If you know your kiwi fruit facts, you are aware that the small, exotic fruit is more than just delicious; it's also a nutritional powerhouse.
History of Kiwi Fruit
The kiwi fruit, also known as the Chinese gooseberry, originally came to New Zealand via missionaries from China in the early 20th century. However, the small and unique fruits didn't make it to the United States until 1961, when a produce distributor took note of the kiwi's fuzzy brown skin and bright green flesh and recognized the potential demand for a new exotic fruit. Today, the kiwi fruit soars in both popularity and recognition, and it is grown commercially in a number of countries including the United States, Chile, France, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.
Nutritional Kiwi Fruit Facts
While sliced kiwi fruit makes a colorful and tasty addition to any fruit platter or salad, the kiwis provide much more than an attractive color contrast to any dish. They may be small, but kiwi fruit are loaded with important nutrients. For example, consider the following nutritional kiwi fruit facts:
- Excellent source of vitamin C (more than that found in oranges)
- Excellent source of vitamin K
- Good source of vitamin E
- Excellent source of polyphenols
- Good source of magnesium
- Good source of copper
- Good source of potassium
Health Benefits from Kiwis
While eating fruit is part of a healthy vegetarian diet, kiwi fruit is particularly noted for its potential ability to aid digestion. According to Dole, kiwis can also help with the following conditions:
- Help manage blood pressure
- Reduce blood clot risk
- Reduce asthma symptoms
Kiwi and Food Allergies
While it's easy to get caught up in the health benefits that may result from including kiwi fruit in your diet, it's also important to note that kiwi is a recognized food allergen. The U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health report a wide range of allergic reactions to kiwi fruit. Symptoms may include:
- Burning, tingling, or itching of the mouth, tongue, or lips
- Swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips, or throat
In rare instances, people who are allergic to kiwi fruit may experience a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis. The symptoms come on quickly and must be treated as a medical emergency. Studies have shown that children are at a greater risk for a severe allergic reaction to kiwi fruit.
Most people prefer to peel kiwi fruit before eating them. However, the skin is edible if you can get past the fuzzy texture. Many people agree that kiwis are delicious, but not everyone agrees about what they taste like. Some people think the juicy green flesh tastes similar to strawberries, while others compare them to melons or grapes. In some cases, people have compared them to bananas, but that comparison may have more to do with the tiny black seeds that ring the center of the fruit. Truthfully, kiwi has a unique sweet flavor all its own.
A Healthy, Low-Fat Food
Kiwi fruit make a nice addition to any vegetarian or vegan diet, including a raw food diet, as long as you aren't allergic to them. They are a low-fat, tasty option that's high in antioxidants, and they have a flavor that complements other fruits. Kiwis also make a healthy addition to fruit smoothies or a nice appetizer when paired with cheese.
Whether you choose to eat kiwi fruit alone or as part of a dish, it's one little fruit that is sure to please your taste buds.