Saturday, October 12, 2013

Kiwifruit Health Benefits

Packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange, the bright green flesh of the kiwifruit speckled with tiny black seeds adds a dramatic tropical flair to any fruit salad. California kiwifruit is available November through May, while the New Zealand crop hits the market June through October making fresh kiwis available year round.
The kiwifruit is a small fruit approximately 3 inches long and weighing about four ounces. Its green flesh is almost creamy in consistency with an invigorating taste reminiscent of strawberries, melons and bananas, yet with its own unique sweet flavor.
Nutrients in
1.00 each (74.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

 vitamin C120%



Calories (45)2%

This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Kiwifruit provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Kiwifruit can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Kiwifruit, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

Health Benefits

Kiwifruit can offer a great deal more than an exotic tropical flair in your fruit salad. These emerald delights contain numerous phytonutrients as well as well known vitamins and minerals that promote your health.

Kiwi's Phytonutrients Protect DNA

In the world of phytonutrient research, kiwifruit has fascinated researchers for its ability to protect DNA in the nucleus of human cells from oxygen-related damage. Researchers are not yet certain which compounds in kiwi give it this protective antioxidant capacity, but they are sure that this healing property is not limited to those nutrients most commonly associated with kiwifruit, including its vitamin C or beta-carotene content. Since kiwi contains a variety of flavonoids and carotenoids that have demonstrated antioxidant activity, these phytonutrients in kiwi may be responsible for this DNA protection.
The protective properties of kiwi have been demonstrated in a study with 6- and 7-year-old children in northern and central Italy. The more kiwi or citrus fruit these children consumed, the less likely they were to have respiratory-related health problems including wheezing, shortness of breath, or night coughing. These same antioxidant protective properties may have been involved in providing protection for these children.

Premier Antioxidant Protection

Kiwifruit emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of vitamin C. This nutrient is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, neutralizing free radicals that can cause damage to cells and lead to problems such as inflammation and cancer. In fact, adequate intake of vitamin C has been shown to be helpful in reducing the severity of conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma, and for preventing conditions such as colon cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetic heart disease. And since vitamin C is necessary for the healthy function of the immune system, it may be useful for preventing recurrent ear infections in people who suffer from them. Owing to the multitude of vitamin C's health benefits, it is not surprising that research has shown that consumption of vegetables and fruits high in this nutrient is associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Fiber for Blood Sugar Control Plus Cardiovascular and Colon Health

Our food ranking system also qualified kiwifruit as a very good source of dietary fiber. The fiber in kiwifruit has also been shown to be useful for a number of conditions. Researchers have found that diets that contain plenty of fiber can reduce high cholesterol levels, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Fiber is also good for binding and removing toxins from the colon, which is helpful for preventing colon cancer. In addition, fiber-rich foods, like kiwifruit, are good for keeping the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients under control.
Kiwifruit also passed our food ranking test as a good source of the mineral potassium.

Protection against Asthma

Eating vitamin C-rich fruit such as kiwi may confer a significant protective effect against respiratory symptoms associated with asthma such as wheezing.
A study published in Thorax that followed over 18,000 children aged 6-7 years living in Central and Northern Italy found that those eating the most citrus and kiwifruit (5-7 servings per week) had 44% less incidence of wheezing compared to children eating the least (less than once a week). Shortness of breath was reduced by 32%, severe wheeze by 41%, night time cough by 27%, chronic cough by 25%, and runny nose by 28%.
Children who had asthma when the study began appeared to benefit the most, and protective effects were evident even among children who ate fruit only once or twice a week.

Protection against Macular Degeneration

Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Opthamology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.
In this study, which involved over 110,000 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants' consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. Food intake information was collected periodically for up to 18 years for women and 12 years for men. While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARM, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease. Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but kiwifruit can help you reach this goal. Slice kiwi over your morning cereal, lunch time yogurt or green salads. For a more elegant meal, decorate any fish dish or fruit salad with kiwi slices.

A Delicious Way to Enjoy Cardiovascular Health

Enjoying just a couple of kiwifruit each day may significantly lower your risk for blood clots and reduce the amount of fats (triglycerides) in your blood, therefore helping to protect cardiovascular health.
Unlike aspirin, which also helps to reduce blood clotting but has side effects such as inflammation and bleeding in the intestinal tract, the effects of regular kiwi consumption are all beneficial. Kiwifruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, and polyphenols, and a good source of potassium, all of which may function individually or in concert to protect the blood vessels and heart. In one study, human volunteers who ate 2 to 3 kiwifruit per day for 28 days reduced their platelet aggregation response (potential for blood clot formation) by 18% compared to controls eating no kiwi. In addition, kiwi eaters' triglycerides (blood fats) dropped by 15% compared to controls.

Description of Kiwifruit

The kiwifruit is a little fruit holding great surprises. The most common species of kiwifruit is Actinidia deliciosa, commonly known as Hayward kiwi. Inside of this small, oval-shaped fruit featuring brown fuzzy skin resides a brilliant, semi-translucent emerald green flesh speckled with a few concentrically arranged white veins and small black seeds. Its flesh is almost creamy in consistency with an invigorating taste reminiscent of a mixture of strawberries and bananas, yet with its own unique sweet flavor.
With the growing interest in kiwifruit, other species are now becoming more widely available. These include the hardy kiwi and the silvervine kiwi, two smooth-skinned varieties that are the size of cherries and whose flesh has a golden yellow-green hue.

Historical Background

The kiwifruit is a fruit with a very interesting history and whose recent rise in popularity reflects a combination of an appreciation for its taste, nutritional value, unique appearance and, surprisingly, its changing name.
Native to China, kiwifruits were originally known as Yang Tao. They were brought to New Zealand from China by missionaries in the early 20th century with the first commercial plantings occurring several decades later. In 1960, they were renamed Chinese Gooseberries.
In 1961, Chinese Gooseberries made their first appearance at a restaurant in the United States and were subsequently "discovered" by an American produce distributor who felt that the U.S. market would be very receptive to this uniquely exotic fruit. She initiated the import of these fruits into the United States in 1962, but to meet what was felt to be burgeoning demand, changed its name from Chinese Gooseberry to kiwifruit, in honor of the native bird of New Zealand, the kiwi, whose brown fuzzy coat resembled the skin of this unique fruit. Currently, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, France, Japan and the United States are among the leading commercial producers of kiwifruit.

 Selection and Storage

When selecting kiwifruits, hold them between your thumb and forefinger and gently apply pressure; those that have the sweetest taste will yield gently to pressure. Avoid those that are very soft, shriveled or have bruised or damp spots. As size is not related to the fruit's quality, choose a kiwifruit based upon your personal preference or recipe need. Kiwifruits are usually available throughout most of the year.
If kiwifruits do not yield when you gently apply pressure with your thumb and forefinger, they are not yet ready to be consumed since they will not have reached the peak of their sweetness. Kiwifruits can be left to ripen for a few days to a week at room temperature, away from exposure to sunlight or heat. Placing the fruits in a paper bag with an apple, banana or pear will help to speed their ripening process. Ripe kiwifruits can be stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
For the most antioxidants, consume fully ripened kiwifruit:
Research conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria suggests that as fruits fully ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, their antioxidant levels actually increase.
Key to the process is the change in color that occurs as fruits ripen, a similar process to that seen in the fall when leaves turn from green to red to yellow to brown—a color change caused by the breakdown and disappearance of chlorophyll, which gives leaves and fruits their green color.
Until now, no one really knew what happened to chlorophyll during this process, but lead researcher, Bernard Kräutler, and his team, working together with botanists over the past several years, has identified the first decomposition products in leaves: colorless, polar NCCs (nonfluorescing chlorophyll catabolytes), that contain four pyrrole rings—like chlorophyll and heme.
After examining apples and pears, the scientists discovered that NCCs replace the chlorophyll not only in the leaves of fruit trees, but in their very ripe fruits, especially in the peel and flesh immediately below it.

 Preparing and Cooking

Tips for Preparing Kiwifruit
Kiwifruits are so delicious that they can be eaten as is. They can be peeled with a paring knife and then sliced or you can cut them in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. You can also enjoy the skins which are very thin like a Bosc pear and are full of nutrients and fiber; the peachlike fuzz can be rubbed off before eating.
Kiwifruits should not be eaten too long after cutting since they contain enzymes (actinic and bromic acids) that act as a food tenderizer, with the ability to further tenderize the kiwifruit itself and make it overly soft. Consequently, if you are adding kiwifruit to fruit salad, you should do so at the last minute so as to prevent the other fruits from becoming too soggy.
While sliced kiwi fruit may soften other fruits when combined in fruit salad, a study published in the June 2006 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found that minimal processing of kiwi and other fruits—cutting, packaging and chilling—does not significantly affect their nutritional content even after 6, and up to 9, days.
Researchers cut up kiwi fruit, pineapples, mangoes, cantaloupes, watermelons, and strawberries. The freshly cut fruits were then rinsed in water, dried, packaged in clamshells (not gastight) and stored at 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
After 6 days, losses in vitamin C were less than 5% in mango, strawberry, and watermelon pieces, 10% in pineapple pieces, 12% in kiwifruit slices, and 25% in cantaloupe cubes.
No losses in carotenoids were found in kiwifruit slices and watermelon cubes. Pineapples lost 25%, followed by 10-15% in cantaloupe, mango, and strawberry pieces.
No significant losses in phenolic phytonutrients were found in any of the fresh-cut fruit products.
"Contrary to expectations, it was clear that minimal processing had almost no effect on the main antioxidant constituents. The changes in nutrient antioxidants observed during nine days at five degrees Celsius would not significantly affect the nutrient quality of fresh cut fruit. In general, fresh-cut fruits visually spoil before any significant nutrient loss occurs," wrote lead researcher Maria Gil.
In practical terms, this means that you can prepare a large bowl of fruit salad on the weekend, store it in the refrigerator, and enjoy it all week, receiving almost all the nutritional benefits of just prepared fruit salad. To ensure kiwi fruit does not "tenderize" the other fruits in your salad, store sliced kiwi in a separate air-tight container and add to the rest of the fruit salad just before serving.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
  • Kiwifruit are so delicious, they can be eaten as is. One of our favorite ways to do so is to peel with a paring knife and slice.
  • Add kiwifruit to tossed green salads.
  • Serve sliced kiwifruit and strawberries, fruits whose flavors are naturally complementary, topped with yogurt.
  • Mix sliced kiwifruit, orange and pineapple together to make chutney that can be served as an accompaniment to chicken or fish.
  • Blend kiwifruit and cantaloupe in a food processor to make a chilled soup. For a creamier consistency, blend yogurt in with the fruit mixture.
  • Kiwifruit have a wonderful flavor and appearance for use in fruit tarts.

Kiwifruit and Oxalates

Kiwifruit are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating kiwifruit. Laboratory studies have shown that oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body. Yet, in every peer-reviewed research study we've seen, the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is relatively small and definitely does not outweigh the ability of oxalate-containing foods to contribute calcium to the meal plan. If your digestive tract is healthy, and you do a good job of chewing and relaxing while you enjoy your meals, you will get significant benefits—including absorption of calcium—from calcium-rich foods plant foods that also contain oxalic acid. Ordinarily, a healthcare practitioner would not discourage a person focused on ensuring that they are meeting their calcium requirements from eating these nutrient-rich foods because of their 

Kiwifruit and Latex Allergy

Like avocados and bananas, kiwifruit contain substances called compounds that are associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome. There is strong evidence of the cross-reaction between latex and these foods. If you have a latex allergy, you may very likely be allergic to these foods as well. Processing the fruit with ethylene gas increases these enzymes; organic produce not treated with gas will have fewer allergy-causing compounds. In addition, cooking the food deactivates the enzymes.

Fish: The Ultimate Brain Food

Traditionally fish has been described as “brain food” – a claim that was dismissed as an ‘old wives tale’ for many years but recent research into the links between fish and brain function suggest that this old wives’ tale may have more than a small grain of truth behind it.
We know that a large part of the brain is made up of omega-3 fats, making them vital for healthy brain function. In fact 60% of the fats in the brain are omega-3 with DHA, a type of omega-3 fat found in fish, being the main type. Omega-3 fats are essential for healthy brain development both in the womb and in early childhood. About 75% of brain cells are in place before birth and the other 25% are in place by the age of 1 year – making omega-3 fats an essential nutrient both for pregnant mothers and young children. Omega-3 fats were found to be so important for early brain development that they are now automatically added to baby milk formula and it is recommended that pregnant women eat two servings of fish every week – including at least one oil-rich fish.
Eating fish while pregnant may have benefits that go beyond early brain development. Studies have found that the children of mothers who eat fish while pregnant have better social and verbal skills at age eight compared to the children of mothers who never ate fish. Several studies have shown long-term benefits to children whose mothers ate fish while pregnant – results which back up the current recommendations for eating fish regularly. But the benefits of eating fish go beyond the early years. Researchers have found that many brain-related conditions may be prevented or even treated by good intakes of omega-3 fats, including problems like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and depression as well as dyslexia and ADHD in children.

Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD

Dyslexia affects an estimated 4-10% of children, causing learning difficulties that can last a lifetime. There has been a great deal of research into the causes of dyslexia and other conditions affecting children such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and dyspraxia (quality of movement) and it seems that omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA may play a role in helping to prevent or treat these conditions. Children with low levels of omega-3 fats can have a decreased ability to focus attention – which can lead to problems in skilled movements, detecting facial and emotional expressions and sequencing letters and numbers. Studies have shown that supplements omega-3 fats such as EPA, found naturally in fish, may help improve the reading skills and attention span of children suffering from dyslexia and ADHD and may also improve motor skills and general co-ordination. The benefits of omega-3 fats have been seen across many conditions affecting learning in children. This is still an area that needs more research but growing evidence suggests that children may benefit from regularly eating foods like fish, that are a rich source of omega-3 fats.

Fish, Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Many people expect their brain function to deteriorate as they get older – in fact we regularly joke about ‘losing our marbles’ - but recent research suggests that mental decline in old age may not be as inevitable as we think. Several studies have shown that what we eat may have as big an impact on our brains as it does on our heart or waistline. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables seems to be vital in protecting the brain into old age but just as important is regularly eating fish. In fact, much of the research into the role of fish in the brain has been carried out in people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 20-40% of people aged over 85, as well as many people at much younger ages and causes considerable distress both for the people affected and for their families. Although Alzheimer’s disease may have many causes, research suggests that diet in general, and fish in particular, may play an important role.
Researchers in Sweden found that people with the highest blood levels of the omega-3 fat DHA, had a 47% lower risk of developing dementia and a 39% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared to people with the lowest levels of DHA. This study suggests that eating fish 2-3 times a week may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia as DHA is one of the major omega-3 fats found in fish, and fish is the major source of DHA in the diet.
As mentioned above, DHA makes up a large proportion of the omega-3 fats in the brain, making DHA essential for healthy brain function. Researchers looking at patients with Alzheimer’s disease have found that the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease have lower levels of DHA than people without Alzheimer’s. Studies looking at the treatment of Alzheimer’s have found that supplements of DHA slowed down mental decline in patients with mild Alzheimer’s, although the effect was not as strong in those with advanced disease. Studies have also found benefits for EPA, the other type of omega-3 fat found in fish, and dementia and Alzheimer’s. According to a study carried out in France, people with high levels of EPA have been shown to have a 31% lower risk of developing dementia compared to people with low levels of EPA.
Research looking specifically at the benefits of eating fish, rather than just omega-3 fats, found that those who ate fish regularly – at least once a week – showed a slower decline in mental function as they got older, compared to people who rarely or never ate fish. The benefit was a difference of at least 10% less per year. They found that those who regularly ate fish had memory and brain function that was at least 4 years younger than their counterparts who never ate fish. A Scottish study looking at fish and brain function also found that people who ate oil-rich fish like salmon, trout, mackerel or herring had an IQ level that was 13% higher than people who never ate fish. The study also found that people who ate fish were less likely to show early signs of Alzheimer’s. What is interesting about these studies, and others looking at fish and the brain, is that the benefits didn’t just come from the omega-3 fats but from the entire package of nutrients found in fish, suggesting that simply taking omega-3 supplements wouldn’t be enough to get the full benefit.

Omega-3 – Not all fats are equal

Did you know there are three different types of omega-3 fat?
EPA and DHA are the two main types found in oil rich fish.
ALA is the type that is found implants like linseed or flaxseed.
Research shows that both EPA and DHA are needed to help keep the brain healthy. In theory your body should be able to convert ALA into EPA and DHA but in real life, this only happens in very small amounts or not at all. For this reason it is useful to make sure you get some DHA and EPA regularly and eating oil-rich fish is one of the best ways to do this.

Fish and Depression

Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide, affecting an estimated 121 million people. There has been a great deal of research into potential nutritional causes and treatments for depression but the most promising results come from studies into fish and omega-3 fats. There is now increasing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids, found in oil-rich fish, may be helpful in the treatment of depression. Although more research is needed before definite recommendations can be made, several studies have shown benefits in patients suffering from depression who took omega-3 supplements. One study found that patients taking EPA, the type of omega-3 found in fish, reduced their ratings of depression by 50%, an effect that was similar to patients taking an anti-depressant drug. Another study found that people with the highest levels of EPA in their blood reported the lowest levels of depression. Fish is a major source of EPA and eating fish may be linked with reducing levels of depression. Depression is less common among people who regularly eat fish such as the Iunuit population in Greenland. Although most of research into the benefits of fish in depression focus on omega-3 fats, researchers believe that other nutrients in fish such as vitamins B6 and folate as well as the amino acid tryptophan may be important.
While more research is needed into the role of fish and omega-3 fats in brain disorders, it is clear that there are many benefits to eating this ‘brain food’ from early brain development in the womb to keeping it up and running into old age. Benefits are seen from eating fish as little as once a week and highlight the importance of following advice to eat fish at least twice a week and to include at least one oil-rich fish.