The surprising health benefits of kiwi
Posted on June 28 2019
Originally known as the Chinese gooseberry, this somewhat unexpected superfood has an abundance of surprising health benefits. Plus, it’s versatile too, making it much more than just a tropical addition to a fruit salad or smoothie bowl. Here’s just a few of the ways in which it can benefit your health.
1) It’s a powerful antioxidant
No wonder kiwi is classed as a superfood. It’s packed full of antioxidants to help fight free radical damage.1 Its vitamin C content is through the roof, packing an impressive three times that of an orange. This means the kiwi works wonderfully well in boosting your immunity and protecting your body from oxidative stress. In addition to plenty of vitamin C, kiwi contains a high level of vitamin E, which is a strong component in lowering cholesterol and fighting free radicals.
2) It’s loaded with fibre
The average kiwi contains just over 2 grams of fibre. The green part of the fruit offers up soluble fibre, whereas the seeds and skin (yes, you can eat it!) are a source of insoluble fibre. It might not look too appetizing, but the skin of a kiwi is completely edible and contains plenty of goodness. Eating the skin actually increases the amount of fibre you get out of a kiwi by up to 50%, and it gives you an extra boost of antioxidants, too.2 If you’re put off by the texture, washing and then rubbing it with a towel can help remove the fuzz. Or you can just blend the whole thing into a smoothie!
Insoluble fibre from the skin of kiwifruit doesn’t dissolve in water, so is great for your gut because it adds bulk to your diet and keeps you regular. Kiwi has even been proven helpful in treating bowel and digestive issues, such as IBS, due to the anti-inflammatory effect is has.3 Another major contributing factor to kiwi’s digestion properties is actinidin, which is known for improving digestion of proteins and also helps smooth movement through your digestive system.
3) It supports cardiovascular health
Kiwifruit is rich in protective polyphenols, which alongside all the vitamins in this nutritious fruit, help maintain cardiovascular health. Kiwis are also full of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, counteract sodium and works as a vasodilator, relaxing the blood vessels throughout your body. We’ve already touched on the great amount of fibre found in kiwifruit, but this doesn’t just help your digestion. A diet high in fibre can reduce high cholesterol levels, which in turn can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
4) It promotes a good night’s sleep
A recent study examined the effects of eating kiwi on sleep over a month. It found that both the quantity of sleep and quality of sleep in the participants was improved substantially simply by eating kiwi every day.4 Although more research is needed to understand exactly why kiwi positively impacts sleep, if you’re after an easy fix, try snacking on kiwifruit an hour or so before bed. It might just help you on your way to a better night’s sleep.
What to remember
The kiwi is chock full of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, C, E and K along with potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium all contribute to the proper functioning of your body, and are all found in this small green fruit. If you’re after a way to boost your nutrient intake, a kiwi a day could be a great addition to your diet.
1 Haruyo Iwasawa, Erika Morita, Satoru Yui, Masatoshi Yamazaki. (2011). Anti-oxidant Effects of Kiwi Fruit in Vitro and in Vivo, Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, Volume 34, Issue 1, 128-134.
2 Richardson, D. P., Ansell, J., & Drummond, L. N. (2018). The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: a review. European journal of nutrition, 57(8), 2659–2676.
3 Chang CC, Lin YT, Lu YT, Liu YS, Liu JF. (2010). Kiwifruit improves bowel function in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 19(4):451-7.
4 Lin HH, Tsai PS, Fang SC, Liu JF. (2011). Effect of kiwifruit consumption on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 20 (2):169-174.