Kiwi and its Many Health Benefits

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Kiwi is a type of tropical berry that belongs to the genus Actinidia. No bigger than a chicken egg, the kiwi fruit is characterized by a hairy, greenish brown rind and a bright green or golden flesh. The fruit tastes tangy and sweet. The flesh’s texture is very similar to that of a strawberry.

Kiwi fruits are available all year round in most grocery stores. It’s often eaten on its own or as an ingredient in fruit salads, tarts or in smoothies. According to the US Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid, kiwis offer a myriad of health benefits. These benefits include:

Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber cuts the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It also keeps the digestive tract healthy, cleanses the colon and makes you feel fuller for longer. Fiber also prevents chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes and obesity. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women consume 25 grams of fiber and 38 grams of fiber for men. Just a cup of sliced kiwi yields about 5 grams of fiber. Considering how small one kiwi is, that’s a lot of fiber! Boost your consumption of fiber by adding generous slices of kiwi fruit to your favorite salad, baked goods or smoothies!

Packed With Vitamin C

Just like all berries, kiwi fruit is packed with vitamin C. In fact, just a cup of kiwi yields 270% of your daily recommended allowance of ascorbic acid! Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and acts as an antioxidant. It protects from free radical damage that leads to chronic diseases. Vitamin C also keeps the teeth and gums healthy. It also promotes the repair and formation of tissues, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels and skin!

Loaded with Vitamin K

Vitamin K is an essential nutrient that thins out the viscosity of the blood. This helps prevent blood related disorders including blood clots, stroke and arterial problems. A cup of kiwi fruit yields about 89% of your recommended daily allowance of this vitamin! Vitamin K also aids in the absorption of vitamin D.

High in Potassium

Potassium is a mineral that balances the body fluids. It also aids in the absorption of other minerals. Potassium deficiency leads to general weakness, irregular heartbeat and heart disease. By eating potassium-rich fruits like kiwi, your heart stays strong and healthy! This mineral also lowers blood pressure. Just a serving of kiwi contains 552 mg. of potassium. That’s more than the 467 mg. of potassium found in small bananas!

Low in Calories

Good news to those who are watching what they eat, kiwi is a bonafide dieter’s food! It’s so low in calories, you can eat more and not gain weight. A medium-sized kiwi fruit yields a measly 46 calories. A full cup of sliced kiwi contains 108 calories, about the same caloric amount as a medium banana. You can replace unhealthy snacks with kiwi if you want to lose weight. It’s a low calorie, vitamin rich snack.

If you want to give your morning cereal a nutritional boost, why not add a couple of kiwi slices too? Blend chopped kiwi fruits to your smoothies or eat it alone to satisfy your sweet tooth!