Originally known as Chinese gooseberry, the kiwi fruit (Actinidia deliciosa) is named after New Zealand’s national bird.
Kiwis contain high amounts of quercetin (a plant antioxidant) that could reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.[1,2,3] Lutein, a carotenoid antioxidant in kiwis, can also be useful for eye health.[4,5]
Kiwis contain bioactive substances that can lower the blood pressure, and have blood-thinning effects that can decrease the risk of blood clots. [6,7,8] The fruit can also lower triglyceride levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol, thus improving the balance of healthy fats in the blood.[8,9,10]
Kiwis also have actinidin, a unique plant compound, that breaks protein down. Lab experiments and animal studies show that actinidin could improve protein digestion in the gut.[11,12,13]
Kiwis For Constipation
Constipation can be a distressing issue and is characterized by hard stools and bowel irregularity. Kiwis have a natural laxative effect which can be useful in relieving constipation.
A clinical study done on 38 elderly women and men found that eating one kiwi for every 30kg of body weight every day for three weeks was linked with softer and more frequent bowel movements. In another study, 33 people with constipation problems who had two kiwis every day for two weeks had significantly improved.
A study done on patients having irritable bowel syndrome with constipation found that eating two kiwis every day for four weeks increased the frequency of their bowel movements.
How To Take It
- Eat one kiwi twice daily for three weeks to ease constipation.
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2. Lee DE, Shin BJ, Hur HJ, Kim JH, Kim J, Kang NJ, Kim DO, Lee CY, Lee KW, Lee HJ. Quercetin, the active phenolic component in kiwifruit, prevents hydrogen peroxide-induced inhibition of gap-junction intercellular communication. Br J Nutr. 2010 Jul;104(2):164-70. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510000346. Epub 2010 Mar 22. PubMed PMID: 20302682.
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5. O’Connell, Orla F. et al.Xanthophyll carotenoids are more bioaccessible from fruits than dark green vegetables. Nutrition Research , Volume 27 , Issue 5 , 258 – 264
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controlled study. Blood Press. 2015 Feb;24(1):48-54. doi: 10.3109/08037051.2014.976979. Epub 2014 Dec 8. PubMed PMID: 25483553.
7. Karlsen A, Svendsen M, Seljeflot I, Laake P, Duttaroy AK, Drevon CA, Arnesen H, Tonstad S, Blomhoff R. Kiwifruit decreases blood pressure and whole-blood platelet aggregation in male smokers. J Hum Hypertens. 2013 Feb;27(2):126-30.
doi: 10.1038/jhh.2011.116. Epub 2012 Jan 19. PubMed PMID: 22258209.
8. Duttaroy AK, Jørgensen A. Effects of kiwi fruit consumption on platelet aggregation and plasma lipids in healthy human volunteers. Platelets. 2004 Aug;15(5):287-92. PubMed PMID: 15370099.
9. Chang WH, Liu JF. Effects of kiwifruit consumption on serum lipid profiles and antioxidative status in hyperlipidemic subjects. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009 Dec;60(8):709-16. doi: 10.3109/09637480802063517. PubMed PMID: 19919518.
10. Gammon CS, Kruger R, Minihane AM, Conlon CA, von Hurst PR, Stonehouse W. Kiwifruit consumption favourably affects plasma lipids in a randomised controlled trial in hypercholesterolaemic men. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jun 28;109(12):2208-18. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512004400. Epub 2012 Nov 14. PubMed PMID: 23151354.
11. Kaur L, Rutherfurd SM, Moughan PJ, Drummond L, Boland MJ. Actinidin enhances gastric protein digestion as assessed using an in vitro gastric digestion model. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 28;58(8):5068-73. doi: 10.1021/jf903332a. PubMed
12. Kaur L, Rutherfurd SM, Moughan PJ, Drummond L, Boland MJ. Actinidin enhances protein digestion in the small intestine as assessed using an in vitro digestion model. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 28;58(8):5074-80. doi: 10.1021/jf903835g. PubMed PMID: 20232891.
13. Montoya CA, Hindmarsh JP, Gonzalez L, Boland MJ, Moughan PJ, Rutherfurd SM. Dietary actinidin from kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Hayward) increases gastric digestion and the gastric emptying rate of several dietary proteins in
growing rats. J Nutr. 2014 Apr;144(4):440-6. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.185744. Epub 2014 Jan 15. PubMed PMID: 24431326.
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16. Chang CC, Lin YT, Lu YT, Liu YS, Liu JF. Kiwifruit improves bowel function in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19(4):451-7. PubMed PMID: 21147704.