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The fuzzy fruit

April 4, 2017
By M. Shirazi

Want to know the benefits of kiwifruit? Read on to find out...

health

Want to know the benefits of kiwifruit? Read on to find out...

The vibrant green slices of kiwi specked with little black seeds have always worked wonders in sprucing up desserts and fruit bowls. The fact is that kiwi or kiwifruit is no ordinary fruit, both in terms of the way it looks as well as its nutritional content. Also known as the Chinese gooseberry, this fruit has a refreshing flavour and is placed under the category of exotic fruits. Kiwi is jam-packed with a variety of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and magnesium. This powerful antioxidant fruit is heart-healthy, thanks to the high levels of potassium. Kiwi has amazing health benefits as it contains phytonutrients and a fantastic line-up of vitamins and minerals. Read on to find out more...

Antioxidant overload:

One reason kiwifruit is undeniably a super food is because it’s rich in antioxidants that fight free radical damage. If you thought that lemons and oranges were the highest sources of Vitamin C, think again! According to the nutritional break-up of kiwi fruit, 100 grams contain 154 per cent of Vitamin C, which is almost twice that of lemons and oranges. Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant, eliminating free radicals that could cause inflammation or cancer. It also helps in boosting the immunity of the body against harmful pathogens. Also, kiwi’s vitamin E content is fat-free and a strong component in lowering cholesterol.

For a good night’s sleep:

Having trouble sleeping? Fret no more... Numerous studies show that kiwi contains many medicinally useful compounds, among which serotonin may be beneficial in the treatment of sleep disorders. The serotonin in kiwifruit has been shown to increase sleep time and sleep efficiency by 13 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively. Having two kiwis an hour before bedtime can help in inducing sleep. Serotonin also boosts memory and mood and can even help with depression.

Shed those extra pounds:

The fruit is low in calories, making it a nutritious fruit choice for people trying to lose weight. Kiwi’s low glycemic index and high fibre content means it will not create a strong insulin rush like other fruit with high sugar contents - so the body will not respond by storing fat. Remember, kiwis don’t actually burn fat, but they can help fill you up without a lot of calories, which may make it easier for you to lose weight. A single kiwi fruit has just 42 calories, and you can eat a whole cup of kiwi fruit for 110 calories. Due to its low glycemic index it is a perfect fruit for diabetics.

Counteracts ageing:

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and the building block that maintains the skin, muscles, bones and tendons. It breaks down as we age and is dependent on vitamin C, which we know kiwifruit has plenty of. A research shows that the polysaccharides in kiwifruit are able to double collagen synthesis in the body. Kiwi also contains lutein, which is incredibly beneficial to skin health and protects the skin from UV light.

Indigestion no more:

Kiwi contains an enzyme known as actinidain which is known for its protein dissolving properties, similar to that of papain in papaya. This is the reason why it is commonly used as a meat tenderiser. A number of studies have shown that kiwi helps reduce complications related to irritable bowel syndrome as well as inflammatory bowel disease. It also helps in the digestion of proteins in the body.

Good for the eyes:

Lutein, found in kiwis, not only protects the skin, but is also a powerful phytochemical that can prevent many diseases of the eye, including age-related macular degeneration. A study shows that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day decreased macular degeneration by 36 per cent. Lutein protects the eye by filtering out damaging short-wavelength UV light. Along with lutein, kiwifruit has a great supply of another carotenoid, vitamin A, which is also largely beneficial to optimum eye health.

For a healthy heart:

One kiwi a day can provide a lower risk of stroke, blood clots and cardiovascular diseases. The potassium in kiwifruit helps lower blood pressure, counteract sodium in the body and is a vasodilator (relaxing the blood vessels throughout the body). The fibre found in kiwi is also very heart-healthy, along with vitamin K, which prevents the build-up of calcium in the arteries and therefore reduces the risk of heart attacks. Kiwifruit is also a great source of omega-3s, magnesium, vitamin E and copper, all of which help keep the cardiovascular system working properly.

Stronger bones:

Studies suggest that diets high in vitamin K can improve bone health and reduce the risk of bone-related diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis.

Fun Facts

  • Kiwi fruit was named after the New Zealand Kiwi bird - an unusual flightless bird -because they are both small, brown and furry.
  • The most popular species of kiwifruit has fuzzy skin, but there is also golden kiwi with a smooth bronze skin. The golden kiwi is actually sweeter and more aromatic in flavour.
  • 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.
  • Kiwis are mostly grown in Italy, New Zealand and Chile.
  • And the most interesting fact is that you can eat the fuzzy skin if you want to.