The kiwifruit is a little fruit holding great surprises. The most common species of kiwifruit is Actinidia deliciosa, commonly known as Hayward kiwi. Inside of this small, oval-shaped fruit featuring brown fuzzy skin resides a brilliant, semi-translucent emerald green flesh speckled with a few concentrically arranged white veins and small black seeds. Its flesh is almost creamy in consistency with an invigorating taste reminiscent of a mixture of strawberries and bananas, yet with its own unique sweet flavor.
Health Benefits of Kiwi
Kiwifruit has been shown to contain an antimutagenic component, helping to prevent the mutations of genes that may initiate the cancer process. The presence of glutathione may account for the reduction.
- Carcinogenic nitrates are formed during the smoking or barbecuing of foods. When nitrates are ingested, a process called nitrosation can occur, in which free radicalsónitrosaminesóare formed that may lead to the formation of gastric or other cancers. Kiwi has been demonstrated to aid in the prevention of nitrosation.
- In another in vitro test with cultured mammalian-cell lines, kiwifruit extract was found to inhibit melanoma, or skin cancer.
- The amino acid arginine, present in kiwifruit, is being looked at by cardiologists to improve postangioplasty blood flow and actually prevent the formation (or reformation) of plaque in the arteries.
- Kiwifruit is ranked as having the fourth highest natural antioxidant potentialónext to the red fruits containing high levels of beta carotene.
- Lutein, an important phytochemical found in kiwifruit, has been linked to the prevention of prostate and lung cancer.
- In addition to kiwifruit being recognized by the FDA as an excellent source of dietary fiber, studies indicate that it contains another not-yet-isolated compound that accelerates digestive transit time even faster than dietary fiber aloneóimportant for colorectal cancer prevention. The benefit of this laxative action is to decrease the build-up of cancer-promoting metabolites.
- Kiwifruit is one of the few fruits that are green at maturity, and chlorophyll is responsible for that color. Several studies have suggested that chlorophyllin, a derivative of chlorophyll, is an inhibitor of liver carcinogenesis.
- Inositol is found in kiwifruit. Recent studies have shown that inositol, because of its function as a precursor of an intracellular second messenger system, can be beneficial in the treatment of depression.
· Inositol, a sugar alcohol naturally occurring in kiwifruit, may play a positive role in regulating diabetes. Inositol supplements may improve nerve conduction velocity in diabetic neuropathy.
· Inositol plays a role in intracellular responses to hormones and neurotransmitters. It acts as a second messenger in cell signaling processes.
Eye Health/Macular Degeneration
- Fourteen million American adults needlessly suffer from macular degeneration. Kiwifruit is rich in phytochemicalsóxanthophylls and especially a subcomponent, lutein. Lutein is known to accumulate in the retina of the eye. Recent USDA studies have linked these important compounds to the prevention of macular degenerationóthe leading cause of irreversible blindness in the U.S.
- Kiwifruit contains a wealth of carotenoids (beta carotenes, luteins and xanthophylls); phenolic compounds (flavonoids and anthocyanins) and antioxidants, including vitamins C and E. The excellent complement of antioxidants in kiwifruit may help prevent the oxidation of the good cholesterol (HDLs).
- Kiwifruit is particularly high in two amino acids: arginine and glutamate. Arginine may help promote an increase in arteriolar dilation, working as a vasodilator and improving blood flowóimportant for heart health.
- The FDA considers kiwifruit a good source of vitamin E, crucial for a healthy heart.
- Kiwifruit contains magnesium at 6% DV. Magnesium is thought to be in short supply in the diets of affluent countries. Poor magnesium status is associated with heart disease, myocardial infarction and hypertension.
- Kiwifruit contains pectin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol.
- Cardiologists believe the sodium-to-potassium ratio is critical for heart health. That ratio is extremely favorable in kiwifruit.
- Kiwifruit has been shown to be an immune boosterómost likely due to its extremely high vitamin C content and its complement of antioxidant compounds.
- Kiwifruit contains the amino acid arginine, a well-known vasodilator that has been used to treat impotence in men