The kiwifruit (kiwi for short) is a type of berry. It's named after New Zealand's national bird, the kiwi. That's probably because the fuzzy brownish skin of the fruit looks a bit like the small feathered creature. The older name of this amazing fruit is chinese gooseberry and there are several edible varieties. The particular variety shown here also goes by the scientific name actinidia deliciosa and it is indeed delicious.
The skin covers lime green or golden yellow flesh. The core is dotted with small edible black seeds. Kiwifruit is unique in appearance, taste and texture, and on top of that it's one of the healthiest fruit you can eat.
Kiwifruit contains several nutrients and phytochemicals that protect the DNA in the human cells from oxygen-related damage. These include the antioxidant vitamins A , C and E, dietary minerals, chlorophyl, beta-carotene and polyphenols. The unique combination of these substances makes kiwifruit a great ally against inflammation and immune disorders. It can also help with cancer prevention by fighting gene mutation.
Kiwi works as a natural blood thinner. Many people take aspirin to reduce blood clotting, but this may have some negative side effects such as bleeding stomach ulchers or allergic reactions. Eating two kiwis a day has great benefits for your heart. Its little black seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids (32 miligrams in a single fruit) and boost heart function. Since it's a fiber-rich food, it can lower cholesterol levels and balance your blood sugar. As a rich source of potassium, it helps regulate your heart rate and blood pressure.
Fruits full of antioxidants such as kiwi and citrus seem to also help with asthma related symptoms (wheezing, shortness of beath, etc.). This information comes from a study with 6 and 7 year-old childen in northern and central Italy. The children who ate these vitamin C-rich fruits (5-7 servings per week) had fewer respiratory problems. Kiwifruit is a natural immune booster and it can prevent various problems including the very annoying common cold!
Kiwis can prevent macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD). This medical condition causes vision loss and can even lead to blindness due to damage in the retina of the eye. Lutein, one of the phytochemicals in kiwifruit, is found in the retina and is often depleted with age. It is not synthesized in our bodies, so we must replenish it through our diet. Eating some kiwi can help you keep your eyes sharp even as you get older.
They might not look like much, but these funny looking fruit are full of vitamin C, an essential element for skin health. This potent antioxidant fights the damage caused by harmful free radicals and helps the skin repair itself. Vitamin C plays an important part in the production of collagen. This is a powerful protein that helps the skin maintain its elasticity and youthful appearance. What's more, the omega-3 fatty acids found in this amazing fruit are could prevent several skin diseases.
Kiwis are great for light snacking and a very good source of dietary fiber. Fiber-rich foods help you stay full longer and keep your digestive system healthy. The low glycemic index of kiwifruit helps you keep your blood sugar levels stable. Actinidine, a digestive enzyme found in kiwi, boost your metabolism by breaking down proteins and making them easier for your body to process. By the way, a medium kiwifruit has only 46 calories and 0.4 grams of fat. It is safe to say that this funny little fruit is great for people who want to watch their weight.
Healthy All Around
Kiwifruit is on a list of twelve foods that are least contaminated by pesticides. This list was put together by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofiy research organization, in 2003. You can probably find kiwis all year round and it is best to keep them in room temperature so they can ripen and become sweet and juicy. You can eat them raw and enjoy then in fruit salads, yoghurt or smoothies.
A Final Note of Caution
Although the health benefits of kiwifruit are quite amazing, it is possible to get an allergic reaction to the fruit. This is because it contains actinidin as well as calcium oxalate crystals. These two substances could cause itching and soreness of the mouth.