Kiwi fruit or Actinidia chinensis, also known as Chinese gooseberry or Macaque peach, is the national fruit of China and originated in the Chang Kiang valley.
The most common species of kiwifruit is Actinidia deliciosa, commonly known as Hayward kiwi or fuzzy 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 pineapples, strawberries and bananas, yet with its own unique sweet flavor.
Cultivation of the fuzzy kiwifruit spread from China (known as “yang tao”) in 1906 to New Zealand where the potential nutritional benefits of the exotic fruit were identified and first commercial plantings occurred and was renamed as “Chinese gooseberry”. Though the Americans tasted kiwifruit way back in 1904, it wasn’t until 1961 that these exotic fruits found their way into American restaurants. They re-branded it to “kiwifruit” after the kiwi bird as the bird and the fruit share a similar appearance and both are associated with New Zealand.
Other varieties of kiwifruit include the hardy (or Golden) kiwi and silver vine kiwi (two smooth-skinned varieties that are the size of cherries and whose flesh has a golden yellow-green hue), Chinese Egg Gooseberry, Baby Kiwifruit, Arctic Kiwifruit, Red Kiwifruit, and Purple Kiwifruit. Currently, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, France, Japan and the United States are among the leading commercial producers of kiwifruit.
19 REASONS WHY KIWIFRUIT TOPS THE FRUIT CHART:
They are full of vitamin C and act as good appetizers in salads, fish, meat dishes, puddings, cakes and pies. However most of us are unaware about the varied heath benefits of this delicious fruit.
- Anti-Anemia: Kiwifruit has in abundance iron and copper, critical for production and synthesis of the red blood cell protein-hemoglobin, enabling it to improve oxygen levels in the body. In addition, Vitamin C enhances the intestines’ ability to absorb iron into the blood.
- Anti-Oxidant: Potent water soluble antioxidants vitamins C and E, in kiwifruit, neutralize free radicals responsible for premature aging, inflammation, and other degenerative diseases like cancers. Vitamin C reduces severity of inflammatory induced conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma, and prevents colon cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetic heart disease.
- Immunity Booster: Kiwi’s high vitamin C content along with other antioxidant compounds is highly effective in enhancing and modulating the immune system function, thereby contributing to combat and prevent cold and flu, as well as other types of infections and inflammation.
- Strengthens Connective Tissues: Collagen is the critical bonding agent essential for connective tissues health, especially for bone, tooth and gum health. Vitamin C helps in the synthesis of collagen, and calcium and phosphorous promote collagen mineralization thereby preventing osteoporosis.
- For Digestive Health: The enzyme actinidain, aids protein synthesis and healthy digestion. The high content dietary fiber provides kiwifruit with mild laxative properties that help cleanse the colon of toxins, prevent constipation other gastro-intestinal problems. Vitamin C helps to lower the incidence of peptic ulcers and risk of stomach cancer.
- Boosting Fertility: The antioxidant vitamin C helps protect sperms from genetic damage that may cause a birth defect, and increase the chances of conception. It contains the amino acid arginine, a well-known vasodilator that has been used to treat impotence in men.
- Supports Healthy Birth: Containing one of the riches sources of folate, kiwifruit prevents nightly muscle cramps, improves the micro-circulation in legs (thereby preventing varicose veins and relieving edema in legs), prevent calcium deficiencies, and constipation in expectant mothers. It also helps in the development of blood cells in the fetus and preventing the occurrence of neural defects in babies.
- Weight Loss Diet: Kiwi’s low glycemic index and high fiber content doesn’t spike sugar levels, avoiding an insulin rush and preventing the standard body response to store fat.
- Heart health: high level of potassium helps keep our electrolytes in balance by counteracting the effects of sodium stabilizing blood pressure, improving heart function, and preventing hypertension. Vitamin C helps lower blood cholesterol, thereby preventing atherosclerosis and related heart disease.
- Anti-Clotting: Kiwi fruit has the same anti-clotting benefits of aspirin with no side effects, just additional health benefits. It prevents blood clotting, and reduces triglycerides levels, which are the main causes for plaques built up and deposits in the arterial walls.
- Strengthens Musculoskeletal Structure: The high potassium and magnesium levels provide ample protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, alleviate muscle fatigue, prevent muscle cramps, and improve muscle strength.
- Relieves Mental Fatigue: The high magnesium content spikes oxygen supply and energy production within the brain, increasing concentration and relieving mental fatigue.
- Prevents DNA Damage: The unique combination of antioxidants in Kiwifruit helps protect the cell DNA from oxidative damage. 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.
- Diabetic Care: Kiwi has a low glycemic value keeping blood sugar levels stable and the dietary fiber bind to cholesterol and expels them, and keeps the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients under control.
- Eye Care: Kiwi’s high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin — filter out damaging blue light, lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), glaucoma and cataracts.
- Maintain Alkaline Balance: Kiwi’s rich supply of minerals makes it one of the most alkaline fruits and helps neutralize acids from foods you consume. A balanced pH is essential for youthful skin, deeper sleep, abundant physical energy, fewer colds, less arthritis, and reduced osteoporosis.
- For Youthful Skin: Kiwis are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant known to prevent and slow down skin degeneration. Additionally Vitamin C aids collagen synthesis and helps prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution and smoke, smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.
- For Deep Sleep: Kiwi consumption improves sleep onset, duration, and efficiency in adults with self-reported sleep disturbances due to its high antioxidant and mood controlling serotonin and melatonin levels.
- Respiratory Soother: AntioxidantVitamin C-rich kiwifruit provide significant protection against respiratory-related health problems including wheezing, shortness of breath, or night coughing.
[Read More: Kiwi Fruit Smoothies]
Oxalates: The fruit also contains calcium oxalate crystals in the form of raphides. Reactions to these chemicals include sweating, tingling, and sore mouth or throat; swelling of the lips, tongue and face; rash; vomiting and abdominal pain, heartburn; and, in the most severe cases, breathing difficulties, wheezing, and collapse, especially severe in young children. Individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating kiwifruit.
Latex Allergy: Like avocados and bananas, kiwifruit contain the compound- actinidain that are associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome. Cooking the food deactivates the enzymes and the organic varieties are safe.