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Improve Your Health with the Kiwi Fruit

I recently mentioned that I had the privilege of living in beautiful New Zealand for a couple of years as a young man. New Zealand’s native inhabitants, the Maoris, call their home Aotearoa which means “Land of the long white cloud.” At the time I was there the population was 3 million people, 30 million sheep, and zero snakes. New Zealanders have been nick-named Kiwis, after their small, brown, furry, flightless national bird.

kiwi_fruit_close_up_green_picBut kiwi isn’t just a bird. It’s more likely you’ve heard of the super nutritious fruit native to China by the name of Yang Tao that has been revered for many centuries. As its popularity spread across the globe it became known as Chinese Gooseberry, Sunny Peach, scientifically as Actinidia Deliciosa, and most commonly now as kiwifruit. Why kiwi? Because they are little, brown, furry, and of course flightless like the kiwi bird.

The kiwi grows on a vine, often trellised, like big, brown, furry grapes. The major commercial producers are New Zealand, Italy, Chile, Japan, and California. Interestingly, it did not arrive in the U.S. until the early 1960s, but its popularity has absolutely exploded. The diverse regions of growth make kiwis “in season” or available year around. The fully ripe fruit is about 3 inches long, only has about 90 calories, and has a very unique sweet, mildly tart flavor.

I recently read about a study at Rutgers University that found that the kiwi is ounce for ounce the most nutrient dense fruit available. It contains a generous supply of vitamins C, E, and K, folate, essential minerals, enzymes, and fiber. In fact, one normal size kiwi alone supplies an average of 240% of the daily requirement of vitamin C.

fruit_basket_colorful_kiwi_picWant to improve your digestion? Slam down a kiwi. They contain enzymes that are effective in breaking down proteins more efficiently. The fiber helps a number of intestinal complaints, assists the body in removing toxins, helps prevent constipation, and the fuzz is good.

This antioxidant powerhouse gives your immune system a tremendous boost. Eating a kiwi fruit regularly has the same anti-clotting benefits as taking a daily aspirin with none of the side effects like intestinal bleeding, and has the ability to protect the DNA in human cells.

Kiwis are very alkaline, which counteracts the acidity that the standard diet causes, thus helping maintain energy, encouraging sleep, and combating osteoporosis.

The vitamin E in the Sunny Peach is heart and skin healthy. The high level of lutein contributes to an almost 40% decrease in dreaded macular degeneration among those who consume kiwi and other fruit daily. It helps keep electrolytes balanced, which is important in managing blood pressure.

One study demonstrated that children with respiratory ailments like asthma who consumed kiwi fruit regularly experienced less coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

kiwi_fruit_green_drink_picKiwi is included in the list of top 10 safest foods, meaning that it is safe from a lot of the pesticide residues common in other fruits and vegetables. The only negatives to this nutritious treat are that people with latex allergies seem to show similar allergy to kiwi, and the oxalates it contains might be a small concern to people with kidney stones.

Diet is so important to our overall health picture that the Rockerfeller Institute of Medicine rendered the opinion that, “If the doctors of today do not become the nutritionists of tomorrow, then the nutritionists of today will become the doctors of tomorrow.”

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