Read this guide to learn about the health benefits of kiwi. When added to your diet, this flavorful superfood will protect your body and promote good health.
Kiwi contains a significant amount of fiber and antioxidants, making it a superfood you should be eating regularly. One of the most important characteristics of kiwi is its ability to protect your DNA from damage caused by reactive oxygen species, which form as a result of certain biochemical processes.
Researchers do not know which kiwi compounds give it this protective effect, but some theorize it is the carotenoids and flavonoids found in the skin of the fruit. The vitamin C in kiwi neutralizes free radicals, preventing inflammation and cell damage that can lead to cancer. There are also some known health benefits of kiwi seeds. The seeds contain alpha-linoleic acids and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart and joint health.
What Are the Health Benefits of Kiwi for the Eyes?
It is possible to reduce your risk of future vision problems by eating certain foods. Consuming kiwi and other fruits is especially helpful for reducing your risk of macular degeneration, which usually results in vision loss.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied the effects of fruit consumption on more than 110,000 people over the age of 50. They found an inverse relationship between fruit consumption and age-related macular degeneration, meaning people who ate the most fruit had a lower risk of developing this particular vision problem.
The people who ate three or more servings of fruit each day seemed to have the lowest risk, causing the researchers to conclude fruit consumption may have a protective effect against age-related macular degeneration. Protect your eyes by eating three servings of fruit, including kiwi, each day.
Health Benefits of Kiwi for the Heart
Kiwi also protects the cardiovascular system by reducing your risk of blood clots and lowering the amount of triglycerides in your blood. The fruit has effects similar to those of aspirin, but unlike aspirin, it does not cause gastrointestinal bleeding or inflammation.
Researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway set out to determine the effects of kiwi consumption on cardiovascular health. Volunteers consumed two or three kiwifruit per day for twenty-eight days. Their lab results were compared with those of people who had not eaten kiwifruit daily. The people who ate kiwi every day had a reduced risk of blood clots, and their triglyceride levels were 15 percent lower at the end of the trial than at the beginning.
If you are concerned about your heart health, add kiwi to your morning bowl of cereal or take it to work for a nutritious midday snack.
Kiwi Nutritional Data
Fresh kiwi packs a nutritional punch that’s low in calories. One cup of sliced kiwifruit contains a mere 110 calories, making it a good alternative to sweet, high-calorie treats. A one-cup serving of the fruit also offers:
- 2 grams of protein
- 26.4 grams of carbohydrates
- Less than 1 gram of fat
- 5.4 grams of fiber to aid digestion, for more try brazil nuts
- 3 percent of the daily values of Vitamin A, for more try carrots
- 273 percent of the daily values of Vitamin C
- 6 percent of the daily values of calcium, critical for bone health
- 3 percent of the daily values of iron, for more iron try mulberries
For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015. Kiwi also contains 11.9 percent of the DRI for potassium, which your body needs for your heart and nervous system to function properly. Other nutrients found in kiwifruit include phosphorus, manganese, folate, and vitamin E.
Buying and Storing Kiwi
When it comes to enjoying the health benefits of kiwi, size does not matter. Unlike many other types of fruit, a small kiwi will taste exactly like the fruit of a large kiwi. When shopping for kiwi, select fruit that is firm but has some give when you apply soft pressure. Once kiwi becomes very soft, it must be eaten immediately and will not store well.
If you’re not planning on eating your kiwi right away, select firm fruits and store them in the refrigerator, as the cold will slow down or halt the ripening process. A few days before you are ready to eat the fruit, take it out of the refrigerator and place it on a windowsill to ripen. You can also put it in a slightly vented plastic bag along with an apple or banana if you want to speed up the ripening process.
Kiwi Preparation Tips
Raw kiwi makes a great snack, but there are many more ways to enjoy this delicious fruit.
- Create a low-calorie dessert by topping fresh kiwi with a dollop of fat-free whipped topping.
- Mix kiwi with bananas, coconut oil, blueberries, strawberries, and ice for a delicious and nutritious smoothie. Turn it into a green smoothie by adding spinach, kale, parsley or other leafy greens.
- Make your own jam by blending and cooking kiwi with pineapple juice, apples, lemon juice, and a small amount of sugar.
- Satisfy your salad craving by combining roasted turkey or chicken, spinach, arugula, kiwi, strawberries, and protein-rich cashews. Toss with a light honey-sesame dressing.
- Blend two peeled kiwifruit with two limes in a blender or food processor and add honey to taste for a light and refreshing beverage. Impress your guests by serving it in small cups carved out of watermelon.
Get creative with kiwi. Add a puree of the fruit to vanilla cake mix to make delightful cupcakes for your family, or mash the kiwi and top it with champagne or white wine for a truly refreshing summertime cocktail. There’s very little that you cannot do with this nutritious and flavorful fruit.