Kiwifruit, often abbreviated as kiwi is an oval berry obtained from kiwi plant, Actinidia deliciosa.

It has a tart and sweet taste which makes it the perfect ingredient in both sweet and savoury recipes. Kiwi seeds add an extra crunch to fruit salads that is simply refreshing. 

The whole kiwi fruit is edible, including kiwi skin, pulp and seeds. Though some people are not really fond of its skin, eating it whole has been found to be much more nutritious.

Kiwi vines best grow under tropical conditions and can’t survive lower temperatures, however, temperate varieties of kiwi are also grown in colder regions.

Also known as Chinese gooseberry, this fruit is native to China, which is the largest producer of kiwis in the world. In India, kiwi is cultivated in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, Karnataka and Kerala.

Kiwis are a storehouse of healthy nutrients and the Chinese have been using kiwi as a tonic for children and women after childbirth. 

Kiwis can also be used to treat cardiovascular disorders, regulate blood pressure and it prevents macular degeneration. The antibacterial and antioxidant properties of this fruit make it a blessing for health.

Some basic facts about Kiwi:

  • Scientific name: Actinidia deliciosa
  • Family: Actinidiaceae, a small family of flowering plants.
  • Common name: Kiwi, kiwifruit. It was originally called the “Chinese Gooseberry.”
  • Common Hindi name: Kiwi phal
  • Native Region and Geographical Distribution: This fruit was originally cultivated in the North-Central and Eastern parts of China. After China, New Zealand started to cultivate this fruit for commercial purposes. Later it became popular with the British and American forces during world war 2. Kiwis are now being cultivated in many parts of the world.
  • Fun fact: Kiwifruit is known as the “nutritional all-star”according to a stud. As per a study done in Rutgers University, this fruit provides the best nutrients among 21 most commonly eaten fruits.
  1. Kiwi nutrition facts
  2. Kiwi health benefits
  3. Kiwi side effects
  4. Takeaway

Kiwi is rich in several essential minerals and vitamins that are beneficial for the body. It is a good source of fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K and minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium

As per the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 g of kiwi can provide you with the following nutrients:

Nutrients Value per 100 g
Energy 61 kcal
Protein 1.35 g
Fat 0.68 g
Carbohydrate 14.86 g
Fiber 2.7 g
Sugars 8.78 g
Calcium 41 mg
Iron 0.24 mg
Potassium 311 mg
Magnesium 17 mg
Vitamin C 93.2 mg
Vitamin K 37.8 µg

Kiwi is not just a nutritious food but it also has a number of bioactive compounds that play an important role in maintaining optimum health. Let us explore some of the scientifically proven health benefits of kiwi:

  • For the digestive system: Being a rich source of fibres, kiwi has the most pronounced benefits on the digestive system and is effective in relieving constipation and irritable bowel syndrome by promoting laxation. It also aids in better digestion of proteins.
  • For the heart: Kiwi helps in lowering blood pressure due to the presence of potassium and thus reduces the risk of cardiovascular disorders. In addition to lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, kiwi helps in reducing blood cholesterol levels and managing oxidative damage to the heart.
  • For immunity: Kiwi is rich in vitamin C and thus helps in improving your immune status. It also has antibacterial and antifungal effects and thus protects you from infections like upper respiratory tract infections and infections in burn wounds. Kiwi may also reduce the risk of cancer.
  • For the skin: Being an antioxidant food, kiwi helps in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while at the same time, protecting your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
  • For the eyes: Its anti-ageing properties are not limited to the skin as it prevents age-related macular degeneration due to the presence of lutein in it.
  • For sleep: The intake of kiwi helps in improving the quality and duration of sleep and may thus be effective in the management of sleep disorders.

Kiwi for digestion

Kiwi is a rich source of fibre, which is one of the best nutrients for digestive health. Research suggests that the fibre present in kiwifruit is effective in promoting laxation, thereby preventing constipation.

According to a clinical study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular consumption of kiwi fruit improves irritable bowel syndrome by decreasing transit time (time taken by food to pass through intestines) and making it easier to pass stools.

In a clinical study, 33 constipated individuals were given kiwi fruit 2 times a day for a period of 4 weeks. Significant improvement in bowel movements was reported in all subjects at the end of the designated period.

Another study indicated that kiwifruit can help digest the proteins present in foods, particularly those that are present in yoghurt, cheese and fish. This is attributed to the presence of an enzyme called actinidin in kiwifruit.

Read more: How to improve digestion

Kiwi benefits for age related macular degeneration

Macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the major causes of vision loss in old age. This condition mainly affects the macula, the part of the eye which aids you to see clearly. AMD results in slow and gradual loss of vision, making everyday tasks such as reading and driving difficult. Research indicates that kiwi is rich in lutein, which is known to prevent vision loss related to age.

Lutein is a carotenoid pigment that is not made naturally in our body. So, it is important to supplement the body with this compound through dietary sources. The lutein that enters the body gets accumulated in the macula, thereby preventing age-related macular degeneration.

Read more: How to improve eyesight

Kiwi for heart health

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are one of the leading causes of death all over the world. Research suggests that regular consumption of fruits could be helpful in the prevention of CVDs. Kiwifruit, in particular, is rich in several vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B9, carotenoids and phytochemicals. All of these components are beneficial for the heart. Several clinical studies indicate that regular consumption of kiwi can help reduce inflammation, cholesterol level and also aid in maintaining blood pressure. A disturbance in any of these factors usually become apparent in the form of heart diseases.

Furthermore, kiwi is rich in antioxidants which can help reduce oxidative stress thus reducing the risk of chronic heart diseases.

Read more: Best cardio exercises for heart health

Kiwi for blood pressure

The optimal blood pressure in human adults is 120/80 of Hg. Lifestyle choices and dietary factors are two of the most common risk factors associated with an uncontrolled blood pressure. High blood pressure, particular, poses a threat of several health complications such as heart attack and stroke. But it can be kept under control by making simple dietary changes.

One clinical trial indicated that consumption of 3 kiwis per day led to a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in smokers. It is often suggested that foods rich in potassium can help reduce blood pressure and Kiwi has abundant amounts of potassium.

According to a review article, about 22 different clinical studies reveal the positive effects of kiwi on reducing blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

Read more: Right time to check blood pressure

Kiwi for better sleep

Sleep disorders include conditions that affect the quality of sleep. Not having enough and quality sleep could lead to hormonal changes, mood swings, anxiety and even increase your stress levels. Research suggests that kiwi could help improve your sleeping pattern and quality of sleep. Kiwi is rich in antioxidants and a chemical called serotonin, which is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

A clinical study including 24 patients with sleep disorders demonstrated that consuming kiwi for a period of 4 weeks helped improve the sleep duration, sleep quality and decreased the time it took to fall asleep. However, further studies are needed to confirm this benefit.

Read more: Insomnia treatment

Kiwi anticancer properties

An abnormal growth of body cells is referred to as a tumour and when it starts to spread aggressively, it is known as cancer. Constant exposure to harmful chemicals, consumption and usage of carcinogenic products and lifestyle factors like smoking and alcohol are some of the risk factors associated with cancer.  

Several studies suggest the anticancer potential of kiwi. Preclinical studies indicate that a polysaccharide compound extracted from the root of the kiwi plant is effective in suppressing tumour growth by 89%.

Another study revealed that different kiwi extract exhibits significant but selective cytotoxic (toxic to cells) activity against oral cancer cells. This means that these extracts selectively kill cancer cells, without harming the healthy cells of the body. This may be due to the antioxidant properties of phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and vitamin C present in kiwi. These compounds scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, thereby reducing the risk of cancer.

Kiwi antibacterial and anti fungal properties

As you may know, eating fruits and vegetables helps in keeping you free from diseases. But did you know they can also help you get rid of disease-causing microbes? A research conducted on the different plant parts of kiwi indicated that the leaves, fruits, stem and seeds have antibacterial properties. However, The fruit and seeds demonstrated a more potent antibiotic activity.

A type of protein called actinchinin from the gold kiwifruit and thaumatin from the green kiwifruit exhibited antifungal properties against different types of fungi, as demonstrated by in vitro studies.

A study done on animal models reported that a dressing made from kiwi fruit slices was effective in controlling infections in burn wounds when compared to a commonly used antibacterial ointment.

Kiwi for immunity

Kiwi fruit is a storehouse of health building nutrients and healing compounds that are helpful in maintaining a healthy immune system and reducing DNA damage. Kiwi has especially been studied for its benefits in reducing upper respiratory tract infections (URTI, infections involving nose and pharynx). According to research published in Advances in Food and Nutritional Research, the carotenoids and vitamin C present in kiwi can efficiently stimulate immune cells and reverse inflammation in the upper respiratory tract.

Malnourishment and immunity loss are two of the most common causes of URTIs amongst ageing individuals. In a random study, about 32 people, more than 65 years of age, were given 4 kiwi fruits along with 2 bananas every day, for a period of 4 weeks. At the end of the designated period, a significant reduction was found in URTI symptoms in all subjects.

Read more: How to improve immunity

Kiwi benefits for skin

A supple and younger looking skin is desired by many but it is quite difficult to maintain. As we age, some of the skin proteins start to break down, making our skin look sagging and wrinkled. Collagen is one such protein. It is responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of our skin. Studies suggest that vitamin C is required for collagen biosynthesis. Kiwi is a rich source of vitamin C and could, therefore, be an excellent supplement to keep off those fine lines and wrinkles. It also aids in maintaining the integrity of collagen by activating the two key enzymes in the synthesis of collagen - lysyl and prolyl hydroxylase.
To make your skin glowing and healthy. 

Read more: Home remedies for face skin tightening

As an antioxidant-rich fruit, kiwi can help slow down skin ageing and provide you with a healthy and glowing skin. The amino acids present in kiwi is also helpful in protecting the skin from the damage caused by the sun.

Read more: How to get glowing skin

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The following are some of the side effects of kiwifruit:

  • Kiwi fruit has been found to reduce blood clotting. So, if you are on a blood-thinning medicine or are about to undergo a surgery, it is best that you stay away from kiwi.
  • Some people are naturally allergic to kiwi. There have been a few reported cases of kiwi allergy where people showed symptoms such as swelling in the face, itchy feeling in the throat, difficulty in breathing, stomach pain and vomiting. Some people also experienced skin allergies upon contact with the fruit.
  • Kiwi is a source of oxalate raphide crystals. Overconsumption of kiwi can lead to the development of calcium oxalate kidney stones.
  • Kiwi is known to reduce blood pressure. People who suffer from low blood pressure or hypertensive individuals on medication should talk to their doctor before taking kiwi as a food supplement.
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Kiwi not only makes your desserts and salads look attractive, but it is also equally packed with rich nutrients that your body needs on a day to day basis. It is rich in amino acids, flavonoids and other phenolic compounds that can help prevent cancer, lower the blood pressure, have protective effects on the heart and prevent age-related blindness. There aren’t many side effects associated with kiwi consumption. However, some people might experience allergic symptoms followed by the intake of kiwi.

Medicines / Products that contain Kiwi


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