6 Health Benefits of Kiwis
Last updated on July 14, 2011
The kiwi is a small fruit that packs a wallop of nutrition. Ounce for ounce, it contains more vitamin C than an orange. The national fruit of China, where it has been called a macaque peach, vine pear, or hairy bush fruit, among other names, it was introduced to New Zealand at the turn of the last century. The kiwi was called the Chinese gooseberry before its name was changed to kiwifruit upon its move to the USA in the 1960s. Currently, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, France, Japan and the United States are the world’s top producers of kiwis.
Here are six health benefits of kiwis.
The fiber in kiwifruit may be an effective against a number of ailments. Studies have found that eating a high fiber diet can lower cholesterol levels and in turn reduce the risk of heart disease. Kiwis are also abundant in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects our bodies from free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and lead to a host of severe medical conditions, such as atherosclerosis that can cause heart disease.
Vitamin C has been shown to lower blood pressure, and thereby lower the chances of developing of hypertension, as well as cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C also ensures proper dilation of blood vessels, which may prevent atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, and angina pectoris. Having a few kiwifruit a day may also reduce the amount of triglycerides in your blood, avoiding blood clots and helping to protect cardiovascular health. Kiwi is a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and copper, all of which may function separately or together to protect the cardiovascular system.
Excessive oxidative stress caused by free radicals is associated with many different types of cancer, including lung, mouth, throat, colon, stomach and esophagus. The vitamin C in kiwis protects our bodies from this oxidative stress. Vitamin C also helps to regenerate the body’s supplies of vitamin E (another useful antioxidant).
Bone and Connective Tissue Support
The vitamin C in kiwis is an indispensable antioxidant that moves through the body, neutralizing all free radicals it comes into contact with. Free radicals can damage healthy cells and cause inflammation in bone and connective tissue. For this reason, Vitamin C may reduce the the severity of symptoms in people with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Kiwis are also a good source of potassium, which prevents the weakening of bones.
Digestive Tract Health
The fiber in kiwis helps to move food through the stomach to the large intestine at a healthier pace. This keeps any one part of the digestive tract from having to work too hard and supports the ideal balance of chemicals and populations of microorganisms required for a healthy digestive system.
Blood Sugar Regulation
The fiber in kiwis helps move food through the digestive system at an even pace and regulates blood sugar absorption. An excess of sugar uptake all at once can produce an unwanted sugar spike. A lack of simple sugar uptake may produce a rapid blood sugar drop. Either extreme can upset blood sugar balance. The fiber in kiwis helps avoid both extremes.
Kiwi fruit contains more vitamin C than oranges and is especially effective against respiratory health problems such as shortness of breath, asthma and cough. A famous study in Italy followed more than 18,000 6 and 7 year old children and found that those who consumed the most citrus and kiwi were 44% less likely than the control group to experience wheezing, 32% less likely to have shortness of breath, 28% less likely to experience runny nose, and 25% less likely to have chronic cough.