7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Medically reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD on December 14, 2016Written by Ana Gotter

Overview

Kiwis are small fruits that pack a lot of flavor and plenty of health benefits. Their green flesh is sweet and tangy. It’s also full of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, and potassium. They also have a lot of antioxidants and are a good source of fiber. Their small black seeds are edible, as is the fuzzy brown peel, though many prefer to peel the kiwi before eating it.

Thanks to different growing locations, kiwis can be in season year-round. They’re grown in California from November to May, and in New Zealand from June to October. Kiwi can also be found in supplement form.

1. Can help treat asthma

asthma

It’s thought that the high amount of vitamin C and antioxidants that kiwis contain can actually help treat people with asthma. One study from 2000 found that there was a beneficial effect on the lung function among those who consumed fresh fruit regularly, including kiwis. Fresh fruit like kiwi may reduce wheezing in susceptible children.

2. Aids digestion

Kiwis have plenty of fiber, which is already good for digestion. They also contain a proteolytic enzyme called actinidin that can help break down protein. One study recently found that kiwi extract containing actinidin greatly enhanced the digestion of most proteins.

3. Boosts the immune system

immune system

Kiwis are nutrient-dense and full of vitamin C. In fact, just 1 cup of kiwi provides about 273 percent of your daily recommended value. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient when it comes to boosting your immune system to ward off disease. One study even found that kiwis may support immune function and reduce the likelihood of developing cold- or flu-like illnesses. This is especially true in at-risk groups like adults over the age of 65 and young children.

4. Reduces risk of other health conditions

Oxidative stress can result in damage to our DNA. This can lead to health problems. Partially thanks to its antioxidants, there is some evidence from an older study that regular consumption of kiwi or kiwi extract reduces the likelihood of oxidative stress.

Since oxidative DNA damage is strongly linked to colon cancer, regular kiwi consumption could lower your risk of colon cancer, too.

5. Can help manage blood pressure

blood pressure

Not only can kiwi fruits provide an extra boost to our immune system, they can also help us to manage our blood pressure. A 2014 study found evidence that the bioactive substances in three kiwis a day can lower blood pressure more than one apple a day. Long term, this may also mean a lowered risk for conditions that can be caused by high blood pressure, like strokes or heart attacks.

6. Reduces blood clotting

In addition to helping us manage our blood pressure, kiwis can actually reduce blood clotting. A study from the University of Oslo found that eating two to three kiwis a day significantly lowered the risk of blood clotting. They were also found to reduce the amount of fat in the blood. Researchers said that these effects were similar to those of a daily dose of aspirin to improve heart health.

7. Protects against vision loss

eyesight

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, and kiwis might help protect your eyes from it. One study found that by eating three servings of fruit a day, macular degeneration was decreased by 36 percent. Kiwis’ high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein are thought to contribute to this effect.

Potential risks

Eating kiwi fruit is regarded as safe for most people. The main exception is for those who are allergic. Signs of a kiwi allergy include itchy throat, swollen tongue, trouble swallowing, vomiting, and hives. Your risk for allergy to kiwi increases if you’re also allergic to hazelnuts, avocados, latex, wheat, figs, or poppy seeds.

In rare cases, kiwis could slow blood clotting, increasing bleeding. This could increase the severity of bleeding disorders. If you have a bleeding disorder or are about to have surgery, avoid eating kiwis.

Forms and dosages

kiwi smoothie

Kiwis can be eaten as they are or blended into a smoothie. It is best not to cook kiwi so it retains its vitamin C content. It can also be taken as a supplement. Supplements can be in powder, tablet, or capsule form, and are typically made from kiwi extract.

The dosage you take depends on factors like age, health status, and what you’re trying to treat. Eating one to three kiwis a day is enough for most people to get the boost of nutrients from the fruit. A daily dose of some kiwi powders is about 5.5 grams. Follow the instructions on supplements you take, and ask your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen. They’ll be able to tell you how much is safe for you.

Recipes

If you want to add more kiwi to your diet to reap its benefits, you can easily incorporate it into a number of recipes. They’re great to add to your breakfast, either alone or sliced on top of Greek yogurt. Here are a few other great kiwi recipe ideas:

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