When we think of nutritional value that is derived from fruits, the first thing that comes to mind are apples, oranges, or bananas. Not often do we hear the kiwifruit being thrown into the table when it comes to good health. Not that it’s not healthy, but it often finds itself down the list. But did you know that this rather mundane-looking fruit holds a multitude of health benefits? Here are seven reasons why.
Nutritionally packed fruit
This fruit is a powerhouse of nutrients, and is low in calories. This means that you get more nutrients per gram of this fruit. Here is a nutritional breakdown of the fruit as taken from Medical News Today.
- Calories 42
- Protein 0.8 grams
- Total Fat 0.4 grams
- Fiber 2.1 grams
- Vitamin C 64 milligrams
- Vitamin A 3 micrograms
- Iron 0.2 milligrams
- Potassium 252 milligrams
- Folate 17 micrograms
Studies also show that the kiwifruit is one of the best sources of vitamin C, as it is able to provide a person with a bulk of their recommended dietary intake. Adding kiwi into a diet that is severly low in vitamin C can improve its levels in the plasma.
Kiwifruit is an antioxidant
This fuzzy brown fruit may seem ordinary but it is loaded with nutrients. This can be attributed to its high vitamin C content. But according to a research conducted by Hunter et. al., other phytochemicals also has a part to play. The fruit is also a good source of Vitamin E, carotenoids and phenolics.
The Kiwifruit can help prevent heart disease
In a research published in 2004 by the University of Oslo in Norway, it showed that eating 2-3 kiwifruits a day can lower fat in the blood, thins the blood, and reduce clotting (or the risk of potentially fatal clots).
This thinning effect to the blood is compared to what aspirin does. Lead researcher Professor Asim Duttaroy even said that it is the polyphenolic compounds in the fruit that posses anti-clotting properties. It may not be a replacement for aspirin, but consuming it can improve cardiovascular risk profiles in adults. This means that it also lessens one of the common killers in America, which is stroke.
Improves the skin
This very action by the kiwifruit can be attributed to its very potent antioxidant action. It prevents the damage caused by pollution, chemicals, or the sun to the skin. The fruit’s vitamin C component is important to the health and strength of our collagen layer that keeps the skin tight. So if you get healthy amounts of the fruit everyday, you are a step closer to smoothening out your wrinkles and improving your overall skin texture.
A research done by psychologists at the University of St. Andrews showed that eating three daily portions of kiwis can improve skin tone. Based on a photo documentary that was done on men and women in the study to analyze their skin tone, they found that a daily increased consumption of fruits and veggies aids in deepening the natural red and yellow color of the skin giving the person a healthier glow.
Improves lung function
There are reports which showed that daily consumption of fruits that are rich in Vitamin C, like kiwis, improve respiratory problems in children. The intake of these citrus fruits provided a protective factor against wheezing in children who underwent the study.
Promotes better sleep
Based on a study that was conducted in Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University, it showed that eating kiwi daily can improve the quantity and quality of sleep. Other significant findings showed that the study participants were able to fall asleep more quickly, slept more soundly, had better sleep quality, and the total amount of time that is spent actually sleeping has also improved.
It is the high antioxidant levels and serotonin component of the kiwifruit that is believed to have caused this action. Poor sleep causes a marked decrease in antioxidant levels, while recovery sleep can also help in restoring it. Serotonin, on the other hand, is a neurotransmitter that is critical in initiating sleep, maintaining it, and the progress of sleep from one stage to the next.
The kiwifruit is also known to improve bowel function, especially in patients who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation. Based on a study that was done by Chang et. al., the results showed that after consuming the fruit for four weeks, there was better colon transit time, increased frequency in defecation, and an improvement in the bowel function of those affected by IBS with constipation. This relieves that bloated feeling, in which the researchers even states that “the kiwifruit is a safe and effective dietary intervention for facilitating laxation.” There are also many other studies that support this claim. This action is due to the high dietary fiber content, the enzymatic action of thiol-proteases that improves colonic motility, and the action of a substance called actinidin.
If being able to pass stool regularly is a big problem, two to three kiwifruits a day can help, or you could look into reliable dietary supplements where kiwi is also an active ingredient.