The kiwi

Food
The kiwi

The kiwi, or "Chinese gooseberry", is a fruit that was introduced into Europe in the 20th century and originally found in the Far East and notably China. Long considered an exotic fruit rarely eaten in Europe, it has today become a star of the green-grocer and supermarket shelves and the market stall, particularly during the winter and spring. It is even grown in southern France and in Brittany.

Nutritional information

The kiwi is a fruit that is nutritionally very appealing. 100g of kiwi provides 58.5 kcal, 92.7mg of vitamin C, 33.5 mcg of vitamin B9, as well as minerals (potassium, calcium, magnesium) and trace elements (iodine, iron).

Its antioxidant properties are exceptional with a slightly acidic flesh that provides an ideal energy boost when suffering from a bout of seasonal tiredness. Contrary to appearances, it contains more vitamin C than an orange (1)! This vitamin, together with the other phytonutrients found in high quantities in the kiwi, are known for their long term effects on cell regeneration (2). The active agents it contains also reduce the levels of triglycerides and lipids in the blood, elements that contribute to certain cardiovascular diseases (3).

According to recent studies, the flavonoid and carotenoid acids found in the kiwi protect DNA structure (4), reducing the symptoms of certain chronic conditions such as ARMD and skin problems, and even certain troubles affecting the respiratory system (5). Eating kiwi every day is particularly recommended for those suffering from asthma and other respiratory ailments, leading to a reduction of almost 50% in their symptoms and their difficulty in breathing (6). Eating kiwi also contributes to good digestive health. A portion of kiwi contains the equivalent of 15% of the daily recommended intake of soluble fibre, essential to maintaining well-balanced intestinal flora (7).

How to choose and taste kiwis

To make the very best of the health benefits of the kiwi, we recommend choosing fruit grown using organic farming methods, as far as is possible of course. The kiwi provides a snack that is light, ideal to enjoy at any time of the day, either directly with a spoon or mixed with other fruits for a veritable explosion of vitamin-rich flavour! For a vitamin-laden cocktail to give you a quick boost, try a delicious kiwi-orange-strawberry smoothie, practical to carry with you wherever you go. The acidic note of the kiwi has inspired many chefs who today use it to create original savoury associations, in a sauce served with meat or fish for example. Try a basil, salmon and kiwi verrine, always a winner! However, take care never to overcook kiwi when using it in the kitchen, so you keep all of its nutritional benefits.

Beware of allergies

People allergic to latex, pollen, banana, avocado can also be allergic to kiwi (due to cross allergies). It is better to introduce it in small quantities in risky subjects or in toddlers. Moreover, the kiwi skin has an astringent texture that can also cause contact allergies. If you are concerned about contact allergies, wash your hands just after peeling kiwis.

Sources: passeport santé, whfoods, areflh.org.
References: (1) Maillar C. [The kiwi, rich in vitamins C and E and also in potassium]. Servir 1998 May-1998 Jun 30;46(3):160. 1998. PMID:13380. (2) Collins AR, Harrington V, Drew J et al. Nutritional modulation of DNA repair in a human intervention study. Carcinogenesis. 2003;24:511-515. (3) Kurl S, Tuomainen TP, Laukkanen JA et al. Plasma vitamin C modifies the association between hypertension and risk of stroke. Stroke 2002 Jun;33(6):1568-73. 2002. (4) Collins BH, Horska A, Hotten PM et al. Kiwifruit protects against oxidative DNA damage in human cells and in vitro. Nutr Cancer. 2001;39:148-153. (5) Collins AR, Harrington V, Drew J et al. Nutritional modulation of DNA repair in a human intervention study. Carcinogenesis. 2003;24:511-515. (6) Forastiere F, Pistelli R, Sestini P, et al. Consumption of fresh fruit rich in vitamin C and wheezing symptoms in children. SIDRIA Collaborative Group, Italy (Italian Studies on Respiratory Disorders in Children and the Environment). Thorax 2000 Apr;55(4):283-8. 2000. PMID:13360. (7) Chan AO, Leung G, et al. Increasing dietary fiber intake in terms of kiwifruit improves constipation in Chinese patients. World J Gastroenterol 2007;13:4771-5.

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