Jispa › Nutrition
While the name kiwi may conjure up images of a native New Zealand bird, we aren’t interested in that so much; rather, we are talking about the delicious Kiwi fruit. Considered an exotic fruit by many, as it is often consumed only under special circumstances, or neglected by choosing other common fruits. However, you will be pleased to find that Kiwis are delicious fruits, packed with nutrients and various phytochemicals which improve our health and wellbeing. In fact, after reading this you will find yourself intrigued by this fruit, and are likely to consider making it a part of your diet.
Kiwi health benefits includes helping with protein digestion, managing blood pressure, boosting the body immune system, aiding blood sugar control, creating acid balance in the body, and promoting healthy kidney function. Other benefits includes relieving constipation, promoting restful sleep, improving skin health, help to prevent cancer and improve respiratory function.
Kiwifruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K as well as a very good source of copper and dietary fiber. It is also a good source of vitamin E, potassium, folate and manganese.
Kiwifruit is also one of the few foods rich in vitamin B6, which supports the immune system. B6 is particularly important for healthy fetuses and pregnant or breastfeeding women. The folate in kiwifruit protects against birth defects, heart disease, and cancer; healthy amounts of fiber keep the system running smoothly, reducing the risk of diverticulitis and carcinogens in the body. Finally, the antioxidant power in kiwifruits delivers similar effects when it comes to neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells and cause inflammation and cancer.
However, consume kiwifruit in moderation because it contains fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts.
Meeting your daily protein needs is challenging itself, but it is made much harder when that protein cannot be properly broken down into amino acids for absorption. There are only a few naturally occurring protease enzymes (enzymes which break down proteins), and occur in foods such as papaya and pineapples. The active protease enzyme in kiwis is called actinidain, and is included in some varieties of commercially available meat tenderizer products.
One of the many forces at play behind the development of high blood pressure is altered electrolyte levels, primarily being elevated sodium and depleted potassium levels. Kiwis do, however, have a fair amount of potassium, which can help to correct salt imbalances that may be negatively affecting blood pressure. Potassium also has a regulatory role on heart contractions but needs to be regulated as too much will result in cardiac dysfunction.
Kiwis are extremely rich in Vitamin C, with just a 100g size supplying over 150% of your recommended daily intake. While taking in too much of a particular vitamin is not necessarily good advice, Vitamin C is water soluble and does not harm the body, since excess is passed out in urine. High Vitamin C intake is essential for the optimal functioning of your immune system, allowing it to proactively remove threats that may be dangerous to your health. Kiwis also have numerous other anti-oxidants, which act in concert with Vitamin C to protect the body from harm.
Diabetics need to ensure that they still consume a fair amount of carbohydrates, even though selection of those foods requires more thorough vetting. The kiwi can easily be included however, as it has a low glycemic index, as well as excellent fiber content. This slows the pace at which sugar enters the blood stream significantly, being sure not to overwhelm dysfunctional insulin. When sweet cravings strike, (and they almost certainly do) kiwis can offer a tasty solution that will not negatively affect blood sugar control.
The vast majority of people have blood pH that is more on the acidic side, a scenario that is far from ideal. Our normal blood pH lies in the neutral to slightly alkaline zone, which is where cells function best. Many of the foods we consume, especially those that are processed, are acid forming and cause our blood chemistry to follow in a similar direction. This is not good, as acidic balance promotes development of cancer, growth of yeast and negative changes to skin. Kiwis are among the most alkaline promoting foods on the planet, helping little by little to correct years of poor eating. Vegetables and most fruits also help restore normal pH, so be sure to get more in your diet.
The kidneys filter blood non-stop every day, removing waste and ensuring blood stays clean. As the years go by, an amount of insoluble waste may being to accumulate in the kidneys “filter” apparatus, causing blockages and discomfort. This is called a kidney stone, and is usually composed of various calcium salts. Potassium helps reduce the likelihood of this salt accumulating, which then prevents stone formation. Not drinking enough water on a daily basis increases the likelihood of stones forming, along with hypernatremia (excessive sodium levels in blood).
Most people have no issue with regular bowel movements, but there are also a significant number of people that suffer from chronic constipation. Usually, dietary insufficiencies are at the root of the problem, which include not consuming enough water daily, along with not meeting fiber requirements. This is why fiber powders seem to work so well, and also why kiwis are an excellent fruit to do this as well. Kiwis are rich in fiber and also contain high water content, helping you correct two inadequacies at the same time. Kiwis are even purported to have a mild laxative effective, as the soluble fibers helps to make feces looser and more easily excreted.
The skin is one of our body’s first line of defense, protecting us against things we come in contact with every day that may otherwise harm us. As such, the skin can take quite a beating, especially from the sun. Over time, the skin loses its elasticity and “youthfulness” and becomes saggy and listless. Vitamin C is integrally involved in collagen production, a protein that we need for structural health of tissue such as joints and the skin. Other vitamins and phytonutrients found in kiwis also help to reflect UV damage and preserve skin health for longer.
The anti-oxidants contained in kiwi help offset DNA damage, a major contributor of cancer and also prevent actual cellular damage which may result in unwanted changes to the cell. Anti-oxidants make harmful free radicals stable, reducing their potential for damage and allowing them to be excreted by the body. Kiwis are especially well-poised to prevent cancers of the stomach, intestines and colon, since the inclusion of fiber and its numerous phytochemicals promote normal physiology of these organs. High fiber content also helps love waste quickly through the digestive tract, minimizing the contact time waste spends in contact with healthy cells.
It is a little known fact that respiratory health benefits from consumption of citrus like bioflavonoids, which in this case includes kiwi’s Vitamin C and related compounds. Bioflavonoids have been used in asthmatics to reduce frequency and severity of attacks, as well as boosting resistance to picking up common infections of the respiratory tract. In addition to asthma, kiwi and its bioflavonoids also boost pulmonary recovery and breathing function in otherwise healthy individuals, and can reduce wheezing from exertion.