Health Benefits of Kiwi

The kiwi – shortened from its full name, the kiwifruit – is actually a large berry that grows on a species of woody vine in the genus Actinidia. Kiwis have been famously cultivated in New Zealand, but this bold berry actually originated in eastern China. 

The kiwi typically grows in the shape of an oval and is roughly around the size of a typical chicken egg. Its skin is camel-colored, fibrous, and coated in a light fuzz. Despite its fuzzy covering, the kiwi’s skin is edible and tart. The kiwi’s flesh is bright green with a unique but pleasing texture and rows of distinctive tiny black seeds, which can also be eaten. Kiwis have a sweet, tart, and bold taste — making them a popular addition to a healthy breakfast or lunch. 

Kiwis are high in Vitamin C  and dietary fiber and provide a variety of health benefits. This tart fruit can support heart health, digestive health, and immunity. The kiwi is a healthy choice of fruit and is rich with vitamins and antioxidants. Its tart flavor, pleasing texture, and low calorie count make it a delicious and healthy option for snacking, sides, or a unique dessert.  

Health Benefits

The vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants can provide essential health benefits. The flesh is rich with vitamins that stimulate immunity and reduce the risk of disease. 

The soluble dietary fiber found in kiwis can help stimulate regular and healthy digestion. Kiwis can provide other health benefits like:

Immunity

Kiwi contains abundant amounts of Vitamin C, which stimulates the body’s immune response. In fact, the kiwifruit contains roughly 230% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C. This bold fruit provides a burst of immune-boosting nutrients in every bite.

Kiwis are also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to eliminate free radicals within the body and reduce oxidative stress. Ultimately, this may protect the body from inflammation and disease.

Heart Health 

The kiwifruit possesses properties that lower blood pressure. By helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure and providing a boost of Vitamin C, the kiwifruit can reduce the risk of stroke  and heart disease.

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Beyond this, kiwi also contains a high level of dietary fiber. Fiber can reduce risk factors for heart disease by lowering LDL or bad cholesterol. A surplus of cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries within the heart.

Digestive Health

Both in its tough skin and flesh, the kiwifruit contains high amounts of dietary fiber. Fiber can help reduce constipation and a variety of other gastrointestinal issues and discomfort.

Treatment of Asthma 

The abundance of Vitamin C in kiwis has been linked to the reduction of wheezing symptoms in some asthma patients. This is especially true of children, who seem to benefit the most from the consumption of kiwis.

Ocular Health

When consumed with other healthy vitamin and mineral-rich fruits and vegetables, the high levels of antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids found in the kiwifruit may aid in preventing eye disease and promote overall ocular health. 

Nutrition

Kiwis are an excellent source of:

Nutrients per Serving

A 140 gram serving of kiwi contains:

Portion Sizes

Kiwi is a delicious and healthy snack, but, like all fruits, it still contains naturally occurring sugar. Because of this, you should consume kiwis in moderation. Limiting your intake of kiwi to 140 grams or less is essential to maintaining a balanced diet.

Things to Watch Out For

Kiwis are a delightful fruit, but many people are affected by kiwi allergies. Symptoms can range in severity from very mild to more severe. Mild symptoms might include

  • Itching or discomfort of the tongue, lips, or mouth after eating kiwi.
  • Visible skin rash.

Contact emergency services if you experience any of the following severe symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or any other asthma symptoms
  • Swelling of throat, lips, or mouth
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting

How to Prepare Kiwi

Because of their distinct tartness, kiwis add a bold flavor to anything they are paired with. To maintain this unique flavor and retain the kiwi’s beneficial vitamin C content, kiwis are best served raw.

Kiwis can be served as a supplemental powder, but most prefer to consume kiwis raw. Here are a few ways to serve the kiwifruit:

  • Slice fresh, room temperature kiwis for a delightful side to your breakfast.
  • Blend kiwi into a strawberry kiwi smoothie.
  • Serve sliced kiwis in a bold kiwi-and-banana fruit salad.
  • Pair with Greek yogurt for a light and refreshing dessert.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on September 16, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Annals of Internal Medicine: “The effect of fruit and vegetable intake on risk for coronary heart disease.” 

Archives of Ophthalmology: “Prospective Study of Intake of Fruits, Vegetables, Vitamins, and Carotenoids and Risk of Age-Related Maculopathy.”

Blood Pressure: “Svendsen M, Tonstad S, Heggen E, et al. The effect of kiwifruit consumption on blood pressure in subjects with moderately elevated blood pressure: a randomized, controlled study.”

Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry: “Actinidin enhances gastric protein digestion as assessed using an in vitro gastric digestion model.” 

Nutrition and Cancer: “Kiwifruit protects against oxidative DNA damage in human cells and in vitro.” 

Stroke: “Serum vitamin C concentration was inversely associated with subsequent 20-year incidence of stroke in a Japanese rural community.”

Thorax: “Consumption of fresh fruit rich in vitamin C and wheezing symptoms in children.”

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