What is Kiwi?
Known in ancient China as Yang Tao, the kiwifruit earned its way in that culture not just for its flavor, but also its medicinal properties, which science has today substantiated in numerous areas. Introduced by missionaries in New Zealand in the early 20th century, then in the US in the late 1960’s, kiwifruit was first called “Chinese gooseberry,” although it’s doubtful that this moniker ever really stuck.
Luckily, kiwifruit got its new name – in honor of New Zealand’s native bird – from an enterprising food distributor, and its subsequent cultivation flew around the globe. Today, Italy, Chile, France, Japan, and the US are the highest producers of two varieties: green and gold. Kiwifruit is not only a scrumptious food, but is also used for its ability to tenderize meats, due to the compound actinidin.
Kiwifruit is a surprising little fruit, and is unlike any other. First, it’s small and light brown in color with a fuzzy skin surface. Inside, the fruit is not only lime green and studded with tiny black seeds in an oval pattern when sliced, but it’s also delicious, rather like the flavor of a strawberry. Peeled, sliced, and chilled, kiwifruit is an excellent addition to any fruit salad combination or by itself.
Kiwi fruit has many nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, and potassium. They also have a lot of antioxidants and are a good source of fiber. They have many health benefits which includes prevention against cancer, aids in digestion, improves heart health among others.
History Of Kiwi
Kiwifruit is native to north-central and eastern China. The first recorded description of the kiwifruit dates back to the 12th century China during the Song dynasty. As it was usually collected from the wild and consumed for medicinal purposes the plant was rarely cultivated or bred. Cultivation of the fuzzy kiwifruit spread from China in the early 20th century to New Zealand, where the first commercial plantings occurred. In New Zealand the fruit was developed into an agricultural commodity through the development of commercially viable cultivars, agricultural practices, shipping, storage and marketing. The fruit became popular with British and American servicemen stationed in New Zealand during World War II and later exported first to Great Britain and then to California. From New Zealand the commercial production of the fruit spread to other modern production centers in the 70s and 80s and back to China in the 90s. Kiwifruit is a national fruit of China. There are now major production centers in all quadrants of the globe.
Nutritional Value Of Kiwi
Kiwi is an excellent source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Other vitamins including vitamin A, folate, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and vitamin K (phylloquinone) are also present in good amounts. The mineral wealth of kiwi includes a tremendous quantity of potassium along with other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. All these vital nutrients in the fruit come with an added bonus of dietary fiber. A 100 gram serving of kiwifruit has around 61 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates. Thus, a small kiwi fruit stores a treasure of nutritional surprises.
|Calories from Fat||4|
|Total Fat||1 g||1%|
|Saturated Fat||0 g||1%|
|Total Carbohydrates||15 g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber||3 g||12%|
|Vitamin A2%||Vitamin C||155%|
Amount per 100grams
- Calories 61
- Sodium 3 mg
- Potassium 312 mg – 8% RDA
- Carbohydrate 15 g – 5% RDA
- Dietary fiber 3 g – 12% RDA
- Sugar 9 g
- Protein 1.1 g – 2% RDA
- Vitamin A – 1% RDA
- Vitamin C – 154% RDA
- Calcium – 3% RDA
- Iron – 1% RDA
- Vitamin B-6 – 5% RDA
- Magnesium – 4% RDA
Improves Iron Absorption
Kiwi is a rich source of vitamin C and other phytochemicals such as lutein and zeaxanthin help prevent iron deficiency disorders. A comparative study performed between kiwi and banana has revealed that consumption of kiwi along with an iron-rich breakfast cereal results in significant increase in iron in the body as compared to banana.
High Source of Vitamin C
If you thought that lemons and oranges were the highest sources of Vitamin C, then think again! According to the nutritional break-up of kiwi fruit, per 100 grams contain 154 percentage of Vitamin C, which is almost twice that of lemons and oranges. Vitamin C acts as powerful antioxidant, eliminating free radicals that could cause inflammation or cancer. It also helps in boosting the immunity of the body against harmful pathogens.
Good Source of Dietary Fiber
This exotic fruit is loaded with dietary fiber, which helps in the prevention of numerous diseases. According to a study done by the University of Leeds, “Increasing consumption of fibre-rich foods can lower risks of both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD).” According to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, high fiber foods keep one full for longer and control metabolic markers like blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. It also facilities weight loss and is often recommended to diabetics.
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Powerhouse of Vitamins and Minerals
Kiwi fruit is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. These contribute collectively to the proper functioning of the body such as blood circulation through the vessels, fight stress, iron absorption for healthy bones and teeth, good vision, etc. The high levels of potassium, 312 mg per 100 grams, help in maintaining blood pressure whereas magnesium helps in the nerve and muscle functions.
Health Benefits of Kiwi Fruit
What fruit provides 273% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in every one-cup serving – five times that of an orange, and is a natural immune booster that staves off colds and flu? It’s kiwifruit, of course! Its vitamin K amount is impressive, too – best known for its role in helping blood clot, or coagulation, properly and providing an 89% daily value.
Kiwifruits contain good amounts of vitamin A (great for skin, bone, and tooth development, and protected vision, including protection against macular degeneration), and vitamin E (twice the amount found in avocados, with nearly half the calories), along with potassium to balance the body’s electrolytes and limiting hypertension and high blood pressure. The copper in kiwifruit is especially good for children, supporting healthy development in infants, especially in the areas of bone growth and brain development, and also for the formation of healthy red blood cells and building immunity against disease.
Kiwifruit is also one of the few foods rich in vitamin B6, which supports the immune system. B6 is particularly important for healthy fetuses and pregnant or breastfeeding women. The folate in kiwifruit protects against birth defects, heart disease, and cancer; healthy amounts of fiber keep the system running smoothly, reducing the risk of diverticulitis and carcinogens in the body. Finally, the antioxidant power in kiwifruits delivers similar effects when it comes to neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells and cause inflammation and cancer.
1. Improves Heart Health
Kiwifruit is rich in protective polyphenols along with vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium which are effective in the maintenance of cardiovascular health.
An investigative study revealed that this fruit exerts inhibitory activities which aid in the reduction of triglycerides in the blood. According to the study, consumption of a couple of kiwis on a daily basis helps in reducing the platelet aggression response or the risk of blood clotting. This fibrinolytic effect of the fruit on your blood vessels prevents the risk of thromboembolic and cardiac disorders like atherosclerosis.
2. Induces Better Sleep
Kiwi fruit has serotonin which helps promote better sleep. An investigative study conducted in this regard has shown that consumption of kiwi helps in improving sleep quality. It may also help in improving the sleep onset and in reducing waking time after the onset, hence providing relief from any sleep disturbances. This fruit contains flavonoids such as naringenin, quercetin, rutin, catechin, and epicatechin, which modulate the sleep-inducing receptors and are considered an effectual plant-based sedative agent. Attributing to this, the peel of kiwi is a potent ingredient for the development of natural sleeping aids.
3. Aids in digestion
Kiwi fruit is packed with fiber which promotes digestion and maintains intestinal health. It helps in providing relief from constipation by stimulating the bowel system. A study conducted on kiwi revealed that is rich in proteolytic enzyme actinidin, which improves the digestion of proteins.
Polysaccharides present in the fruit help in averting the adhesion of enteropathogens and stimulating the probiotic bacteria in the colon. Kiwi extracts promote the growth of lactic acid, inhibit the development of Escherichia Coli bacteria, and aid in sustaining digestive health.
4. Skin Care
Kiwi fruits contains itamin C, which helps keep the skin firm and expedite healing of cuts and abrasions. Vitamin E in kiwi assists in reducing the fine lines and appearance of wrinkles. It also helps in reducing the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation on the skin, while the antioxidants present in this fruit work as a perfect anti-aging agent and prevent the skin from early degeneration, and keep it rejuvenated.
5. Prevents Cancer
Kiwi fruit has antioxidants, carotenoids, vitamins, and fiber helps in the prevention or healing of cancers. They inhibit the proliferation of cancerous cells and protect endogenous DNA damage. The fruit works against cancer by being cytotoxic to malignant cancer cells without affecting the normal, healthy cells. Catechin , a phytochemical present in kiwi helps in reducing the toxicity of anti-cancer agents by stimulating the bone marrow proliferation.
6. Boosts Immunity
Kiwi fruit has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties which helps fight infections and ailments. Extracts from kiwi have shown to exert bacteriostatic action against various pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus pyogenes. Kiwi fruit helps in reducing the symptoms of cold and flu and other upper respiratory tract infections. It also exerts anti-inflammatory effects and exhibits the activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
7. Controls Diabetes
Kiwi has a low glycemic index (GI) which makes it suitable for individuals with diabetes. A study conducted on kiwi extracts demonstrated that consumption of this fruit helps in regulation of adipogenesis which is critical for the prevention of diabetes. Dysfunction of adipose tissues in the body is strongly implicated in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.
8. Improves Iron Absorption
Kiwi fruit has Vitamin C and other phytochemicals such as lutein and zeaxanthin which helps in the absorption of iron in the body.
9. Treats Macular Degeneration
Kiwi fruit contains phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin which is a component of the eye. Together with Vitamin A they protect the eyes from cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and other vision-destroying disorders.
10. Blood Pressure Management
The high level of potassium in kiwis plays an important role in body cells by maintaining the balance of body fluids and electrolytes. It controls heart rate and blood pressure by countering the effects of sodium.
11. Treatment of Male Impotency
Kiwifruit contains the amino acid arginine which is a well-known vasodilator and has been used to treat impotency in men. It is also a good source of zinc which helps to enhance testosterone in men.
12. Facilitates Weight Loss
Kiwi fruit has low glycemic index and high fiber content which helps prevent a strong insulin rush. This prevents the storage of fat, thus making this fruit beneficial for weight loss.
13. Beneficial in Pregnancy
Kiwifruit is a rich source of folic acid which is vital for a healthy pregnancy and baby, and prevention of birth defects. The amount of folate contained in kiwifruit is equal to that of four peaches. Folate plays an important role in the development of blood cells for the baby in the womb.
14. Hair Health
Kiwi fruit is a rich source of Vitamin C which plays an important role in the creation of collagen which circumvents the hair from splitting and breaking. Kiwi fruit extract and oil are rich in several vitamins and nutrients that help in maintaining hair health. Their topical application can treat hair problems like dandruff, and rough and dry hair.
15. Treats Asthma
Due to the great antioxidant and vitamin C content in kiwi fruit, it is known to treat asthma. It improves lung function and also prevents wheezing among children.
16. Antioxidant & Vitamin C Rich
Kiwi offers an impressive amount of vitamin C, phenolic components, and carotenoids which promote good health. A comparative study involving kiwi, oranges, and grapefruit revealed that kiwi fruit contains stronger antioxidant qualities as compared to the latter. Attributing to the presence of nourishing phytochemicals, it has an ability to protect the DNA present in the body cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, thereby reducing the risk of inflammations and diseases.
17. Reduces Blood Clotting
According to the study, consumption of a few kiwis on a daily basis helps in reducing the platelet aggression response or the risk of blood clotting. This fibrinolytic effect of the fruit on your blood vessels prevents the risk of thromboembolic and cardiac disorders like atherosclerosis.
18. Promotes Vision
Kiwi, being a rich source of phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin, is suitable for eye care. These helpful components along with vitamin A protect the eyes from cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and other vision-destroying disorders.
19. Weight Loss
With a 100 gram serving of kiwis containing only 55 calories, they become a great food for weight loss. Its distinct taste also comes with soluble fiber which promotes satiety and hence reduces the hunger pangs.
Treats Cystic Fibrosis
Kiwifruit contains kissper, a cysteine-rich peptide, which may prove valuable in the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
Kiwi is used in the preparation of anti-microbial products to reduce the development of resistance towards the conventional medications for fungal and bacterial infectivity.
21. Treats Arthritis
Attributing to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is also valuable in treating rheumatoid arthritis. Include this fruit in your diet to bring a nutritionally dramatic flair to your health.
22. Improves Alkaline Balance
The presence of rich minerals in kiwi helps in neutralizing acidity in the stomach, thereby reducing the discomfort and nausea caused by it.
23. Helps Clean Out Toxins
The fuzzy fiber of kiwi helps bind and move toxins from your intestinal tract.
How to Select & Store Kiwi
- Pick up kiwis which are soft and firm and avoid those with bruises or damp spots. Ripe kiwi would yield to a gentle pressure.
- They can be ripened by keeping at room temperature away from heat or sunlight for a couple of days or by placing them with an apple or banana in a paper bag to speed up the ripening.
- Ripe kiwi can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
Incorporating kiwi fruit into your diet
Here are some handy tips to incorporate more kiwifruit into your diet:
- Cut a ripe kiwi in half, leaving the skin on, and eat each half with a spoon, using the skin as its own natural bowl.
- Make your own fresh tropical fruit cocktail and include kiwis, pineapple, mango, and strawberries.
- Drizzle a small amount of honey on top of the fruit mixture for an extra sweet treat.
- Make a green smoothie or juice with kiwi, spinach, apple, and pears.
- Freeze slices of kiwi and eat them as a snack or dessert on a hot day.
- Dice up kiwi and use as a summer salad topper over a bed of spinach, walnuts, dried cranberries, diced apple, feta cheese, and a light vinaigrette dressing.
How to Serve Kiwi?
Kiwifruit can be eaten in a number of ways, as mentioned below.
- Fruit salad: Owing to its characteristic looks and refreshing taste, kiwifruit can bring an amazing tropical style to your fruit salad dish.
- Bakery products: Nutrient-dense kiwi can be used as a functional ingredient to prepare bakery products with an enhanced health factor.
It contains a tenderizing enzyme papain which is useful in breaking down the fibrous tissues of tough meats. However, for this same reason, kiwi does not go well with gelatin-based products. Papain enzyme is also known to have a curdling effect on milk. In case, you intend to use kiwi in any dairy or gelatin based products, cook it for a while to neutralize the enzymes.
How To Eat Kiwi
Interesting Facts About Kiwifruit
- Kiwi fruit was named after the New Zealand Kiwi bird—an unusual flightless bird—because they are both small, brown and furry.
- Not all kiwi fruit is fuzzy! The most popular species of kiwifruit is appropriately called fuzzy kiwifruit, but there is also golden kiwi with a smooth bronze skin. The golden kiwi is actually sweeter and more aromatic in flavor.
- Although kiwis have been native to China for centuries, practically no one in North America knew what they were 60 years ago. They were first introduced to the U.S. in 1962. They caught on fast!
- Although kiwifruit can grow in any temperate climate, most of the world’s kiwi are grown in Italy, New Zealand and Chile.
- YES, you can eat the fuzz if you want.
How to Use Kiwi
- If a kiwi does not yield a bit to finger pressure, allow it to ripe by storing it at room temperature away from the sun.
- Kiwi ripening can be hastened by putting it in a paper bag with a banana, apple or pear.
- Once a kiwi fruit is ripe, keep it away from other fruit (even in the refrigerator) since the kiwi is very sensitive to the ethylene gas given off by those other fruits and it will over ripen.
- The actinidain in raw kiwi makes them unsuitable for desserts and other dishes that are not eaten right away because it can make the dish too mushy or stop it from setting. This applies to proteins but also to other fruits.
Using Kiwi as an Ingredient
If you are looking for interesting ways to include kiwi fruit in your diet, here are some simple recipes to help you get started –
1. Melon and Kiwi Fruit Smoothie
Vicky Ratnani blends away a power shake with kiwi fruits, melon, honey, milk and oats. Now that’s a lovely combination.
2. Tangy Prawns with Kiwi SaladPrawns mixed together with nuts, kiwi, herbs and dressing, and served with mushroom. A simple and delicious treat.
Ingredients Of Tangy Prawns With Kiwi Salad
- 2 oranges- segmented
- 250 gm cooked prawns
- 1 kiwi -peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsp chopped nuts
- 4 tbsp chopped herbs
- 2 tbsp curd
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- 1 tbsp oil
- salt and pepper
- Mushroom Rolls
- 4 sliced bread – crusts removed
- 1 tbsp softened butter
- 1/4 tsp lemon rind
- 1 tsp chopped herbs
- pepper 2 tbsp
- finely chopped mushrooms – fried
How to Make Tangy Prawns with Kiwi Salad
- Combine orange segments with prawns, kiwi, nuts and herbs. Season.
- Whisk together dressing ingredients.
- Mix with prawns and fruit. Chill.
- Flatten bread slices with a rolling pin.
- Beat the butter, rind, herbs and pepper together.
- Spread over the mushrooms.
- Roll up the bread.
- Chill well before serving
3. Kiwi Pavlova
Pavlova is New Zealand’s national meringue based dessert. Chefs Nikhil and Natasha whip up their version of a pavlova with a pistachio-almond meringue and kiwis.
Ingredients Of Kiwi Pavlova
- 3 egg whites
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup almonds, slivered
- 1/4 cup pistachios, crushed and powdered
- 2 kiwis, cut into rounds
- Whipped cream
- Passion fruit syrup
How to Make Kiwi Pavlova
- Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt till it becomes nice and fluffy.
- Keep whipping till the peaks are formed.
- Once they do add the sugar. Put it in gradually.
- Whit it up again. Taste it add more sugar if required.
- Once it becomes nice and stiff, pour it out gently on a butter paper.
- Spread it evenly. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and pistachios.
- Now separate the layer of meringue separate it delicately into squares before it goes into the oven.
- Now put it in the oven at 80 degrees for 3 hours.
- Once the meringue is ready, it will come out as hardened squares.
- Pour some whipped cream on a plate. Place a meringue square over it. Put some more cream over the meringue.
- Drizzle some passion fruit syrup. This can be made with any juice, any fruit just reduce it with some sugar and water (1:1). Heat the fruit pulp, sugar and water togethar to make a thickish syrup.
- Now top it with the kiwi rounds and finally place another piece of meringue over it.
- Garnish with a little bit of more passion fruit.
Forms and dosages
Kiwis can be eaten as they are or blended into a smoothie. It is best not to cook kiwi so it retains its vitamin C content. It can also be taken as a supplement. Supplements can be in powder, tablet, or capsule form, and are typically made from kiwi extract.
The dosage you take depends on factors like age, health status, and what you’re trying to treat. Eating one to three kiwis a day is enough for most people to get the boost of nutrients from the fruit. A daily dose of some kiwi powders is about 5.5 grams. Follow the instructions on supplements you take, and ask your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen. They’ll be able to tell you how much is safe for you.
What other names is Kiwi known by?
Actinidia chinensis, Actinidia de Chine, China Gooseberry, Chinese Gooseberry, Groseille de Chine, Kiwi Fruit, Souris Végétale, Teng Li Gen.
Negative Effects Of Kiwi
Kiwi Fruit can pose certain side effects including the following:
- Allergic Reactions: The allergic reactions may vary from mild, localized oral allergy to fatal conditions such as anaphylaxis which may be fatal. Studies suggest that the presence of significant allergens in the kiwifruit can cause severe reactions predominantly in young children.
- Oxalates: Kiwi is a source of oxalate raphide crystals. Excessive consumption of oxalate-rich foods like kiwi can pose a threat to the development of calcium oxalate kidney stones in some individuals. It may also interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients including calcium and magnesium in the body.