Kiwi Nutritional Facts and Benefits

Close-Up Of Sliced Kiwi By Knife On Plate
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What looks like a fuzzy, little, nothing-special fruit, the kiwi is often overlooked by many. It can be hard to slice, has an ugly brown skin and is filled with seeds on the inside. For many, it seems like too much bother to add it to the fruit salad. 

But, for others, kiwis are a true lifesaver and family favorite.  Originating far away from the United States, the kiwi seems to be growing more popular and is here to stay. So the question is: what is the hype all about?

The Truth About Kiwis

The kiwi, originating as a Chinese gooseberry, is packed with an amazing amount of nutrition. The kiwi contains two times the vitamin C of an orange, four times the vitamin C of a grapefruit and as much potassium as a banana. It is also rich in vitamins A and E, and its seeds are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Kiwis have been found to be rich in antioxidants and fiber, both of which play an important part in maintaining a healthy body and heart.  

Many studies have shown that eating kiwis on a regular basis can be helpful in the prevention of respiratory congestion for kids with asthma. In fact, the high vitamin C content of kiwis has been shown to help reduce wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing, along with lessening a runny nose.  

Kiwis have also been found to play a significant role in protecting your vision. While kids are always told to eat carrots for vision, the same message should be spread about kiwis for adults. In fact, keeping kiwis as a staple in your diet as an adult has been shown to lower your risk for age-related macular degeneration, which is the number one cause of vision loss in adults as we age.

For those who truly enjoy them, there is no question that they are worth it! The sweet tasting fruit is only about 40 calories and boosts many nutrition benefits.  For those not so skilled in slicing them up there is another delicious way to enjoy them. Take a knife, slice off the top and dig in with a spoon. This refreshing snack, when eaten like ices or a pudding cup, will become a household staple in no time at all.

Kiwi Allergies

It is important to keep in mind, however, that for some people eating a kiwi may result in an allergic reaction. For those who are allergic, most reactions are associated with oral allergy syndrome. Oral allergy syndrome is linked to symptoms of itching and inflammation in the mouth and throat. For others, who are experiencing a true kiwi allergy, the reactions can grow more serious. These reactions can include stomach upset, vomiting, difficulty breathing or anaphylactic shock. It is very important to seek medical attention to determine whether the reaction is an oral allergy syndrome or a true allergy, and how it should best be treated. 

It is interesting to note that as kiwis have become more mainstream in the American diet, allergies to it seem to be on the rise. In fact in Europe kiwis are considered to be one of the more common allergies, while in the United States to date it remains less common. However, over time there is a growing concern that the number of those allergic to the kiwi may continue to rise. More research will have to be done on this phenomenon.

There is also research to support evidence that the allergy to kiwis is related to the fact that this fruit cross-reacts with many other foods and substances that are associated with allergies as well. In fact, it seems that its properties are similar to that of avocados, bananas, hazelnuts and even birch pollen. There are additional studies that suggest that while they are completely different in many ways, there is a connection between kiwis and latex. In fact, studies show that someone who reacts to one, to be allergic to the other. 

Bottom Line

The next time you find yourself in the produce aisle, take the time to toss a few kiwis into your cart.  Loaded with nutrition this is one super fruit that is worth adding to your diet. But of course, be sure to pay attention to any reactions in the event of an allergy. And as long as you are allergen free, then slice up or dig in with a spoon and enjoy!

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