Maintaining Health In A Better Way With Super Food_ KIWI

By: Pallavi Vathiar. Practicing Clinical Nutritionist, Mumbai.

Email: fihealthie@gmail.com

Kiwi has a reputation as a health food because of its high vitamin C content, but the fruit is also rich in other nutrients. These may help reduce blood pressure, boost wound healing, help maintain bowel health, and more.

Vision Loss

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, and kiwis might help protect your eyes from it. One study found that by eating three servings of fruit a day, macular degeneration was decreased by 36 percent. Kiwi’s high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein are thought to contribute to this effect (1).

Reduces Blood Clotting

A blood clot is a gel-like mass formed by platelets and fibrin in the blood to stop bleeding. A blood clot forms to try to repair damage to a blood vessel, either an artery or vein. When they form inappropriately inside an artery or vein, they may cause significant problems, such as symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, because blood flow past the clot is decreased.

A study from the University of Oslo found that eating two to three kiwis a day significantly lowered the risk of blood clotting. They were also found to reduce the amount of fat in the blood. Researchers said that these effects were similar to those of a daily dose of aspirin to improve heart health (2).

Treats Asthma

Kiwi is rich in vitamin C. About one cup of sliced kiwi will give you 164 mg of Vitamin C, which exceeds your daily recommended vitamin C intake (to 273%). And vitamin C has been found to reduce wheezing and other respiratory problems in asthma patients. Scientists suggest that it reduces inflammation caused by allergic reactions in the respiratory system.

A study published in the journal Thorax showed that kids who frequently consumed kiwi fruit (5-7 times in a week) had reduced incidence of wheezing symptoms by 44% compared to kids who did not have it at all. The children also reported reduction in symptoms like nocturnal cough and runny nose (3).

Heart Health

Kiwis contain fiber, potassium, and antioxidants, all of which may support heart health. The American Heart Association (AHA) encourages people to increase their potassium intake while reducing their consumption of added salt, or sodium. Potassium relaxes the blood vessels, which helps manage blood pressure, and people with low blood pressure tend to be less likely to develop cardiovascular disease (4).

A 2014 study found evidence that the bioactive substances in three kiwis a day can lower blood pressure more than one apple a day. Long term, this may also mean a lowered risk for conditions that can be caused by high blood pressure, like strokes or heart attacks (5).

Constipation

Several studies have examined the role of kiwifruit in the management of constipation and/or IBS-C. For instance, one study conducted in healthy adults and those with constipation predominant IBS showed that eating 2 green kiwifruit per day for 4 weeks increased defacation frequency and reduced colonic transit time (6).

Another study in healthy, elderly people without IBS showed that daily consumption of green kiwifruit (100g kiwifruit per 30kg body weight) lead to bulkier, softer and more frequent stools (7).

Healthy Skin

Vitamin C contributes to the production of collagen, a key component in cells and organs throughout the body, including the skin. The vitamin also boosts the body’s ability to heal wounds.

A 2019 review of studies found that taking oral collagen supplements may help boost skin elasticity and hydration and reduce wrinkles. Taking supplements is not the same as consuming vitamin C in kiwis, but eating the fruit may still help keep the skin healthy (8).

One kiwi weighing 69 grams (g) provides 64 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C. This represents 71–85% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement. Kiwifruit also provides vitamin E, or tocopherol. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E and its ability to help protect the skin from sun damage may help prevent skin disorders.

Better Sleep

Kiwis may help you sleep better because they contain the sleep-regulating brain chemical serotonin. Their high antioxidant levels may encourage good sleep because antioxidants like vitamin C reduce inflammation. Robust scientific studies are needed to show exactly how kiwis can affect sleep.

A 2011 study looked at the effects of kiwifruit on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems. The researchers found that eating kiwis improved sleep, according to self-reported measures.

Researchers at Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University studied the effects of kiwi consumption on sleep. They found that eating kiwi on a daily basis was linked to substantial improvements to both sleep quality and sleep quantity. Their study included 22 women and 2 men between the ages 20-55. All were experiencing some form of disrupted sleep (9).

Nutritional value of Kiwi according to USDA.

NutrientsValue
Energy61kcal
Protein14g
Total Fat0.52g
Carbohydrate  14.66 g
Fibre3 g
Sugars  8.99 g
Calcium34 mg
Iron0.31mg
Magnesium17mg
Phosphorus34mg
Potassium312mg
Sodium3mg
Zinc0.14 mg
Copper0.13 mg
Manganese0.098 mg
Selenium0.2µg
Vitamin C92.7 mg
Thiamin0.027 mg
Riboflavin0.025 mg
Niacin0.341 mg
Pantothenic acid0.183 mg
Vitamin B-60.063 mg
Folate25 µg
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168153/nutrients

Reference

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/416353
  2. http://www.calharvest.com/nutr.heart.study.html
  3. https://thorax.bmj.com/content/55/4/283.full
  4. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/potassium
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25483553/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21147704/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12074185/
  8. https://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/S1545961619P0009X
  9. http://www.airitilibrary.com/Publication/alDetailedMesh?docid=09647058-201106-201306100024-201306100024-169-174

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