The kiwifruit, or Chinese gooseberry, originally grew wild in China. Kiwis are a nutrient-dense food — they are rich in in nutrients and low in calories.
A schoolteacher introduced the fruit to New Zealand in 1904, upon returning from China with seeds. The New Zealanders called it “kiwi” after their national bird.
Kiwi has a reputation as a health food because of its high vitamin C content, but the fruit is also rich in other nutrients. These may help reduce blood pressure, boost wound healing, help maintain bowel health, and more.
Below, learn more about the potential benefits and risks of adding kiwi to the diet.
Kiwi and other fruits provide a range of health benefits due to their nutritional contents. Kiwis are a good source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber.
Antioxidants — including vitamin C, choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin — help remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that the body produces during metabolism and other processes.
If too many free radicals build up, they can cause oxidative stress, which can result in cell damage. This damage may lead to issues such as heart disease or cancer. Antioxidants can help protect the body by removing free radicals.
Which other foods are good sources of antioxidants?
The nutrients in kiwi may benefit a person in the following ways.
A 2019 review of studies found that taking oral collagen supplements may help boost skin elasticity and hydration and reduce wrinkles. Taking supplements is not the same as consuming vitamin C in kiwis, but eating the fruit may still help keep the skin healthy.
Kiwifruit also provides vitamin E, or tocopherol. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E and its ability to help protect the skin from sun damage may help prevent skin disorders.
Learn more about skin-friendly foods.
A 2011 study looked at the effects of kiwifruit on sleep quality in adults with sleep problems. The researchers found that eating kiwis improved sleep, according to self-reported measures.
The scientists suggested that this benefit may stem from the antioxidant and serotonin contents of kiwis.
Heart health and blood pressure
Kiwis contain fiber, potassium, and antioxidants, all of which may support heart health.
The American Heart Association (AHA) encourage people to increase their potassium intake while reducing their consumption of added salt, or sodium.
Potassium relaxes the blood vessels, which helps manage blood pressure, and people with low blood pressure tend to be less likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
Kiwi’s fiber content may also benefit cardiovascular health. A review published in 2017 found that people who consume high amounts of fiber have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. They also tend to have less low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol.
Which foods may help manage high blood pressure?
Kidney stone prevention
The National Cancer Institute note that high levels of free radicals in the body can cause damage to DNA that can result in various types of cancer.
Kiwis provide a range of antioxidants that help remove free radicals from the body. This is one way in which the fruit may help prevent cancer.
How may the diet affect cancer? Find out here.
A 2019 study concluded that when healthy people eat kiwis, their small intestines are better able to retain water, leading to greater stool frequency and softer stool consistency.
The study authors suggested that kiwifruit could be a natural alternative to medical laxatives for people with mild constipation.
Which other foods are good for constipation?
Kiwellin and kissper are proteins in kiwifruit that may have anti-inflammatory properties.
Kiwifruit contains folate, which is essential for cell division. During pregnancy, doctors advise women to take additional folate, as it may protect the fetus from developmental problems, such as neural tube abnormalities.
Learn more about the benefits of folate.
Vitamin K also plays an important role in blood clotting.
One kiwi provides 23–30% of an adult’s daily requirement of the vitamin.
Learn more about osteoporosis.
The table below shows the amounts of specific nutrients in a kiwi weighing 69 g.
It also shows how much of each nutrient an adult needs per day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020. However, specific requirements vary, depending on a person’s age and sex.
|Nutrient||Amount in 1 kiwi (69 g)||Daily adult requirement|
|Carbohydrates (g)||10.1, including 6.2 g of sugar||130|
|Vitamin C (mg)||64||65–90|
|Beta carotene (mcg)||35.9||No data|
|Lutein & zeaxanthin (mcg)||84.2||No data|
|Vitamin E (mg)||1.0||15|
|Vitamin K (mcg)||27.8||75–120|
Kiwi also contains small amounts of iron, vitamin A, and vitamins other than folate.
Below are some tips for incorporating kiwis into the diet:
- Make kiwi cups by cutting a ripe kiwi in half, leaving the skin on, and eating each half with a spoon.
- Make a fruit cocktail with kiwi, pineapple, mango, and strawberry chunks.
- Make a green smoothie or juice with kiwi, spinach, apple, and pear.
- Freeze slices of kiwi and eat them as a snack or dessert on a hot day.
- Add diced kiwi to a salad of spinach, walnuts, dried cranberries, diced apple, feta cheese, and a light vinaigrette dressing.
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Some nutrients in kiwis may interact with medications or cause other adverse effects.
Doctors often prescribe these medications for people with heart disease.
Beta-blockers can cause potassium levels to rise in the blood, so people taking this type of medication should monitor their intake of potassium.
Consuming too much potassium can also be harmful for people whose kidneys are not working properly.
If the kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, life-threatening complications can arise.
People at risk of cardiovascular disease may take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
Kiwi contains a significant amount of vitamin K, which can interfere with the action of blood thinners. Anyone who uses these drugs should check with a doctor before increasing their intake of foods that contain vitamin K.
A severe reaction can lead to anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
Find out more here about a kiwi allergy.
Kiwifruit is a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants. It can make a healthful snack, it can be easy to pack in lunch boxes, and it can add flavor to sweet dishes and salads.
Kiwis are also on the Environmental Working Group’s 2019 Clean Fifteen list of foods least likely to contain pesticides.
Kiwis are available fresh, dried, or as juice. Various kiwi products are available for purchase online. https://amzn.to/2XeMUSJ
Is kiwifruit suitable for a person with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?