Kiwi Fruit RevelationsFebruary 6, 2012 Written by JP [Font too small?]
Nutritionists often advocate more fruits and vegetables in the average person’s diet. This is good, albeit incomplete advice. It’s kind of like saying, “Walking is a great form of exercise”. However, walking in a lush park is far more advisable than walking alongside a polluted downtown street. Likewise, increased consumption of just any fruits and vegetables won’t necessarily promote better health. Rather, focusing on low-glycemic, nutrient dense produce is a much better strategy. In practical terms, this means opting for leafy green vegetables instead of potatoes and fruits like kiwis instead of bananas.
Kiwis are an extraordinary and underappreciated fruit. They’re low in calories, rich in nutrients and suitable for just about anyone – including many diabetics. The medical literature is replete with examples of why we should all consider eating more of this exotic fruit. For starters, several recent studies reveal that eating kiwi fruits daily effectively: lowers diastolic blood pressure by 9 mm Hg and systolic blood pressure by 10 mm Hg; improves circulation by inhibiting platelet aggregation; and elevates HDL (“good”) cholesterol. These findings are very encouraging, but not altogether unexpected. Kiwis are an abundant source of cardioprotective nutrients (fiber, potassium and Vitamin K) and potent antioxidants (lutein, Vitamin C and zeaxanthin), which theoretically should benefit heart health. The difference now is that we have scientific evidence to confirm this assumption.
The cardiovascular benefits conferred by kiwis is reason enough to recommend them. But, what’s truly fascinating is the sheer breadth of their health promoting potential. Current research reports that eating kiwis daily: 1) reduces the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections; 2) benefits sleep quality by hastening sleep onset; 3) regulates reproductive hormones and symptoms relating to peri-menopause; 4) enhances the absorption of dietary and supplemental iron; 5) gently relieves constipation in various populations including children and those with irritable bowel syndrome; 6) improves lung function in youngsters with wheezing symptoms; 7) supports healthier vision thanks to high concentrations of antioxidant carotenoids.
Most of the studies referenced today utilized 2 to 4 kiwis daily. This is a reasonable amount for most people to enjoy provided that no allergy to kiwi is known or suspected. Allergic reactions to this otherwise amazing fruit are indeed possible and can be severe. When selecting kiwis, it’s important to note that conventionally grown varieties are fine to purchase. A recent analysis by the Environmental Working Group determined that non-organic kiwis contain very low pesticide residues. I recommend eating kiwis along with a good source of fat in order to enhance the absorption of the fat soluble antioxidants and nutrients. Personally, I like to eat with them with Greek yogurt or organic cottage cheese. They can also be mixed into smoothies containing organic coconut milk as a source of healthy lipids. And, if you ask me, adding organic strawberries to the mix makes it even better.
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – Kiwifruit Decreases Blood Pressure and Whole-Blood Platelet … (link)
Study 2 – Effects of Kiwifruit Consumption on Serum Lipid Profiles and … (link)
Study 4 – Effect of Kiwifruit Consumption on Sleep Quality in Adults w/ Sleep … (link)
Study 5 – A Preliminary Study of the Effectiveness of Chinese Therapeutic Food … (link)
Study 7 – Kiwifruit Improves Bowel Function in Patients with Irritable Bowel … (link)
Study 8 – Increasing Dietary Fiber Intake in Terms of Kiwifruit Improves … (link)
Study 9 – Consumption of Fresh Fruit Rich in Vitamin C and Wheezing Symptoms … (link)
Study 10 – Fruits and Vegetables That are Sources for Lutein and Zeaxanthin … (link)
Kiwis Contain High Concentrations of Antioxidants Including Vitamin C
Source: British Journal of Nutrition (2002), 87 : pp 55-59 (link)
Tags: High Blood Pressure, Iron, Sleep
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Women's Health