Long popular in Asia and Australia, kiwi fruit has gained in popularity in the last few decades and is now seen regularly on market shelves in the United States. Kiwi fruit is both delicious and nutritious, with a high level of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and other essential nutrients.
Kiwi fruit is oblong and around the size of a plum. Known for it's fuzzy brown exterior and glistening, emerald green flesh, kiwi fruit is juicy and refreshing with a taste that is reminiscent of combination of strawberry and pineapple. The fruit is usually peeled and eaten raw, either out of hand, or in fruit salads. It can also be used in making pastries, sorbets, smoothies and other desserts.
A one cup serving of kiwi fruit contains 108 calories, 26 grams (g) of carbohydrates, 2 g of protein and 1 g of fat. It also delivers over 250 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C. The fruit is also high in vitamin E and folic acid. Kiwi fruit is low in sodium and high in potassium and copper, an essential mineral. A serving of kiwi fruit also provides 5 g of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Kiwi fruit has significant antioxidant properties due to its high levels of vitamin C and a phytochemical called lutein, which is a carotenoid, similar to beta carotene, that is known for its ability to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease and may help prevent eye disorders such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Kiwi is also high in dietary fiber, which provides increased protection against heart disease, diabetes and gastrointestinal diseases.
Contrary to popular belief, the orange does not have the highest levels of vitamin C. Kiwi fruit contains twice as much as an orange. Kiwi fruit is also very high in potassium and actually outranks bananas for potassium content.
A recent study conducted by Assim Duttaroy from the Department of Nutrition at the University of Oslo determined that eating kiwi fruit on a regular basis may be an effective way to lower the occurrence of blood clots by reducing platelet aggregation. The study indicates that kiwi fruit may also be able to reduce fats in the form of triglycerides from bloodstream.
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In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.