When we say ‘fruits’, most of us tend to go back to the same old choice of apples, bananas, or oranges every week. You are tired of the same sweet taste every day in the morning and on top of everything, you surely are bored. But these fruits are not the end of the world. Go out, step outside your comfort levels, and explore a sweet, tangy, juicy, and delicious fruit that is worth discovering – the kiwifruit. Read this article further to learn more facts about the benefits of kiwi, its nutritional value, and its effect on your health.
What Is A Kiwi Fruit?
Kiwi is smaller than the typical orange or apple that you get in the market. To be more specific, the most common group of kiwi fruit is about 5-8 centimeters in length and 4.5-5.5 centimeters in diameter. So it is almost about the size of a large hen’s egg. Though small in size, kiwis are packed with flavors and are a powerhouse of nutrients. It might be the first time that you chose to eat a kiwi. But there’s nothing to worry, because it’s identifiable at once, thanks to its fuzzy brown skin, a unique green color on the inside, and tiny black edible seeds.
Common Types of Kiwi
Kiwi belongs to the genus Actinidia and has around 60 species to itself. These fruits vary quite extensively, depending upon the geographical traits of the place where it has grown. Nonetheless, most of them are easily recognizable because of their appearance and shape. Kiwi fruits vary in size, their hairiness on the outside, and color on the inside. The flesh differs from one species to the other as well, going by its texture, juiciness, color, and taste.
The most preferred kiwifruit is derived from A. deliciosa. It is also commonly called fuzzy kiwifruit. There are other species as well, that are commonly eaten. A few of them are listed below, with their colloquial names:
- A. Chinensis also called the golden kiwi fruit
- A. Coriacea also called the Chinese egg gooseberry
- A. Arguta also called the hardy kiwifruit
- A. Kolomikta also called the Arctic kiwifruit
- A. Melanandra also called the purple kiwifruit
- A. Polygama also called the silver vine, and
- A. Purpurea is also called the hearty red kiwifruit.
A Peek at the History of Kiwifruit
Essentially native to eastern and central China, the first documented description of a kiwifruit dates back to 12th century China, whilst the rule of the Song Dynasty. The plant was almost rarely cultivated at that time. This is because kiwis were usually plucked from the wild, for medicinal purposes. The fruit was started being commercially cultivated in New Zealand for the first time when it spread from China during the early 20th century.
Later, during the Second World War, the fruit started becoming popular amongst the American and British servicemen who were stationed throughout New Zealand. It was later exported to these two countries in only the 1960s. However, in the 1940s-1950s, many kiwi farms started sprouting in New Zealand, and the fruit slowly became a viable agricultural commodity.
We will be discussing kiwi health benefits as they are a major part of discourse when we talk about kiwis, but before that, let’s quickly know a bit about eating the fruit.
Eating the Kiwi Fruit
If you’ve not eaten a kiwi before, by now, you surely are wondering about how to eat a kiwi properly, given that it has fuzzy and hairy skin and seeds. There are various accounts of people – some who enjoy the skin, some who don’t, and so on.
The simplest way to go about it would be to just cut the kiwi into half using a knife and then scoop out the ready-to-eat flesh with a spoon. Some people prefer peeling the skin off first and then go on to eat it. But as mentioned earlier, there are various accounts of how people like their kiwis. The easiest way, some say, is just to leave the skin on and bite on to it or eat it by cutting it into pieces without peeling the skin, as you would do to your apple.
The skin surely gives you added nutrition. Also eating a kiwi with the skin on is more convenient. However, if that does not arouse your taste buds, you can simply peel off the skin. Kiwi is fun to eat, dynamic fruit that way!
Kiwi has had a long reputation for being a healthy fruit. It has high Vitamin C contents and is also rich in dietary fibers that provide a variety of health benefits. Roughly, the kiwifruit contains 230% of the daily intake of vitamin C that’s recommended by nutritionists. Also rich in antioxidants, it boosts a person’s immunity and reduces oxidative stress.
So, summing it up, kiwis are a magnificent source of:
- Vitamin C
- Dietary fibers
Nutritionists prefer an intake of no more than 140 grams of kiwi, to maintain a proper, balanced diet. So, a 140 gms serving of kiwi contains the following:
- Calories: 90
- Fat: 1 gm
- Protein: 1 gm
- Carbohydrates: 21 gms
- Sugar: 15 gms and
- Fiber: 5 gms.
These nutrients present in the fruit make it beneficial for human health. Let us look at some of the health benefits and hazards of eating kiwi fruit.
Benefits and Risks of Kiwi
The health benefits of kiwi are manyfold. Vitamin C becomes the showstopper as kiwi has very high vitamin C contents, as high as 71-85% of an adult’s daily need of the same.
Vitamin C boosts collagen production in the body contributing to better and healthy skin. Along with that, it also helps the body’s ability to heal wounds quickly. Also high in vitamin E, eating kiwi protects your skin from sun damage and other disorders.
Adults with an increasing number of sleeping problems have reported that eating kiwis have brought betterment to their sleep cycle. A 2011 study states the same as well. What scientists have to say is that this particular benefit stems from the levels of antioxidants and serotonin present in kiwis.
Heart and blood pressure
Fiber, antioxidants, and potassium – all of these contribute towards better heart health. The American Heart Association reportedly encourages people to reduce the intake of added salt or sodium, and increase potassium levels which help to relax blood vessels. Kiwis also have fewer amounts of bad cholesterol, which is also a plus sign for heart illnesses.
Prevention of cancer
A high level of free radicals in your body can damage your DNA and can cause various types of cancer in humans. The antioxidants that are provided by kiwis are a major reason behind the prevention of cancer. It is also said that an increased intake of fibers prevents colorectal cancer.
At pregnancy and for better bone health
Kiwi, during the 12th Century China, was known to be a wild berry. It was given to women during pregnancies and to kids for better and strong bones. Later, upon more scientific research it has been found that kiwi contains folate, important for cell division. Pregnant women are advised to eat kiwi to protect their children from any kind of developmental problems.
Similarly, it also has traces of vitamin K and calcium, useful for bone health.
Risks involved in too much intake of kiwifruit:
- Too much potassium may lead to kidney problems
- Thinning of blood from excessive vitamin K
Kiwi is the perfect fruit for you if you are looking for the perfect blend of taste and health.