Kiwifruit is a very popular fruit, juicy, sweet, perfect for enriching fruit salads and yogurt. But kiwi is also a true superfood that is characterized by important properties for the health of the heart, gut and the whole body. Let's try to understand better on the basis, as always, of the most recent scientific research.
Kiwifruit is rich in fiber, which promotes intestinal motility, vitamin C in high quantities, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate and antioxidants. In particular, in its green variety the kiwifruit abounds in phenolic compounds while the yellow variety is the one with the highest content of vitamin C (Richardson et al, Eur J Nutr, 2018 - Wang et al, Food Chem, 2021). Also noteworthy is the fact that kiwifruit contains an enzyme called actinidin which helps digest proteins, thus facilitating digestion in both the stomach and intestines (Li et al, Peer J, 2021).
Kiwifruit and intestinal microbiota
Thanks to its polyphenols, kiwi nourishes and supports the good bacteria of the intestinal microbiota. Studies have found that kiwifruit is able to counteract the harmful effects on the microbiota of a high-fat diet. In fact, the intake of kiwifruit reduces the bacteria of the Clostridiaceae and Lachnospiraceae strains, which increase in the case of an unregulated diet and which are harmful to the intestinal barrier, and at the same time increases good bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. This beneficial action of kiwifruit is also reflected on the levels of chronic inflammation, which is also reduced with advantages for the immune system, which is strengthened, and on intestinal health with a lower risk of developing colitis (Yuan et al, Front Nutr, 2021).
Kiwifruit against constipation
Kiwi fruit is beneficial for the intestinal tract in several ways. As we have seen, the polyphenols in kiwifruit help and improve the intestinal microbiota, reducing inflammation and supporting digestion. Not only that, the fiber, water and potassium contained in the kiwis also help stimulate digestion and counter constipation, reducing the transit times of food in the intestine (Katsirma et al, Food Funct, 2021). According to studies, in the case of constipation, benefits have been observed with the intake of two ripe kiwis a day for at least two weeks (Antonelli et al, Future Pharmacology, 2021).
Kiwifruit with antitumor action and as a support for the immune system
Kiwifruit, thanks to its high content of vitamin C and antioxidants, supports the immune system, fights inflammation and cell degeneration. In particular, the consumption of kiwifruit from one to six times a week is associated with a reduction in the risk of developing lung cell degeneration in non-smokers (Garcia Lavandeira et al, Nutr Cancer, 2022). As for viruses and infections, regular consumption of kiwifruit helps reduce the duration of colds, sinusitis and sore throats (Hunter et al, Br J Nutr, 2012).
Kiwifruit, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar
Kiwi is a fruit with a low glycemic index. Not only that, the phenolic compounds present in kiwifruit help to improve the glycemic response even of the foods that are eaten together with kiwifruit. Then, the intake of two kiwifruits a day helps to reduce bad LDL cholesterol and at the same time increases good HDL cholesterol. But kiwifruit is also beneficial for blood pressure. In fact, studies have observed that the intake of three kiwis a day for three weeks has an anti-hypertensive action (Richardson et al, Eur J Nutr, 2018).
Kiwifruit and iron absorption
Vitamin C contained in kiwi promotes the absorption of iron, a useful property in case of a deficiency of this mineral. Therefore, it may be helpful to end the meal with a kiwi when, for example, we eat legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas and beans, which are a source of iron that our body alone has a harder time assimilating (Stonehouse et al, Can J Physiol Pharmacol, 2013).
Kiwifruit and insomnia
Kiwi also provides substances that promote good sleep, such as antioxidants and serotonin. Well, studies have found that consuming two kiwis in the evening before bedtime for 4 weeks led to a significant improvement in sleep quality. Indeed, in volunteers with sleep disorders the time taken to fall asleep and the number of nocturnal awakenings decreased while the time spent asleep increased (Lin et al, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2011).