Did you know that the kiwifruit originally came from the Kang Chiang Valley in China and is also known as the Chinese gooseberry? It was only when New Zealanders saw its potential that it was given the name kiwi. The kiwi bird is the national symbol of New Zealand and the fruit itself is said to resemble it with its brown skin and funny shape.
It is not just a weird-looking fruit. It is also packed with nutrients that put many other fruits in the shade. Read on to discover the many benefits of kiwifruit.
1. Helps with weight loss
One medium kiwifruit contains only 57 calories per 100 grams, so it is an excellent daily addition to your fruit intake. As it also contains a high quantity of fiber (2.1 grams), this helps to make you feel full, so you may eat less. That is great news for weight watchers.
2. Relieves asthma in kids
An experiment involving 18,000 children in northern Italy showed that consuming kiwifruit can play a significant role in reducing asthma attacks. One group of children were given a few kiwifruit every day, while another group were given just one a week. The kids who ate the most kiwifruit found relief (25% to 44% less) from wheezing, nighttime coughing, and a runny nose.
3. Increases your potassium intake
Potassium is one of the essential minerals involved in pumping your heart and keeping the nervous system healthy. Kiwifruit contains lots of potassium and beats bananas by virtue of a 50% lower calorie count. Just another easy way of warding off heart disease.
4. Protects your vision
Maintaining eye health is essential. Carrots are great but may be tough to chew, so why not take a few kiwifruit instead?
A study at the South Dakota State University has shown that as kiwifruit has plenty of lutein and zeaxanthin, it can play a vital role in helping to reduce the incidence of macular degeneration. This is an extremely common vision disorder from 65 years of age onwards.
5. Relieves constipation
If you suffer from constipation, the kiwifruit is an excellent laxative as its fiber content helps to keep bowel movements regular. Kiwis contain actinidine, which is a key to efficient digestion. Combine that with exercise and plenty of liquids to prevent constipation.
6. Nourishes your skin
Another key element in this fruit is its plentiful supply of vitamins C and E. These are essential in helping you to regenerate new skin cells. If you are eating the right nutrients, your whole immune system will benefit. Your glowing skin will be a testimony to that.
7. Assists diabetes sufferers
The great thing about the kiwi is its low glycemic load, which makes it a good choice for those at risk of diabetes. In addition, it has only 14.6 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams. Please note though, any fruit has to be taken in moderation when diabetes is present, so be sure to consult your doctor.
8. Reduces blood clots
A study at the University of Oslo in Norway showed that kiwifruit was just as effective as aspirin in helping to keep blood from clotting. No side effects either! They were able to show that consuming up to three kiwis a day was effective in preventing these dangerous clots. In fact, the incidence of clots was reduced by 18%.
9. Provides more than enough vitamin C
The kiwi is the king when it comes to vitamin C. It contains one and a half times the recommended daily dose! It even beats the orange (55 mg) as it contains 85–92 mg per 100 grams. It is therefore an essential weapon for keeping everything on track healthwise, such as:
- blood circulation
- healthy bones
- immune system.
10. Cancer prevention
It is fascinating to learn that the kiwifruit was used as a cancer prevention aid as far back as 700 BC in Asia.
The fact that the kiwi has such a high concentration of flavonoids and carotenoids means that it can have a powerful antioxidant function. This is crucial in keeping free radical activity at bay and also may help to protect DNA.
11. Provides folate
If you are thinking of starting a family, your doctor may recommend that mothers-to-be take more folate, as it has been shown to be an effective way of reducing birth defects. It also helps you to make red blood cells, which is really useful in preventing anemia. The amount of folate in a kiwi is about 10% of the daily recommended dose, which amounts to 17 micrograms. Other sources are dark leafy vegetables, beets, potatoes, and asparagus.
12. Sleep well!
Research reported in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who took kiwifruit on a regular basis slept better and longer. Participants were given two kiwis before bedtime for a month. Results showed that the serotonin in the fruit helped the subjects get to sleep more quickly and alleviated sleep disorders.
13. Reduces harmful cholesterol
One of the kiwifruit’s greatest benefits of all is that it helps to keep your cholesterol levels under control. Researchers at Massey University in New Zealand found that consumption of kiwifruit was a factor in helping to reduce harmful cholesterol. They believe that this is due, in part, to the high levels of polyphenols found in it.
As we have seen, there are innumerable health benefits in eating this great fruit. So the next time you go grocery shopping, why not give the ugly, humble kiwifruit a try?
Whatever you do though, don’t follow Erma Bombeck’s advice. She wrote: “Someone once threw me a small, brown, hairy kiwifruit, and I threw a wastebasket over it until it was dead.”
Featured photo credit: Kiwi/ Andreas Dantz via Flickr