Kiwifruit or kiwi as it is commonly called is a nutrient-dense fruit that is grown and eaten in various parts of the world. Although New Zealand is popular for cultivating kiwis, the fruit originated in eastern China. Botanically, kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa or Actinidia chinensis) is classified as a large berry that belongs to the genus Actinidia. This oval-shaped fruit is usually sweet or tart and has fuzzy soft skin, making it a popular addition to salads or frozen yogurt. In terms of color, edible species of kiwis come in green (Actinidia deliciosa) and golden hues (Actinidia chinensis).
Although both types have edible tiny black seeds, golden kiwis are sweeter than the green types because they contain a high amount of fructose. Golden kiwis also have a higher amount of vitamin C (290% DV per serving) and can serve double the amount of dietary fiber in green kiwis because of their edible soft skin. Another major difference between the two variants is green kiwi contains green pigment (chlorophyll), which is absent in golden kiwis. In this article, we look at the nutritional and health benefits that kiwi provides when incorporated with a plant-based diet.
Kiwi contains a high amount of Vitamin C, dietary fiber, and antioxidants, hence, providing several health benefits. The fuzzy fruit also contains vitamins A, E, Vitamin B6 with minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, and copper.
A 140-gram serving of kiwifruit provides the following nutrients:
A cup of kiwi which equals about two medium fruits provides an adequate amount of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital to the growth and repair of tissues in the body. Kiwis are also a rich source of plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the body, thanks to the antioxidant minerals vitamin C and vitamin E.
Moreover, kiwis are packed with carotenoids such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta carotene, which provide various health benefits. Golden kiwis are a rich source of folate which aids the growth of the brain and spine in babies during the early development stage. Below we explain other health benefits that result from the improved nutritional status provided by kiwi.
As mentioned earlier, kiwi is high in Vitamin C, an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in boosting the immune system. This powerful antioxidant helps reduce oxidative stress and gets rid of free radicals that contribute to inflammation. When there are fewer free radicals in the body, the risk of oxidative stress is reduced, there are fewer damaged cells in the body, and the risk of developing chronic diseases is decreased significantly.
Kiwis are also rich in health-promoting phytonutrients such as anthocyanidins, which act as antioxidants and support healthy immune function, and lutein and phenols, which are linked to free radical neutralization and good vision. Carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein in kiwi help prevent macular degeneration which causes loss of vision.
Kiwi is a fiber-rich fruit, which makes it a gut-friendly food. The soluble fiber in kiwi is proven to help with digestive function and ease constipation issues and stomach discomfort. Kiwi also contains actinidin, a proteolytic enzyme that helps break down proteins which ultimately aids digestion. What’s more, kiwi is over 90% water which can improve hydration, promote digestion of food, and aid the absorption of nutrients.
Thanks to its high Vitamin C content, kiwifruit has been linked to the alleviation of symptoms of wheezing in asthma patients - especially children. The fruit is considered a natural remedy for asthma symptoms because it reduces inflammation induced by allergic reactions in the respiratory system. According to a recent study, kids who frequently consumed kiwi reported a reduced occurrence of wheezing symptoms, nocturnal cough, and runny nose.
When consumed with other nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in kiwi may help improve hair and skin health. Vitamin E (also known as tocopherol) in kiwi acts as an antioxidant to reduce the effects of UV radiation and prevent skin diseases. Vitamin E also helps hydrate the skin and provides the skin with essential oils to make the skin look radiant and youthful.
Additionally, the vitamins found in kiwi help nourish the scalp and promote blood circulation, thus, improving hair health. Zinc helps protect oil glands and nourishes hair follicles to facilitate hair growth.
Kiwi is a low-calorie fruit that contains high amounts of fiber and water. These attributes make it a nutritious food choice for people trying to shed extra weight. Fiber aids digestion and water create a sense of fullness in the stomach to prevent eating more calories than the body needs for energy.
Kiwis have an impressive nutrient profile. They are not only tasty when eaten alone, but they also make a delicious addition to meals. Kiwi’s high nutritional attributes which include high vitamin C content make it very beneficial to overall health.
Kiwi is available frozen, dried, or fresh Before eating dried kiwi, check the ingredient list for the amount of added sugar. Ensure you eat kiwi when fresh as it contains enzymes that can tenderize the fruit when left out for too long. Also, bear in mind that babies below the age of 8 months should not be fed kiwi.