by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Did you know that kiwi got their name due to their resemblance to New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi? While originally known as Chinese gooseberries, kiwis are now one of the most beloved tropical fruits, with thin, light brown, slightly fuzzy skin on the outside and green, sweet-tart fruit on the inside.
Kiwis are not only a delicious treat but also a nutritional powerhouse, with a 100-gram serving containing only 61 calories. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and other important nutrients that contribute to the health benefits of kiwi.
Whether you’re a kiwi lover or new to this fruit, we’re going to dive deeper into this article and help uncover why a kiwi should be a staple in your diet.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting or changing a nutrition or workout program.
5 Reasons Why Kiwi is a Nutritional Powerhouse
With its numerous health benefits and versatility in the kitchen, kiwi is undoubtedly one of the healthiest foods you can add to your daily diet. From enhancing digestive health to boosting immune function, this fruit is packed with nutrients that support overall well-being.
Below are some of the amazing health benefits of kiwi fruit:
1. Kiwi is packed with plant-based nutrients that can support your health
Kiwi is a fantastic source of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, as well as beneficial plant compounds that possess natural anti-inflammatory properties. Among these compounds are carotenoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, which have been linked to various health benefits.
An extensive review of 69 studies has demonstrated that increasing your intake of carotenoids, as well as vitamins C and E, through your diet can potentially lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and overall mortality. This underscores the importance of consuming foods that are rich in these vital nutrients, such as kiwi, to promote optimal health and well-being.
Consuming a diet rich in carotenoids has been linked to a lower risk of depressive symptoms, as evidenced by a study involving over 17,000 adults. Moreover, kiwi is an excellent source of polyphenol compounds such as caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, which possess anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit both the gut and the body as a whole.
2. Maintains a healthy digestive system
Kiwi is a fruit that is packed with fiber and enzymes, making it an excellent choice for promoting optimal gut health. Kiwi contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which work together to support regularity and help lower cholesterol levels.
Additionally, kiwi fruit is a prebiotic food that provides nourishment for the beneficial bacteria in our gut microbiome, particularly the lactobacilli family. This can help support the growth of healthy gut flora and improve overall digestive function.
Furthermore, kiwis are high in actinidin, an enzyme that aids in the breakdown of proteins, making it an ideal post-meal snack or dessert that can help promote healthy digestion. Consuming two kiwis per day for about four weeks has been shown to improve stool consistency and frequency, reduce straining during bowel movements, and cause fewer adverse side effects compared to other treatments for constipation.
3. Kiwi has sleep-inducing properties
If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night, kiwi fruit may be able to help.
Researchers at Taipei Medical University have found that the fruit contains several beneficial compounds, including antioxidants and serotonin, that may aid in the treatment of sleep disorders. Eating two kiwis about an hour before bed is said to be especially effective in promoting sleep.
4. Kiwi helps to boost immunity
Kiwi fruit boasts an impressive amount of vitamin C, making it a top contender for foods that support immune function.
In addition to promoting tissue growth and repair, vitamin C acts as a potent antioxidant that defends cells against harmful free radicals, a contributing factor in the development of cancer and inflammation. Just 100 grams of kiwi contains a substantial 93mg of vitamin C, a notable amount that can contribute to overall health and well-being.
A four-week study conducted on young men with low vitamin C levels found that consuming two kiwis per day not only increased their vitamin C levels but also enhanced the function of their immune cells, known as neutrophils.
5. Supports heart health
Kiwi fruit can support heart health by increasing HDL cholesterol levels, known as the “good” cholesterol, while decreasing other blood fats and reducing platelet aggregation that may lead to atherosclerosis over time. It may also help manage blood pressure due to its reduction in angiotensin-converting enzyme, and its potassium content further contributes to its heart-healthy properties.
A study conducted on 118 people with high-normal or stage 1 high blood pressure showed that those who consumed three kiwis per day for eight weeks had lower blood pressure than those who consumed one apple per day.