With its jade-green flesh, tiny black seeds and naturally sweet taste, the humble little kiwifruit makes a great addition to a healthy diet.
Kiwifruit, which is widely cultivated in New Zealand, California, Italy, Chile, France and Greece, is known for its wealth of essential nutrients, antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds. The well-documented health benefits of this superfruit are definitely something you shouldn’t miss out on. (Related: 8 Science-backed health benefits of eating kiwi .) All types of kiwifruit are nutrient-dense
Kiwifruit is a great source of 20 vitamins, including vitamins A, B3 (niacin), B9 (folate), C (ascorbic acid), E and K, and minerals like copper, magnesium and potassium.
They also contain an array of other nutrients, notably nutritionally relevant levels of dietary fiber as well as a wide range of antioxidants, bioactive enzymes and phytonutrients that provide functional and metabolic benefits.
Although traditional kiwifruit has green flesh, there are a few different types of equally delicious kiwifruit varieties, such as the golden kiwifruit, which has yellow flesh and is sweeter than the green variety.
Unlike green kiwifruit, you can eat a golden kiwifruit just as you would an apple. Eating the golden kiwifruit’s skin is a great way to increase the amount of fiber you get from the fruit from two to four grams per serving. Kiwifruit can support healthy immune function
Kiwifruit is known for having the highest vitamin C content among commonly eaten fruits, providing 290 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C per serving.
Currently, the recommended DV for vitamin C for children aged 4 and above and adults is 60 milligrams (mg) regardless of gender, according to the Institute of Medicine . Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system, aids in collagen production and wound healing, and acts as an antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage. Kiwifruit can boost digestion
According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition , kiwifruit offers digestive benefits not only for healthy individuals but also for people who suffer from constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders, including symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
The fiber in kiwifruit is said to have great water retention capacity, which can help improve stool consistency and support regular bowel movement. Eating fiber-rich kiwifruit can also bring about favorable changes in the composition of your gut microbiota that favors the production of beneficial metabolites. In addition, studies show that the predominant enzyme in kiwifruit, actinidin, can support healthy digestion . Kiwifruit can reduce your risk of developing cancer
According to a review of clinical and cell culture studies, adding kiwifruit to a healthy diet is an excellent way to fight or prevent cancer , particularly colorectal cancer. This is because kiwifruit contains plenty of active components that have direct and indirect anticancer activities.
Research suggests that the direct anticancer effects of kiwifruit involve the reduction of oxidative damage to DNA, which is mediated by ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Meanwhile, the indirect anticancer effects of kiwifruit can be attributed to its ability to improve digestion and support bowel regularity, which helps reduce one’s risk of colorectal cancer. Kiwifruit has cardioprotective properties
A study published in Advances in Food and Nutrition Research reported that kiwifruit can help prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). In fact, studies show that eating two or three kiwifruits a day can help reduce platelet hyperreactivity and lowers blood cholesterol as well as blood pressure.
Platelet hyperreactivity can increase your risk of heart disease because platelets can stick to blood vessel walls and contribute to plaque buildup – a condition known as atherosclerosis. Aside from CVD, platelet hyperreactivity has also been associated with sickle cell disease, inflammatory bowel disease , rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Kiwifruit helps keep your bones strong
One kiwifruit contains 31 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K, which helps improve bone mineral density . Maintaining optimal bone mineral density is important for preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, especially among older adults. Kiwifruit can help you maintain younger-looking skin
Kiwifruit contains high amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant that can protect your skin from damage caused by ultraviolet B rays from the sun. Vitamin E can also help prevent lipid peroxidation and collagen cross-linking — two events that have been linked to premature skin aging. Kiwifruit promotes good-quality sleep
Kiwifruit contains many medicinally useful compounds, some of which can help with sleep disorders. For instance, kiwifruit is a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan , which is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that influences mood, cognition and sleep , while the hormone melatonin also plays a role in your sleep-wake cycle.
In a study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition , Taiwanese researchers found that participants with self-reported sleep disturbances who ate two kiwifruits one hour before bedtime experienced significant improvements in sleep duration and overall sleep quality , suggesting that kiwifruit has potent sleep-promoting properties. Kiwifruit can support eye health
Kiwifruit contains high amounts of two carotenoids, namely, lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are abundantly present in eye tissue and help protect your eyes from oxidative damage. Studies show that lutein and zeaxanthin can also help delay the progression, or even reduce your risk , of chronic eye diseases.
According to Drs. Sherri Nordstrom Stastny and Julie Garden-Robinson from North Dakota State University , one cup of kiwifruit contains 220 micrograms of lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help rebuild your macula and prevent age-related macular degeneration .
Additionally, a cup of sliced kiwifruit contains 167 mg of vitamin C, which is twice the amount you can get from an orange. Researchers recommend consuming vitamin C-rich foods to maintain healthy vision because vitamin C and other antioxidants help repair damaged cells and promote the growth of new cells.
A cup of kiwifruit can also provide about 20 percent of the recommended daily intake for copper, which is important for maintaining a healthy nervous system. This is important for improving the function of your retina , which houses the nerves that convert images […]