Kiwi Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

kiwi nutrition facts and health benefits
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Kiwi is a tiny fruit that packs in a lot of nutritional benefits. Sometimes referred to as kiwifruit or Chinese gooseberries, kiwis originated in China before spreading to New Zealand, and eventually, Europe and the United States. Unfortunately, kiwis can trigger a fruit allergy for some. However, for the majority of people who aren't allergic, kiwis are a delightful way to eat healthily.

Kiwi Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one green kiwi (69g).

  • Calories: 42
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Sodium: 2mg
  • Carbohydrates: 10.1g
  • Fiber: 2.1g
  • Sugars: 6.2g
  • Protein: 0.8g

Carbs

There are just over 10 grams of carbohydrates in one medium-sized green kiwi. Of the 10.1 grams, 2.1 grams come from fiber and 6.2 grams are from naturally occurring sugars. Kiwis are considered a low glycemic index fruit with a value of 52.

Fats

Kiwis are naturally low in fat with about 1/2 gram of fat per fruit. Kiwis do not contain any saturated fats.

Protein

There's almost 1 gram of protein per kiwi, meaning it is not a significant source of amino acids.

Vitamins and Minerals

In two kiwis, you get 230% of the daily value for vitamin C and 70% of vitamin K needs. Kiwis also provide potassium, vitamin E, and folate.

Health Benefits

From a health perspective, there's not very much to dislike about kiwis. With loads of antioxidants and fiber, kiwis have several health benefits to offer.

Aid Prevention of Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Kiwi itself is not a major source of iron, however, it's one of the best natural sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C significantly increases the absorption of iron, effectively preventing iron deficiencies. In a study comparing the intake of iron-fortified breakfast cereal paired with two kiwis versus a banana, the kiwi group showed an increase in serum ferritin levels.

May Shorten Duration of Cold Symptoms

A study of healthy older adults found that kiwis can help shorten the duration and intensity of upper respiratory infections like the common cold. Participants who ate four gold kiwis a day reported less severe congestion and sore throat pain associated with respiratory infections. The kiwi group also noted that symptoms resolved faster than in the control group.

Supports Heart Health

Kiwis are naturally very low in sodium and are a good source of potassium. This is a winning combination of electrolytes for blood pressure reduction. The folate in kiwis (and other fruits and vegetables) is also associated with a lower risk of stroke. Additionally, kiwis' fiber content helps keep cholesterol levels down. Including kiwis in your meal plan, especially in place of salty processed snacks, is a great way to protect your cardiovascular system.

Improves Digestive Health

Eating kiwis on their own or with meals supports healthy digestion in multiple ways. Kiwis are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, two essential nutrients for regularity (two green kiwis provide 4 grams of fiber). Dietary fiber decreases the transit time of waste, increases the bulk of stool, and supports healthy gut bacteria that aid digestion.

Kiwis also contain the enzyme actinidin. Actinidin enhances protein digestion in the stomach and small intestines. For people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kiwis are considered a low-FODMAP food, meaning they are low in fruit sugars that can trigger symptoms.

Aids Wound Healing

The most prevalent micronutrients in kiwis are vitamin C and vitamin K, both of which play a crucial role in wound healing. Vitamin C is a precursor to collagen, a structural component in skin. It's also a strong antioxidant that aids the body's natural repair mechanisms. To avoid excessive bleeding, vitamin K promotes timely blood clotting. Vitamin K is also associated with bone strength and fracture prevention.

Allergies

Kiwi is one of the more common fruit allergies, along with peaches and apples. Allergies to kiwi are sometimes associated with allergies to pollen, latex, or other fruits. Mild symptoms may include skin rashes and itching or swelling of the mouth, lips, and throat. Heart palpitations or anaphylaxis are possible with more serious kiwi allergies. See an allergist for testing if you believe you might be allergic to kiwi.

Adverse Effects

Kiwis are a good source of vitamin K. Vitamin K promotes blood clotting and may interfere with blood thinners. People who are prescribed the blood-thinning medication Coumadin (warfarin) should maintain a consistent intake of foods that are high in vitamin K. This ensures the medication dosage you are prescribed will work effectively.

Varieties

There are several varieties of kiwi that are native to China and Taiwan. Kiwi is also grown commercially in California and New Zealand. Some common varieties include the well-known Actinidia deliciosa variety, golden kiwi (A. chinensis), red kiwi (A. melanandra), silver vine (A. polygama), purple kiwi (A. purpurea), in addition to Actinidia arguta, Actinidia kolomikta, and Actinidia coriacea or Chinese egg gooseberry.

Since golden kiwis are hairless, some people eat the skin, which provides additional fiber. Golden kiwis also contain more vitamin C than green kiwis.

When It's Best

The peak season for kiwi is November through May, but they can found in most supermarkets year-round. When kiwis are fully ripe, they feel soft when pressed, smell fragrant, and appear plump. You can purchase firm, unripe kiwis and allow them to ripen at room temperature for a few days at home. Avoid kiwis that are overripe with soft spots, bruises, or wrinkles.

Storage and Food Safety

Once kiwis are ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 7 days. Placing them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator prevents moisture from being lost, allowing kiwis to last for a full 2 weeks. Wash kiwis under running water before cutting into them or eating. Kiwis are completely edible, including the seeds and skin, however, many people prefer to peel them.

How to Prepare

Kiwis are best eaten raw by hand or sliced into a fruit salad. Their vibrant color brightens plates for an attractive garnish or topping. Add kiwis to smoothies, sauces, and mousses. The actinidin in kiwi is a natural meat tenderizer, making kiwis a useful ingredient in marinades. 

Recipes

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Article Sources
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