The kiwi fruit, fuzzy on the outside and bright green and sweet on the inside, is known for being extremely high in vitamin C. However did you know that kiwis are incredibly nutritious and packed with health benefits?
This fruit originated in China. When it was first exported from China, the Europeans called it the Chinese Gooseberry. The fruit trees were introduced to New Zealand at the turn of the 20th century and cultivated there. As the fruit began to be exported from New Zealand the name was changed to kiwi, after the the kiwi bird which is also small, brown and fuzzy.
Kiwi grows on a shrubby tree that reaches a height of 30 feet. Italy is the top producer of the fruit, followed by New Zealand.
High in vitamins C, E and K, kiwi also supplies potassium, copper, folate, protein and fiber.
Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi
Kiwis are an excellent source of nourishment and nutrients and provide the following health benefits:
- High antioxidant food that fights free radical damage and helps to repair and maintain body tissues and systems. They are rich in polyphenols, which stimulate the immune system. The tiny seeds also possess strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Regulates blood sugar while lowering fat in the bloodstream. Kiwi’s high quality glucose is bioavailable and feeds the neurons in the brain.
- Aids digestion and serves as a treatment for bowel and digestive disorders. Kiwi’s amino acids raise hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach, providing relief for acid reflux, Barrett’s esophagus, gas, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome and bloating.
- One kiwi a day can lower the risk of stroke, blood clots and cardiovascular disease. The potassium in kiwi helps lower blood pressure, counteracts sodium and relaxes blood vessels throughout the body.
- The kiwi tree has been used as a medicinal plant in China for many years, treating ailments such as joint pain, bladder stones, and cancers of the liver and esophagus. Both the fruit and roots inhibit liver, lung and colon cancer cell growth.
- Kiwi contains serotonin, increasing sleep time and quality. Serotonin may also boost memory and mood and help with depression.
- Improves skin and respiratory health, and also prevents degenerative eye diseases. Kiwi contains an antioxidant called lutein that offers protection for these systems and the eyes, and helps to slow the effects of aging on the body.
How to Use Kiwi
Kiwi is readily available in the produce section at the grocery store or in the frozen foods section. Although the skin can be eaten, just like a peach skin, most people peel the fruit first.
The easiest way to peel a kiwi is to cut off each end, loosen the skin with a spoon and slide out the fruit. Enjoy kiwi raw in salads, smoothies, desserts and fruit bowls. Because kiwi has a tenderizing effect on other foods, add it last to salads and fruit bowls.
Kiwis can also be enjoyed by simply slicing one in two and scooping out the fruit. For the adventurous, wash the skin and experience eating kiwi like a peach. I have not tried this although I’ve seen others bite right into an unpeeled fruit. I’m willing to go for it, the next time I purchase this health boosting fruit!