Along with the many kiwi health benefits, it is an exotic fruit from the foothills of the Himalayas, and today, from New Zealand, that holds pleasant surprises. The first is that its rather unattractive, fuzzy skin hides spectacular green pulp. The more than two hundred tiny edible black seeds each fruit contains form a unique radial pattern. But the greatest of the kiwi’s surprises is its richness in vitamin C, which surpasses citrus.
Kiwi Nutritional Facts
The kiwi contains a moderate amount of carbohydrates in the form of sugars, proteins, and less than 0.5 percent fat. Its most important components are:
Vitamin C – The kiwi’s content of this vitamin is almost double that of oranges and lemons. Only guavas, and acerola cherries, with more than one gram per 100 grams of edible portion, surpass kiwi in this vitamin. One kiwi covers the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of this vitamin.
Other vitamins – Kiwis are also very rich in vitamin E and contain considerable amounts of vitamins B6, B2, niacin, B1, and A.
Folates – Kiwis are noteworthy for their 38 mg/100 grams, an amount close to that of eggs (47 mg/100 grams) and more significant than meat (6-13 mg/100 grams) or milk (5 mg/100 grams). Kiwis are among the richest fresh fruits in folates, together with the feijoa. These crucial substances, considered another vitamin, perform essential bodily functions, such as producing blood cells and maintaining the immune system.
Minerals – Kiwis are among the most mineral-rich fruits, particularly potassium, magnesium, and iron. They contain significant amounts of copper, a trace element that, together with vitamin C, aids iron absorption in the intestine.
Fiber – Kiwis contain 3.4 g/100 grams, most of which are soluble (pectin and mucilage). Kiwis surpass most fresh fruits, such as apples (2.7 g/100 grams) and plums (1.5 g/100 grams) in fiber content. To give a clearer idea of a kiwi’s nutritional richness, note that it contains seventeen times more vitamin C, six times more magnesium, five times more proteins, and double the iron than an apple. The following kiwi health benefits are provided:
Kiwi Health Benefits
Promotes the immune system thanks to its vitamin C content, potentiated by the existence of many other minerals and vitamins that make it much more valuable than pharmaceutical preparations. Because kiwis are winter fruit and may be stored quite easily for weeks or even months in the refrigerator, they are very beneficial in preventing colds and flu.
Vitamin C does not destroy viruses, nor does it prevent flu. However, it strengthens the body’s resistance and helps mitigate the disease’s effect, making it less severe and shorter. Eating kiwis regularly (one a day, at least) is beneficial for anyone suffering from any infectious disease, whether in the acute phase or recovery.
Enriches the blood, thus reducing anemia – Kiwis can be very beneficial in cases of anemia because of their iron, vitamin C, and copper content (the latter two facilitate the absorption and assimilation of iron) and folates. This is particularly true when this condition is due to iron deficiency.
Benefits to mother and fetus during pregnancy – Kiwis are highly recommended because they stimulate the immune system and promote blood production. But there is another reason: they are rich in folates, which help prevent spinal column congenital disabilities such as spina bifida.
Reduces excess cholesterol and arteriosclerosis – The soluble vegetable fiber in kiwis minimizes the absorption of cholesterol and its precursors in the intestine, which reduces its level in the blood. This eliminates one cause of arteriosclerosis: excess cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Kiwis are also rich in antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, preventing cholesterol from adhering to arterial walls and forming atheroma plaque. Their high potassium content and low amount of sodium contribute to the prevention of hypertension.
Relieves constipation – Because of their richness in soluble fiber, kiwis are a mild laxative that facilitates fecal movement through the intestine.
Increases stamina in athletes – An experiment conducted at the University of Beijing demonstrated that athletes who eat kiwis show a 24 percent increase in energy over the control group. The Chinese investigators attribute this result to the kiwi’s vitamin C and mineral richness.
Kiwi Scientific Facts
- Scientific name – Actinidia chinensis Planch.
- Other names – Chinese gooseberry, kiwifruit, Yang tao.
- French – Kiwi.
- Spanish – Kiwi.
- German – Kiwi.
- Description – The kiwi is the fruit of the Actinidia, a tree of the botanical family Actinidiacae. Their size and shape are similar to an egg but more cylindrical. Its brown peel covers a green, juicy pulp that is very pleasantly tart.
- Environment – This fruit is native to China. It requires a humid climate and temperatures lower than 25 degrees Celsius. It does not thrive in Mediterranean regions. New Zealand and California are the world’s primary producers.
How to use and Prepare Kiwi
- Fresh – Kiwis are commonly eaten in their natural state. This fruit is very hardy and easily transported. They are usually harvested somewhat green since they ripen off the tree.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 356, 357. Print.