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Friday, April 16, 2021

Cool as a kiwi

Reading Time: 4 minutesThe fruit that is a testimony to Mother Nature’s artistic genius, which is jam packed with health benefits
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Sitting on the supermarket crates, these fuzz covered rather ugly looking brown fruits don’t seem very inviting. But slice one open and you’re in for a jolt. Vibrant green flesh, glossy with juice, vividly contrasts to the small black seeds arranged in a careful pattern, with a medley of sweet and tangy flavours, force you to admit: appearances are often misleading. Unarguably kiwifruit is a testimony to Mother Nature’s artistic genius.
A popular addition to fruit platters around the globe, kiwifruit originated from China. It is the country’s national fruit and was in fact known as the Chinese gooseberry until the 1960’s. Since its introduction to New Zealand in the 1900s it has been renamed after the country’s native bird to which it bears a resemblance of sorts. New Zealand is now the leading producer of kiwifruit along with Italy, Chile, Greece and France.
Owing to its many health benefits kiwifruit is growing in popularity in India as well where, it was first planted in the Lal Bagh Gardens of Bangalore as an ornamental plant but successful research and commercial cultivation has seen it become a common fixture at the green grocers around the country in recent years.
For a small fruit, kiwi packs a mighty punch of health benefits. It sits on the top rank of the nutrition density model, which means that it gives you more minerals and vitamins per gram than most fruits.
Eating a kiwifruit could be likened to popping a multi-vitamin pill as it is such a rich source of essential vitamins and nutrients. It is cholesterol free and has low sugar, salt and fat content. It is high in potassium and also contains phosphorous, copper and magnesium.
For colds and flu
The amount of vitamin C present in kiwifruit is twice that found in oranges and three times the amount present in mangoes. So with winter approaching and the need to stave off colds and flus with a high vitamin C intake, go a bit easy on oranges this year and try something different. Consuming just one kiwifruit per day gives you your daily recommended amount of vitamin C.
For strong bones
Vitamin D present in kiwifruit is good for strong bones, and combined with vitamin C it fights off free radicals responsible for aging skin.
For glowing skin
Vitamin E which is usually present in fatty foods, has also found a home in kiwifruit which is quite unusual, given that it is a fruit naturally very low in fat. Vitamin E helps maintain a healthy heart and is also well known for its antioxidant properties to maintain healthy, glowing skin.
Essential for women
Kiwifruit is especially recommended for pregnant women as it is a rich source of folic acid. This important nutrient is essential before, after and during pregnancy to ensure proper development of organs in the baby. An adequate amount of folic acid in the mother prevents birth defects, which is why the dietary intake of folic acid is strongly suggested for women, even those just contemplating pregnancy. Research has shown folic acid to be so vital to the brain, heart and cognitive development of children, that many countries are thinking of adding it to flour.
For blood pressure
Potassium is plentiful in kiwifruit. It contains almost the same amount as bananas, only minus the calories. Potassium is helpful in maintaining blood pressure and heart health.
For the eyes
Kiwifruit can help reduce age related deterioration of eye sight as it contains one of the highest concentrations of carotenoid lutein in fruits. Lutein helps prevent muscular degeneration of the eyes, glaucoma and cataract.
For fighting cancer
Containing a host of phytochemicals, unique enzymes, carotenoids, polyphenols and flavonoids, kiwifruit is high in antioxidants which help fight against oxidative stress and cancer.
For the heart
Including 2-3 kiwifruit in your daily diet helps reduce blood platelet aggregation to improve cardio vascular health. By stopping deposits and plaque from accumulating on the walls of the arteries, kiwifruit is known to prevent arterial and blood vessel blockage. It is also a natural blood thinner.
For the immune system
Kiwifruit provides a natural protection against the effects of stress, inflammation and viruses by modulating the immune system.
For the DNA
To protect your DNA from mutation, eat just two kiwifruits a day as it has been proven to reduce the amount of oxidative damage to the cells and repair the damage caused to DNA by oxidative stress. Eating kiwifruit with or after meals reduces the effect of oxidative stress caused by high fat foods.
For digestion
Owing to its unique combination of dietary fibre and other elements, kiwifruit is considered a natural digestive aid. Consumed after meals it helps relieve the blocked and bloated feeling, gas, nausea and constipation associated with poor digestion.
For anaemia
As kiwifruit facilitates the absorption of iron, it is a recommended fruit if you suffer from anaemia.
For asthma
Consuming kiwifruit lowers the risk of developing respiratory problems like wheezing, cold and coughs. It is useful in treating asthma in children.
Kiwifruit is also a great energy booster which is another incentive for including it in our diet and making it a regular feature on our tables and lunch boxes.

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Farzana Ahmad
Farzana is a freelance writer, artist and children's author

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