Health

Kiwifruit: Gut Health & DNA Repair

The beautiful, vibrant kiwifruit is a nutrient powerhouse in a small, delicious package. 

Fun Facts: Kiwifruit is also called Chinese gooseberry. It  was first discovered in China, where it grew in the wild and was primarily used for medicinal use. Later, it made its way to New Zealand where it received its name in honor of the country’s national bird.  It didn’t come to the U.S until 1959!

For a snapshot of this fruit’s nutrients, see below:

1 Kiwi

Vitamin C 85% daily requirement for adults
Potassium 5% daily requirement for adults
Fiber 6-9% daily requirement for adults
Folate 4% daily requirement for adults
Vitamin K 25-30% daily requirement for adults

 

Antioxidants

Filled with vitamin C, choline, lutein, zeaxanthin, the kiwi aids in removing free radicals (unstable molecules produced by the body during metabolism), helping with cancer prevention. Dr. William Li sites the fruit as a beneficial food source for those of us who want to direct our genetic fates in his book, Eat To Beat Disease. Li cites a study showing that eating kiwifruit in any quantity can reduce DNA damage by approximately 60 percent. Eating three kiwis per day could actually repair activity by 66 percent! 

Vitamin C is also good for collagen production, which boosts skin elasticity and reduces wrinkles. After the age of 30, our body stops producing collagen, so how nice is it that this delicious little fruit can help supplement? Containing 85% of the adult daily requirement of Vitamin C, it contains twice as much as lemons and oranges. We also know that Vitamin C boosts immunity against harmful pathogens.

In addition to antioxidants, kiwis are also said to aid in serotonin release. This combo can aid sleep according to one study done at Taipei Medical University, where they found that eating two kiwis before bedtime could help you get those precious zzz’s.  

 

Heart Health

The kiwifruit is also a friendly food for those concerned with heart health thanks to its fiber and potassium content. Potassium relaxes blood vessels – helpful for those who have high blood pressure. One kiwi has 5% of adult daily requirement for potassium, so you’ll also want to look for it in other sources as well; however, it’s good to incorporate into your everyday diet to help you reach that goal. 

We know fiber is good for heart health in addition to a host of other health benefits. A single kiwi contains 6-9% of adult daily requirement of fiber, and can also act as a gentle laxative by helping the small intestines retain more water. This makes softer and more frequent stools. 

 

Gut Health

Speaking of poop, a study conducted at the National University of Singapore measured the impact of kiwifruit on the microbiome by examining the fecal microbiome of its participants. The study subjects ate eight kiwifruits a day for four total days. They found the Lactobacillus presence shot up by 35% within 24 hours. Bifidobacteria grew by 17 percent over the fours days in most of the subjects. 

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are both helpful gut bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs help to lower inflammation, and maintain integrity of the gut lining to prevent digested food from leaking out (also from Dr. Li). They also improve glucose and lipid metabolism. All of this means that kiwis have a prebiotic effect, which is integral to having a healthy gut. 

 

For Pregnant Women & Aging Women

Pregnant women are often encouraged to take greater folate to ensure healthy fetal development and it is usually present in prenatal vitamins. Kiwi is a natural source of folate, containing 4% of adult daily requirements in a single fruit. 

A single kiwifruit also has 25-30% of adult daily requirement of Vitamin K which is important for preventing blood clotting as well as preventing osteoporosis.

 

Start Eating Kiwifruit

One other big plus about kiwis, they are one of the least likely to fruits to contain pesticides according to the Environmental Working Group’s 2020 Clean Fifteen

Kiwis are sweet and suitable to eat by cutting in half and eating with a spoon, or peeling and cutting into pieces. But you can also incorporate it into other dishes in a number of ways. 

  • Green Smoothie – recipe coming soon!
  • Meat tendurizer  – kiwis contain actinidain which is greater for tenderizing meat (and helpful for those with IBS). You’ll find kiwi as a meat tenderizer here in our bulgogi recipe.
  • Yogurt Topping – After you chop up your kiwi, throw it on your bowl of plain yogurt. It’s a sweet treat that’s much better than eating yogurt sweetened with a bunch of sugar!

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