People are attracted to kiwi because of its brilliant green color and exotic taste. But the real uniqueness of kiwi comes from its health benefits. Read the kiwi’s fourteen health benefits, interesting facts and how to use this amazing powerfood.
14 Health Benefits of Kiwi
1. Helps Your Digestion with Enzymes
Raw kiwi contains actinidain, a protein-dissolving enzyme that can help digest a meal much like the papain in papaya or bromelain in pineapple.
2. Helps Manage Blood Pressure
Kiwi’s high level of potassium helps keep our electrolytes in balance by counteracting the effects of sodium.
3. Protects from DNA Damage
A study by Collins, Horska and Hotten showed that the unique combination of antioxidants in kiwi helps protect the cell DNA from oxidative damage. Some experts suggest this can help prevent cancer.
4. Boosts Your Immunity
Kiwi’s high vitamin C content along with other antioxidant compounds has been proven to boost the immune system.
5. Supports Weight Loss
Kiwi’s low glycemic index and high fiber content means it will not create a strong insulin rush like other fruit with high sugar contents—so the body will not respond by storing fat.
6. Improves Digestive Health
Kiwis are a great source of fiber. This prevents constipation and other intestinal problems.
7. Helps Clean Out Toxins
The fuzzy fiber of kiwi helps bind and move toxins from your intestinal tract.
8. Helps Fight Heart Disease
Eating 2 to 3 kiwis a day has been shown to reduce the potential of blood clotting by 18 percent and reduce triglycerides by 15 percent. Many individuals take aspirin to reduce blood clotting, but this causes many side effects including inflammation and intestinal bleeding. Kiwi fruit has the same anti-clotting benefits with no side effects, just additional health benefits.
9. Suitable For Diabetics
Kiwi is in the ‘low’ category for glycemic index, meaning it does not raise your blood sugar quickly. It has a glycemic load of 4 which means it is safe for diabetics.
10. Protects Against Macular Degeneration and Other Eye Problems
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. A study on over 110,000 men and women showed that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day decreased macular degeneration by 36 percent. This is thought to be associated with the kiwi’s high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin—both of which are natural chemicals found in the human eye. Although both fruits and vegetables were studied, this same effect was not shown for vegetables.
11. Creates Alkaline Balance
Kiwi is in the “most alkaline” category for fruits, meaning it has a rich supply of minerals to replace the excess of acidic foods most individuals consume. A few of the benefits of a properly acid/alkaline balanced body are: youthful skin, deeper sleep, abundant physical energy, fewer colds, less arthritis and reduced osteoporosis.
12. Protects the Skin
Kiwis are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant known to protect skin from degeneration.
13. Tastes Delicious
Kiwis look and taste great. Kids often love them because they are so different from most fruits.
For nutritional balance it is always good to eat a variety of foods. Each food has its own unique qualities and powers. The trouble with most people’s diet is that we eat such a limited number of foods, which limits the amount of nutrients we get.
14. Has Fewer Pesticides
Kiwi fruit is on the list of foods that are generally safe from a lot of pesticide residues. For 2016 it came in with the top 10 safest foods. While it is always good to support organic when you can as a matter of principle, it’s also good to know whether there is a big danger if organic is not available or viable for you.
Interesting Facts About Kiwifruit
- Kiwi fruit was named after the New Zealand Kiwi bird—an unusual flightless bird—because they are both small, brown and furry.
- Not all kiwi fruit is fuzzy! The most popular species of kiwifruit is appropriately called fuzzy kiwifruit, but there is also golden kiwi with a smooth bronze skin. The golden kiwi is actually sweeter and more aromatic in flavor.
- Although kiwis have been native to China for centuries, practically no one in North America knew what they were 60 years ago. They were first introduced to the U.S. in 1962. They caught on fast!
- Although kiwifruit can grow in any temperate climate, most of the world’s kiwi are grown in Italy, New Zealand and Chile.
- YES, you can eat the fuzz if you want.
How to Use:
- If a kiwi does not yield a bit to finger pressure, allow it to ripe by storing it at room temperature away from the sun.
- Kiwi ripening can be hastened by putting it in a paper bag with a banana, apple or pear.
- Once a kiwi fruit is ripe, keep it away from other fruit (even in the refrigerator) since the kiwi is very sensitive to the ethylene gas given off by those other fruits and it will over ripen.
- The actinidain in raw kiwi makes them unsuitable for desserts and other dishes that are not eaten right away because it can make the dish too mushy or stop it from setting. This applies to proteins but also to other fruits.
Kiwifruit contain a measurable amount of oxalates, a naturally occurring substance in many plants and animals. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. People with kidney or gallbladder problems may therefore want to avoid eating kiwi. There is a lot of controversy about the amounts needed to be significant, particularly from plants.
Kiwis also contain enzyme substances associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome. If you have a latex allergy, you may be allergic to kiwi also. Since ripening the fruit with ethylene gas increases these substances, organic kiwi not treated with gas will have fewer allergy-causing compounds. Cooking also deactivates the enzymes.