Kiwis are those small, fuzzy, oval fruits made popular in New Zealand but now enjoyed worldwide. Inside the peel is green flesh that’s sweet and tangy. But behind the delicious taste, kiwi packs a lot of nutrition, including vitamins C, K, and E, folate, and potassium. It also has a good deal of fiber and antioxidants, both of which can improve your life significantly.
Even if you haven’t eaten a whole kiwi fruit before, chances are you are familiar with the taste as it is commonly used in combination with strawberry for juices and fruit toppings. Kiwi is also a frequent star in store-bought smoothies. But we’re here to encourage you to bring kiwi home.
Because they are currently grown in multiple world locations, kiwis can be purchased year-round. From November-May you will find kiwi from California, while during the months of June-October, it will likely have been imported from New Zealand.
But wherever it is from, studies show that eating the equivalent of three kiwi fruits every day can have some major health benefits. We were especially surprised by #4. So don’t hesitate – read up on all the great things kiwi can do for your body, then go out and get some!
1. Stronger Immune System
Beyond the diverse nutritional profile, kiwis contain a lot of antioxidants, especially vitamin C. Eating just one cup of kiwi well exceeds your daily recommended intake of C (but don’t worry; you can’t overdose). Studies have shown that diets high in vitamin C can improve immune system function and may even help ward off bugs like the common cold and flu.
Young children and people over 65 seem to especially benefit from kiwi’s protective capacity.
2. Better digestion
For starters, kiwi (like most fruits) contains a lot of fiber. Fiber is critical for adding enough bulk to stool to allow it to pass easily. Diets high in fiber lower the incidence of constipation and keep you regular. But that’s not the only way kiwi supports digestion. It also contains a proteolytic enzyme called actinidin.
This enzyme has been found to help break down the protein in your meals, allowing for more complete and effective digestion.
3. Healthier Blood Pressure
Kiwis contain certain bioactive substances that have been found to lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that eating three kiwis per day can lower blood pressure more than the fabled “apple a day.”
The reason is most likely the rich lutein content; lutein is a powerful antioxidant. This is great news because high blood pressure tends to be asymptomatic until it causes another health crisis, such as heart attack or stroke.
4. Reduced Vision Loss
One of the leading causes of vision loss is a disease called macular degeneration. Studies have shown that eating three kiwis per day can protect you from it.
In this case, the lutein in kiwis get an assist from a compound called zeaxanthin to reduce the risk of macular degeneration by 36%. Kiwis are also thought to protect against the formation of cataracts.
5. Heart Attack Protection
It is common for doctors to advise their patients to take a baby aspirin each day to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke. The idea is that aspirin thins the blood and reduces clotting that can block arteries and veins. But aspirin also carries a risk for bleeding disorders.
If you’re on a daily aspirin regimen, talk to your doctor about the potential for using kiwi instead. A study out of the University of Oslo found that eating 2-3 kiwis per day has a similar effect on the body as aspirin, reducing clotting and lowering the amount of fat that hangs out in the bloodstream.
6. Better Overall Health
Oxidative stress occurs due to cellular mayhem caused by free radicals, and can result in damage to our DNA. This leads to premature aging as well as a multitude of health problems. Partially thanks to its antioxidants, there is some evidence that regular consumption of kiwi or kiwi extract can prevent damage to your DNA due to unchecked free radicals.
Experts know that oxidative DNA damage is strongly linked to colon cancer, so regular consumption of kiwi could also lower your risk of that deadly disease as well as keep you looking and feeling young.
Kiwi is safe for most people to consume on a daily basis, unless they happen to be allergic to it. Signs of kiwi allergy may be as mild as an itchy throat, but could also include a swollen tongue, hives, difficulty swallowing, and even vomiting. Certain other allergies increase your risk for a sensitivity to kiwi, including avocado, wheat, poppy seed, hazelnut, figs, or latex. If you are allergic to any of these things, speak to your doctor about an allergy test for kiwi before adding it to your daily diet.
In rare cases, kiwi may also increase the severity of bleeding disorders. It can slow blood clotting or increase bleeding. Therefore, it is best to avoid kiwi if you have a chronic bleeding disorder or are scheduled to have surgery in the near future.
Kiwi is a tasty fruit that can be eaten whole, blended into a smoothie, or run through the juicer. Its seeds are edible, as is its fuzzy skin – but most people prefer to peel kiwi before eating it. Many studies have pointed to the health benefits of eating three kiwi fruits each day, but that adds up to 21 a week! Not everyone can stomach or even afford that much kiwi, especially when it is flown in from New Zealand.
A good alternative is to take a powdered supplement made from kiwi extract. Another healthy strategy to improve the variety in your diet, yet still get the benefits of kiwi, is to add in other foods that are high in lutein, such as broccoli, kale, carrots, peas, oranges, peaches, pistachios, and eggs.