Kiwis are a delicious treat by themselves, in a fruit salad, or blended into a tropical smoothie or juice. Although they are native to Asia, these delicious berries, known formally as the kiwifruit, became popular in Europe and North America during the Second World War as service members brought them back to their families to try. Now, they’re enjoyed all over the world.
If you enjoy kiwi, you’ll be happy to know that they are more than just delicious. These fruits are full of vitamins and minerals, making them an essential part of any healthy diet. Their nutritional benefits are so numerous that some people have even started classifying kiwi as a superfood.
Today, we’ll outline the nutritional benefits of kiwis, and explain why many consider them an unsung superfood.
The Nutritional Benefits of Kiwis
When you cut open a kiwi and eat its delicious green flesh, you’re consuming a ton of vitamins and minerals which offer a myriad of different health benefits. One of the most important vitamins found in kiwifruit is vitamin C.
Most people reach for fruits like oranges and strawberries when they need vitamin C. It may surprise you to learn that kiwis have a lot more vitamin C than these fruits. In fact, one cup of kiwi offers 185% of the average person’s daily value. In contrast, the same amount of orange only offers 106%.
Another health benefit that kiwis provide is their hefty amount of soluble dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is the part of a plant that can’t be digested or absorbed within the body, and as a result, helps to keep you fuller for longer. It also helps with a variety of bodily processes, including:
- Regulating bowel movements
- Lowering bad cholesterol levels
- Controlling blood sugar
Most doctors recommend consuming between 21 and 38 grams of fiber per day. One cup of sliced kiwi offers 5 grams of fiber, which is a large amount considering the small size of this fruit.
In addition to vitamin C and fiber, kiwi also contains plenty of other nutrients, including antioxidants, which are molecules that help fight free radicals. Free radicals can be dangerous if they build up in your body, and have been linked to a higher risk factor for diseases like diabetes and cancer.
What Makes a Superfood?
To determine if kiwis are a superfood, let’s first define superfoods. Currently, there’s no regulated definition for this term, but it’s being used with increasing frequency to describe a food that offers “high levels of desirable nutrients, is linked to the prevention of a disease, or is believed to offer several simultaneous health benefits beyond its nutritional value.”
Some of the most common and well-known superfoods include blueberries, salmon, kale, and green tea.
Are Kiwis a Superfood?
Even though the term ‘superfood’ is a marketing term rather than a scientific one, it still has a lot of value. Foods that are given ‘superfood’ status are prized by consumers, and their elevation ensures that the public becomes aware of their health benefits.
For this reason, we think that kiwis should be considered a superfood. Their high levels of vitamin C alone make them worthy of inclusion. Add in the fact that they’re rich in dietary fiber and other nutrients like iron, carotenoids, and antioxidants, and you’ve got an impressive amount of nutrients wrapped up in one little brown package.
Kiwis: a Superfood, and So Much More
While we would consider kiwis a superfood, they still contain plenty of sugar, and as a result, should be eaten in moderation. It’s recommended that you keep your intake at 140 grams per day or below, to ensure you’re not consuming too much sugar.
However, as long as you’re eating them in moderation, they can be consumed regularly to ensure you’re getting your daily recommended amount of vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients.
Want to learn more about the foods you eat every day and how they affect your health? GenoPalate offers tons of resources on nutrigenomics, healthy eating, and much more.