Kiwi fruit has become very popular over the years due to its sweet, yet semi-tart taste. What many people may not be aware of is the health benefits of kiwi fruit. Ongoing scientific research has begun to uncover both the preventative and healing aspects of kiwi.
Main Benefits of Kiwi
The following kiwi benefits have been established by traditional uses and validated by numerous scientific studies, including human clinical trials.
Kiwi for Improving Sleep
One of the primary kiwi fruit benefits is its ability to help people with sleep disorders due to its antioxidants and serotonin levels.
A study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2011) tested the effects of kiwi consumption in 24 adults with sleep problems. After four weeks eating two kiwi fruits one hour before bedtime, the participants showed a 13.4% increase in total sleep time and a 5.41% increase in sleep efficiency. The study concluded that kiwifruit may improve sleep onset, duration, and efficiency in adults with sleep troubles.
Kiwi for Treating and Preventing Cardiovascular Disease
In 2009, the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition published a study that included 43 individuals with hyperlipidemia. They consumed two kiwifruit per day for eight weeks. Two of the major findings were a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and a significant decrease in the low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol.
REGULAR CONSUMPTION OF KIWI FRUIT MAY PREVENT OXIDATION AND REDUCE RISK FACTORS FOR CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE.
Kiwi nutrition includes vitamins E and C (ascorbic acid), both of which are credited with its beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease by supporting blood circulation.
Secondary Benefits of Kiwi
The secondary benefits of kiwi include those not so frequently used nor widely studied, but those which have been suggested by some scientific evidence in human subjects, although further research is needed.
Kiwi for Boosting Immune System Activity
Kiwi benefits the immune system through its vitamin C, which strengthens the natural defenses of the body and improves the tone and texture of skin.
According to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (2013), the vitamins in kiwi fruit benefit immune function and reduce the occurrence and severity of cold or flu-like illness in older adults and children. Additional discovered benefits of kiwi confirmed in the study are its ability to improve reduced iron levels and help with digestion and constipation. The study also notes, however, that kiwi fruit is allergenic for some individuals, so mild symptoms may result from consumption.
Kiwi for Regulating Digestive Functions
Adding to the well-known benefits of kiwi fiber for digestion, actinidain, a potent protein-dissolving enzyme in kiwi, has been widely studied.
A double-blind study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2002) tested kiwi for easing digestion in 38 healthy adults of over 60 years, divided in two groups. The ones who ate one kiwi for every 30 kg (66 lb) of body weight daily over the course of three weeks showed significant improvements in all tested measures of laxation. The study concluded that regular consumption of kiwi fruit may lead to bulkier and softer stools, as well as more frequent stool production.
Kiwi for Treating Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Kiwi fruit is considered potentially helpful in the healing of diabetic ulcers thanks to the ability of its compounds to assist in the development new blood vessels from existing ones.
A study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences (2014) tested the use of kiwi extract to treat neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers in 37 patients. Over the course of 21 days, 17 individuals covered the ulcers with pure kiwifruit extract twice daily, while the 20 individuals in the control group received standard treatments. It was discovered that the actinidain improved the healing process of the wound. The study reached the conclusion that kiwi fruit is an easy and effective way to treat neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers.
Unconfirmed Kiwi Benefits
The unconfirmed benefits of kiwi are those not so frequently used nor widely studied, but suggested by some preclinical trials. New studies suggest kiwi fruit benefits that require further research to reach a complete understanding.
Recent studies on the benefits of kiwi have shown promising results, suggesting that kiwi may be useful for improving insulin resistance, coagulation, and iron absorption. More research is also being performed to determine the effects of kiwi in promoting fetal development - though science suggests this could be due to the presence of vitamin B9 (folate) - as well as kiwi benefits for muscle function, which have been attributed to its magnesium content.
Extensive research has shed light on some of the kiwi health benefits, but further studies will help determine the fruit's full potential.
- Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Effect of kiwifruit consumption on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems, 2011 | Kiwifruit promotes laxation in the elderly, 2002.
- Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, Kiwifruit: our daily prescription for health, 2012
- International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Effects of kiwifruit consumption on serum lipid profiles and antioxidative status in hyperlipidemic subjects, 2009
- Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, Effects of topical Kiwifruit on healing of neuropathic diabetic foot ulcer, 2014
- World Journal of Gastroenterology, Increasing dietary fiber intake in terms of kiwifruit improves constipation in Chinese patients, 2007
- Nutrition Journal, Effects of kiwi consumption on plasma lipids, fibrinogen and insulin resistance in the context of a normal diet, 2015
- Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, Cardioprotective properties of kiwifruit, 2013