By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Kiwi fruit is native to China and is often called ‘Chinese Gooseberries’. They are now grown world-wide in countries with warm climates. Kiwi fruits offer an array of health benefits and are a nutrient-dense fruit. Extensive research over the last decade on the health benefits of kiwi fruit has linked their regular consumption to improvements not only in nutritional status, but also benefits to digestive, immune and metabolic health. There are two varieties of kiwi fruit – green and gold. Gold varieties contain higher levels of potassium and vitamin C, whilst green contain more fibre.
What are some of the main nutrients found in a kiwi fruit?
Kiwi fruit are an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C, and a very good source of fibre. They are also a good source of manganese, potassium, zinc, folate and vitamin E.
What are the health benefits of kiwifruit?
Excellent source of antioxidant vitamin C – immune system support, help fight free radicals and aid in the reduction of inflammation.
Heart disease – the high levels of vitamin C and E along with flavonoids, helps reduce triglycerides in the blood and thus reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. The seeds in the kiwi fruit contain some vitamin C and omega 3.
Digestion –Good level of fibre to aid movement through the gut. Actinidin is a digestive enzyme unique to Kiwi fruit, which aids the digestion of foods after meals and can help to prevent constipation.
Skin health and collagen formation – vitamin C is involved in producing collagen. Kiwi fruit also provides vitamin E, or tocopherol. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E and its ability to help protect the skin from sun damage may help prevent skin disorders.
Needing a good night’s sleep? – Researchers at Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University studied the effects of kiwifruit consumption on sleep. They found that eating kiwi fruit on a daily basis was linked to substantial improvements to both sleep quality and sleep quantity.
In relation to fertility
Kiwi fruit has a low Glycemic Load (GL) and is low in fat. Adopting a healthy lifestyle of eating low G.L carbohydrates, balanced proteins and ‘good’ fat foods has been found to promote fertility in women trying to conceive.
Kiwi fruit are a good source of folate which is important in DNA methylation (a process related to gene expression), supports red blood cell formation and helps regulate homocysteine levels in the blood. Vitamin B9 is an essential nutrient that supports neural tube development during pregnancy. Not having enough vitamin B9 can also affect energy levels and mood.
Vitamin C appears to enhance sperm count, motility and quality. It also seems to help to prevent sperm from clumping (agglutination) and to help to protect the DNA in sperm from free radical damage.
Kiwi fruit contain a good amount of zinc, which is great for men as it aids in the production of testosterone.
In smoothies – kiwi, spinach, apple, and pear
Lovely in fruit salad -kiwi, pineapple, mango, and strawberry chunks.
Add to green salads – spinach, walnuts, dried cranberries, diced apple, feta cheese, and a light vinaigrette dressing.
On their own- make kiwi cups by cutting a ripe kiwi in half, leaving the skin on, and eating each half with a spoon.
With natural yoghurt and honey
Akmal M, Qadri JQ, Al-Waili NS, Thangal S, Haq A, Saloom KY. Improvement in human semen quality after oral supplementation of vitamin C. J Med Food. 2006 Fall;9(3):440-2. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2006.9.440. PMID: 17004914.
Lin HH, Tsai PS, Fang SC, Liu JF. Effect of kiwifruit consumption on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2011;20(2):169-74. PMID: 21669584.