficial for optimum eye health.

5. Aids in Digestion

Kiwi has shown promise as a treatment of bowel and digestive disorders. A number of studies have shown kiwi helps reduce complications related to irritable bowel syndrome as well as inflammatory bowel disease.

The findings of the studies suggest that adding kiwi to patients’ diets introduces antioxidants and fiber. These are able to produce anti-inflammatory results, as well as overall improvements in bowel function.

Kiwi Nutrition vs. Orange Nutrition - Dr.Axe

6. Improves the Cardiovascular System

There’s no doubt kiwifruit is a heart-healthy superstar. One kiwi a day can provide a lower risk of stroke, blood clots and cardiovascular diseases.

The potassium in kiwifruit helps lower blood pressure, counteract sodium in the body and is a vasodilator, relaxing the blood vessels throughout the body. The fiber found in kiwi is also very heart-healthy, along with vitamin K, which is able to prevent the buildup of calcium in the arteries and therefore able to reduce the risk for heart attacks.

Studies have shown that people who regularly consume kiwifruit have 15 percent lowered triglyceride levels compared to those who do not. Kiwifruit is also a great source of omega-3s, magnesium, vitamin E and copper, all of which help keep the cardiovascular system working properly.

7. Bone Maintenance and Repair

Kiwifruit’s substantial supply of vitamin K is needed in your body for more than just healthy arteries. Vitamin K is needed to use calcium to make bones. That is why a vitamin K deficiency can be extremely troublesome.

Studies suggest that diets high in vitamin K can improve bone health and reduce the risk of bone-related injuries and diseases, like osteoporosis.

8. Serotonin Puts Sleep Problems to Bed

Another kiwi nutrition benefit is the presence of serotonin. Serotonin may be why the fruit has a long-running reputation for its sleep-aiding abilities.

The serotonin in kiwifruit has been shown to increase sleep time and sleep efficiency by 13 percent and 5 percent, respectively, so if you can’t sleep, kiwi may help.

There is also evidence to suggest serotonin may help boost memory and mood and can even help with depression.

9. Anticancer Effects

The trees in the Actinidia family (kiwi trees) have been used as medicinal plants in China for many years, treating ailments like joint pain, bladder stones, and cancers of the liver and esophagus.

Both the fruit and roots of kiwi have proven inhibitory effects on human liver, lung and colon cancer cell growth. Thanks to its polysaccharide and the abundance of antioxidants found in fresh kiwi nutrition, studies in mice have shown anti-tumor effects and reduction of cancer cells.

These reasons are why kiwis are among some of the best cancer-fighting foods available in nature.

10. Antifungal and Antibacterial Capabilities

Both green and golden kiwifruit have shown antifungal and antibacterial capabilities in several studies. The most antibiotic activity has been found in the seeds, which are commonly consumed with the fruit because of their small size.

The golden kiwifruit contains a protein called actinchinin, which is suggested as the origin of its antifungal capabilities.

Extracts from the kiwifruit have shown antibacterial activity against a number of bacterial strains. These capabilities may also be connected to the large number of antioxidants in the fruit.

Nutrition Facts

A large fresh, raw kiwi without skin (approximately 91 grams) has about:

  • 55.5 calories
  • 13.3 grams carbohydrates
  • 1 gram protein
  • 0.5 gram fat
  • 2.7 grams fiber
  • 84.4 milligrams vitamin C (141 percent DV)
  • 36.7 micrograms vitamin K (46 percent DV)
  • 284 milligrams potassium (8 percent DV)
  • 1.3 milligrams vitamin E (7 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram copper (6 percent DV)
  • 22.7 micrograms folate (6 percent DV)

One fruit that kiwi is commonly compared to is orange because both are good sources of vitamin C and other health-promoting nutrients. Both fruits have antioxidant abilities and immune-boosting power.

They can both support digestion and promote detoxification, and they both have anti-inflammatory effects.

There are only a few differences in kiwi nutrition benefits vs. orange nutrition benefits. Kiwifruit is higher in sugar, making it harder to manage blood sugar levels after consumption.

Oranges have antimicrobial properties and are often used in home cleaning agent products. They also have a fresh, citrus smell.

How to Add to Diet

Kiwifruit holds well in storage. Therefore the season extends from November through April — but it can usually be found in grocery stores year-round.

If stored properly, the kiwi can be transported up to eight weeks after harvesting.

When purchasing kiwifruit, size is usually not indicative of quality. Unripe kiwifruit is firm and isn’t at its peak sweetness yet.

If you don’t plan to use the kiwifruit within a few days, choose a firm fruit.

Kiwis can be stored at home at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Placing the fruit in a paper bag can speed up ripening to four to six days. Adding an apple or banana to the bag speeds up the process even more.

A ripe kiwifruit has the most antioxidants available.

When preparing kiwifruit, you can decide whether to eat the skin or remove it. The fuzzy texture is strange to some, but others liken it to the skin of a pear or a peach.

The easiest and quickest way to peel a kiwi is to cut off each end and slide a spoon around the edge to remove the rest.

Kiwifruit can be eaten raw, used in baked goods and pastries, made into juice, or even used to tenderize meat.

The protein actinidain, present in kiwifruit, creates an enzymatic reaction that’s able to tenderize food. When tenderizing meat, you can use the flesh of the kiwifruit for about 10 minutes by rubbing the meat and cook immediately afterward.

The presence of this protein also makes kiwi an ingredient you want to add last to dishes that include dairy products like whipped cream or gelatin-based desserts, as it liquifies them. Same goes for fruit salads, because the kiwi actually has the ability to tenderize itself as well.

Add kiwi as the final touch when preparing these dishes.

You can add kiwi to your diet in so many ways:

  • Cut fresh kiwi in half, and enjoy a natural bowl of green goodness.
  • Blend it into a healthy smoothie.
  • Freeze kiwi in your home freezer into popsicles for a cool treat in the summer.
  • Toss kiwifruit into fruit or green salads.
  • Mix kiwi into your favorite yogurt parfait.

The following kiwifruit recipes are delicious ways to incorporate this phenomenal fruit into your regular diet:

Risks and Side Effects

Kiwifruit allergy is very common and responsible for 10 percent of all food allergy reactions in children. People with allergies to latex and other fruits like avocados and bananas should be especially cautious.

Reports show that kiwifruit allergy can result in:

  • oral allergy syndrome
  • hives (from consumption or contact)
  • swelling
  • itchy/watery eyes
  • irritation of the nose and mouth
  • anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening

Individuals on beta-blockers should consume kiwifruit in moderation, as the potassium found in the fruit can alter the potassium levels to higher than is healthy. Heightened potassium can be harmful to the kidneys, especially for those with kidney illness.

Kiwifruit also has the capability to slow blood clotting in some individuals and could negatively affect people with bleeding disorders. If you’re going to have surgery, it’s recommended to stop consuming kiwi at least two weeks before the surgery.

Final Thoughts

  • Just one cup of kiwi provides almost 275 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C, which can support your overall health.
  • Fresh kiwi nutrition benefits include providing powerful antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E, counteracting aging and improving skin health, improving respiratory health, protecting vision and preventing eye disease, aiding in digestion, improving the cardiovascular system, maintaining and repairing bone health, aiding sleep, fighting cancer, and providing antifungal and antibacterial capabilities.
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