What are kiwi fruits?
A kiwi is a small, plum-sized fruit with fuzzy, brown skin, bright green flesh and small black seeds. Typically, only the flesh of the kiwi fruit is eaten but the skin is also edible.
Nutritional benefits of kiwi fruit
Two small kiwi fruits (80g) provide:
- 39Kcal / 166KJ
- 0.9g Protein
- 0.4g Fat
- 8.5g Carbohydrate
- 2.0g Fibre
- 232mg Potassium
- 47mg Vitamin C
Two small kiwi fruits (80g) counts as one of your 5-a-day. Discover more about what contributes to your 5-a-day with our handy infographic.
Top 5 health benefits
1. May alleviate symptoms of asthma
Kiwi fruit is well-known for its high vitamin C content – this and the other antioxidant nutrients it supplies appears to help alleviate some of the symptoms of asthma.
2. Supports heart health
Including kiwi fruit as part of a healthy diet may support your heart health. This is because consuming them appears to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol, reduces other blood triglycerides (fats) and reduces platelet aggregation, which may over time lead to atherosclerosis. Kiwi fruit also helps manage blood pressure, thanks in part to a reduction in angiotensin-converting enzyme. Being a useful source of potassium further supports the fruit’s heart-friendly properties.
3. Aids digestion
Rich in fibre, kiwi fruit supports digestive regularity. It also contains an enzyme called actinidin, which facilitates the breakdown of protein, helping us more efficiently digest protein-rich foods. Kiwi can also be used in recipes to tenderise meat.
4. May support immune function
Kiwi fruits are exceptionally rich in immune-supportive nutrients including the vitamins C, E, K and folate, as well as carotenoids, fibre and phytochemicals.
Studies suggest they may support the immune system and potentially reduce the incidence and severity of colds and flu-like symptoms in susceptible groups such as older people and children.
5. Rich in protective antioxidants
Kiwi fruits are rich in nutrients and phytochemicals which have antioxidant properties – these help reduce oxidative damage and as a result may reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Are kiwi fruits safe for everyone?
Kiwi fruits are allergenic and, although symptoms in most susceptible individuals are mild, severe reactions have been reported. If you are allergic to hazelnuts, avocados, figs, pollen or latex then you may experience a cross reaction to kiwi fruit.
If you are prescribed blood pressure medication or anti-coagulants, be aware that consuming kiwi fruit regularly in your diet may enhance their effects.
Speak to your GP or healthcare provider if you’re concerned about allergies or are on relevant prescribed medication.
Kiwi fruit recipes
This article was last reviewed on 6 October 2021 by Kerry Torrens.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified nutritionist (MBANT) with a postgraduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the past 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
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