Health Benefits of Kiwi Fruits
Kiwi fruits are the edible fruits that are produced by plants in the genus ‘Actinidia Lindl’. Kiwi plants originated from China where they grow wild, and they were brought to New Zealand in the early twentieth century by missionaries where they were eventually domesticated and cultivated. In China this fruit is known as ‘mihoutao’ and later it became known as ‘Chinese gooseberry’ in New Zealand.
Within 10 years, kiwi fruits had replaced the ‘Chinese gooseberry’ as the common name for the fruit. Day by day, the kiwi fruits have been gaining its popularity due to its nutritional values and increasing popularity all over the world. In this article, we will discuss about the health benefits of kiwi fruits and why kiwi fruits are best for you.
Nutritional Values and Health Benefits of Kiwi Fruits:
Kiwi fruits are high in vitamin C, dietary fiber and other numerous health benefiting phytochemicals. It is also high in potassium and magnesium. In addition, kiwi fruits also contain usually high levels of myoinositol, a cyclic sugar alcohol found in many foods. Kiwis are not significant source of energy.
Nutritional Values of Kiwi Fruits:
Kiwi fruits contain approximately 2 -3% of non-starch polysaccharide. Recent studies have shown that the dietary fiber of both green and gold kiwifruit constitutes about one-thirds of the insoluble fiber. However, gold kiwi fruits contain less dietary fiber than green. The soluble fraction of fibers is composed of peptic polysaccharide, while the insoluble fiber is mostly cellulose and hemicellulose with small amounts of pectin. Kiwi fruits can supply 10% of the recommended daily dietary fiber requirement.
Glucose, fructose and sucrose are the predominant sugars contained in Actinidia. The content and ratio of the sugars vary with stages of maturity and variety of kiwi fruits.
Kiwi fruits are not the significant source of protein. Kiwi fruits contain actinidin, which is a cysteine protease known for its protein hydrolytic properties. Actinidin is the predominant soluble protein in green kiwi fruits accounting for 40% of soluble protein. The other proteins identified include kiwellin and a thaumatin-like protein. Scientific reports on the role of actinidin in adding digestion and digestive mobility are available.
Kiwi fruits contain fairly high levels of vitamin E. The lipid content in kiwi fruits is entirely confined to the seeds.
Kiwi fruits contain a variety of carotenoids compounds such as β-Carotene, lutein, violaxanthin and neoxanthin. Lutein and β-Carotene are the most abundant carotenoids. Among the various commonly consumed fruits, kiwi fruits contain the highest amount of lutein.
Citric, malic and quinic acids together with much smaller amounts of glucuronic and galacturonic acids form the major acids in kiwi fruits. Quinic acid occurs exceptionally high in concentration in kiwi fruits.
Phytochemicals analysis of crude extracts of kiwi fruits pulp from the ‘Hayward’ led to the identification of two caffeic acid glycyl derivatives, 2 coumarin glucosides, campesterol, chlorogenic acid and some flavone and flavonol compounds. Phenolic compounds were separated and identified in kiwi fruit juice.
Health Benefits of Kiwi Fruits:
There are many health benefits of kiwi fruits but among them the following health benefits of kiwi fruits are discussed here:
Antioxidant Health Benefits of Kiwi Fruits:
Dietary antioxidants protect the cells from the oxidative reactive oxygen spices generated during various cellular processes. Evidence from various studies support the role of diet rich in fruits and vegetables in helping to reduce the risk from degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Generally, kiwi fruits have the high antioxidant capacity that appears to be largely influenced by vitamin C and polyphenol levels. Kiwi fruits contain an array of antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin and other phytochemicals. Fruits of 8 Actinidia genotypes were evaluated for their antioxidant capacity by various studies.
Regular consumption of green or yellow Kiwi fruits also increase vitamin C, vitamin E and lutein/zeaxanthin levels in plasma. Consumption of green kiwi fruits were associated with increased antioxidant capacity postprandially and thus may play a role in preventing postprandial oxidative stress. Studies also showed increased resistance towards oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes with daily consumption of 1-3 green or gold kiwi fruits.
Gut Health and Metabolic Function:
Kiwi fruits are high in both soluble and insoluble fibers containing about 3.4 g fiber per 100 g fruit. Kiwi fruits contain high lignin content, which contributes to their insoluble dietary fiber content. Kiwi fruits have also for its strong laxative properties. Evidence suggests that increased solubilization of polymers occurs during ripening within the cell walls of kiwi fruit, resulting in an enhanced ability to hold water.
Several studies have demonstrated the usefulness of kiwi fruits consumption in the treatment of constipation in healthy elderly persons. Actinidin, the proteolytic enzyme in kiwi fruits, also enhance the protein digestion in both the stomach and small intestine in concern with the gastric and intestinal proteases.
Health Benefits of Kiwi Fruits as Immunity Booster:
Kiwi fruits are good source of various phytonutrients and chemicals associated with healthy immune system. A small number of animal an human cell-based studies have investigated the immunomodulatory effects associated with kiwi fruits consumption. Gold kiwi fruits extract significantly enhanced innate and adaptive immune cell function of human blood cells.
Studies conducted in older adults and preschool children investigated the effects of regular consumption of gold kiwi fruits on the incidence and symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. These studies demonstrated that consumption of gold kiwi fruits reduced symptoms of cold and flu. Increases in plasma vitamin C, tocopherol, lutein and erythrocyte folate concentration were also noticed in the older adults who consumed gold kiwi fruits.
Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Kiwi Fruits:
Consumption of 2 green kiwi fruits daily for 4 weeks favorably affected plasma HDL-C, TC/HDL-C ratio. Some other studies have also showed that the consumption of 1-3 green or gold kiwi fruits per day for 4-8 weeks increased HD-C, decreased TC/HDL-C ratio and decreased triglycerides. In male smokers, consumption of 3 green kiwi fruits per day for 8 weeks significantly reduced diastolic and systolic pressure compared with the control treatment. Several studies investigated on the effects of Actinidia on process and factors associated with the optimal cardiovascular health.
Anti Cancer Activity of Kiwi Fruits:
Various extracts from gold kiwi fruits showed selective cytotoxicity against human oral tumor cell lines. Extracts or juices from kiwi fruits showed anti-cancer effects and showed cytotoxic actions against human adenocarcinoma and human liver carcinoma cell lines.
Other Health Benefits of Kiwi Fruits:
In ancient China, Actinidia plants were used for symptom relief of numerous disorders, such as digestive problems, rheumatism, dyspepsia and hemorrhoids, as well as a therapy for various cancers. Extracts from various plants arts of kiwi (leaves, fruit, stem) showed antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains.
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