Kiwi is a small fruit rich in vitamin C that can bring many health benefits. It grows in many different countries and for this reason it is always available all year round
The kiwi is the fruit of the homonymous plant originating in China (there are over 400 species). Its scientific name is Actinidia Chinensis. The plant belongs to the Actinidiaceae family.
Kiwi is the name given to him in New Zealand. In fact, this fruit resembles the bird that represents the nation, the kiwi. It is in fact from New Zealand that the intensive cultivation of this fruit originated, which then spread to all other countries.
This fruit is one of the richest foods in vitamin C, it is thought that 200 grams of kiwi provide about 275% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C.
- Chemical Composition
- Immune System
- Macular Degeneration
- Heart Health
- Blood Pressure
- Blood Coagulation
- Iron Absorption
- The Festival
The plant comes in the form of a climbing liana and can exceed 10 meters in height. The most widespread variety is Hayward which represents about 95% of the total crops.
Thanks to the cultivations present in different parts of the world, this fruit is available all year round on the fruit banks.
|Chemical composition per 100 grams of kiwi|
In addition to these components, saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are present.
Amino acids: aspartic acid and glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, cystine, phenylalanine, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, proline, methionine, serine, tyrosine, tryptophan, valine and threonine.
100 grams of pulp have a calorie intake of 61 kcal.
Kiwi: Properties and Benefits
The fruit abounds in nutrients and vitamin C. The latter plays a fundamental role in strengthening the immune system. A study has confirmed that the fruit is capable of boost the immune system and prevent colds and flu. ( 1 )
Vitamin E and polyphenols, whose properties also have beneficial effects on the immune system, also contribute to the antioxidant supply.
One of the reasons that make this product very popular is its abundance of antioxidants that they are able to counteract the harmful effects of free radicals. A Norwegian study has shown that one or two kiwi a day significantly reduce oxidative damage. These benefits are also attributable to the high content of vitamin C which far exceeds that of oranges. ( 2 )
It has a good content of vitamin K, an important compound for bone formation. Studies confirm that a diet rich in vitamin K can improve bone health and prevent diseases such as osteoporosis. ( 3 )
Kiwi Prevents Cataract
Some studies show that the properties of vitamin C are able to protect us from cataracts, the visual disturbance that arises when the lens is opaque. To avoid this effect it would be sufficient to consume a couple of kiwi a day.
A study reported in the Archives of Opthamology suggests that eating 3 servings of fruit a day helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration related to old age. This pathology is the main cause of vision loss in older people.
A study conducted in Spain states that the lutein present in the fruit is a powerful phytochemical compound that can prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration. The researchers claim that lutein is able to filter out harmful UVA light and thus protect the eyes. ( 4 )
According to research, a kiwi a day can reduce the risk of stroke, blood clots and heart disease. Some studies suggest that regular consumption of this fruit reduces blood sugar levels by 15%triglycerides. They are also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, copper, magnesium and potassium which help to keep the cardiovascular system healthy. ( 7, 8 )
The presence of minerals such as iron and magnesium makes kiwi the ideal food for those who want to combat daily stress. The high potassium content is very useful for counteracting the effects sodium and keep your blood pressure under control. Potassium also benefits in cases of depression and general tiredness.
A 2014 study showed that eating 3 kiwi a day lowers blood pressure effectively. ( 9 )
In addition to positively influencing blood pressure, this fruit can also thin the blood. A study conducted at the University of Oslo says that eating 2 or 3 kiwis a day has anti-clotting effects on the blood. In addition to this benefit, it also appears that its intake reduces the percentage of fat in the blood. (10)
Two kiwi a day reduce the clotting potential of the blood by 18% and the triglycerides by 15%. Many people take medicines for this purpose. Medicines, however, often have side effects while kiwi has the same anti-coagulant properties without side effects.
The researchers also claimed that its effects are similar to those of an aspirin for the heart.
Benefits to the Skin
Even the skin benefits from the abundance of vitamin C. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and is the basis of the load-bearing structure of the skin, muscles, bones and tendons. Studies show that over time this protein deteriorates and vitamin C, on which collagen depends, is a good way to limit the damage caused by its deterioration. ( 11 )
A Swiss study has shown that kiwi polysaccharides are able to double the synthesis collagen in the body. The researchers noted that this mechanism also works in old age, that is when the body needs it most. ( 12 )
Thanks to the presence of fiber, the kiwi facilitates the digestive process and can therefore help us in case of constipation. A recent study found that the extract from this fruit contains an enzyme called actinidine. The study found that this compound is capable of improving the digestion of most proteins. ( 13 )
Another 2010 study suggests that this fruit helps reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. According to the researchers, adding the fruit to the diet provides fiber and antioxidants that are able to bring benefits to the digestive system. ( 14, 15 )
It Protects DNA
The oxidative stress caused by free radicals can damage our DNA with health consequences. An American study suggests that kiwi consumption reduces oxidative stress. ( 16 )
The kiwi is a fruit rich in dietary fiber. Researchers have found that a high-fiber diet is a very valuable aid in keeping the blood sugar levels of diabetics in check. The fibers are also useful for removing toxins from the colon and to prevent the tumor.
Eating foods rich in vitamin C can improve protection against respiratory symptoms associated with asthma. A 2000 study confirmed the benefits on breathing in those who regularly consumed fruit. ( 17 )
Another study conducted in New Zealand has come to the same conclusion. ( 18 )
Improve your Sleep
In addition, kiwi contains some flavonoids such as quercetin, naringenin, rutin, catechin and epicatechin which regulate sleep inducing receptors. All these compounds are in fact considered natural sedative agents.
Another very useful property of this iron is the improvement of iron absorption. The abundance of vitamin C and other compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin help improve iron stores in the body.
A 2011 study compared bananas and kiwis with regards to iron absorption. It has been found that kiwi, taken together with an iron-rich breakfast cereal, significantly increases iron in the body more than banana. ( 20 )
Thanks to the presence of folate it is a fruit recommended for pregnant women. This compound in fact prevents defects in the neural tube of the unborn child. It also plays a vital role in brain growth and development.
It has a low glycemic index which makes it suitable to be consumed by diabetic people. A study has shown that the consumption of this fruit helps in the regulation of adipogenesis which is fundamental for the prevention of diabetes. The mal functioning of adipose tissue is in fact linked to the development of insulin resistance and hence of diabetes. ( 21, 22 )
In traditional Chinese medicine, this fruit is considered effective in treating various types of cancer. Its extract is used in the treatment of breast, stomach, liver and lung cancer.
The kiwi extracts inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and protect the DNA from oxidative damage. In fact, it seems that the fruit’s antioxidant compounds have cytotoxic effects on diseased cells without affecting healthy ones.
A Chinese study suggests that both the roots and the fruit of the plant have inhibitory effects on the growth of liver, lung and colon cancer cells. A 2015 study informs us that kiwi polysaccharides and antioxidants can induce death by apoptosis of cancer cells. ( 23, 24 )
Two new varieties of kiwis have recently been introduced on the market: one is the summer kiwi and the other is the pineapple kiwi.
The second variety, as the name implies, has a pineapple-like taste and its pulp is yellow in color.
Anyone interested in buying one or more kiwi plants can do it from this page.
Every year in Pizzale in the province of Pavia, in October, the traditional kiwi festival takes place. During this festival, in addition to the display of typical local products, there is the display, tasting and sale of the best fruits of the area. Not only that, during this event it is also possible to view and buy a discrete variety of “dishes” prepared with this fruit.
The risotto with kiwis is the dish that every year attracts a large amount of visitors curious to taste this original dish cooked by the talented chefs of this area of Oltrepò Pavese.
Although it is a fruit rich in therapeutic properties, it can have side effects such as allergies and kidney stones. This can happen to individuals particularly sensitive to its compounds. In some cases, allergies can even lead to anaphylactic shock and death.
In this area there are several studies that confirm the presence of significant allergens in the fruit.
These allergens can cause significant allergic reactions, particularly in children. ( 25 )
Kiwi contains oxalates, excessive consumption of foods rich in oxalates can promote the formation of kidney stones.
If you have bought too unripe kiwis and want to ripen them quickly follow this procedure. Take the unripe kiwis and close them in a plastic bag together with two apples. Then put the bag in a warm place. The apples closed in the bag release a gas called ethylene which is able to accelerate the ripening of the fruit. Two days the required time.
Those with the best properties organoleptic seem to be the ones from New Zealand that are moreover also the most expensive. It seems, however, that to buy good quality kiwis, they should not cost less than 2 euros per kilogram.
The first news on kiwis dates back to the chronicles of the Chinese Ming dynasty, around 1200 BC, while in Italy the first news about this fruit dates back to 1934.
Its plant has no particular enemies in nature and is rarely attacked by pests. For this reason the fruits that we find on the market are hardly treated with chemicals. Other types of fruit, however, due to the weakness of the plant, is treated with dangerous pesticides.
The classic color of the kiwis that we find on the market is green. There are also varieties that have a yellow or red flesh.
Maybe not Everyone Knows That
It has a low glycemic index of 4 which makes it a suitable food for diabetics.
According to recent studies published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular intake of these fruits is able to improve sleep quality. Even those who suffer from insomnia can benefit from it.
Its juice has cleansing properties and is often used in cosmetics for the preparation of face creams.
In Italy the cultivation of kiwi began to spread in the 70s.
Kiwi: Properties and Benefits
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