If we asked you which fruit has the highest level of Vitamin C, what would you guess?
Believe it or not, there are several fruits (and vegetables) with more Vitamin C than oranges...one of which is kiwi!
If kiwi is not a regular part of your routine, you may want to add it to your shopping list after learning about the incredible health benefits of this small fuzzy fruit, which is why it is our
March Superfood of the Month!
What is kiwi?
Kiwifruit (abbreviated as kiwi) originated in China…and is known as the national fruit of China. Originally known as the “Chinese gooseberry,” it was carried by missionaries to New Zealand, where it has been growing for over 100 years. It was introduced into the United States in the late 1960's and most of the U.S. production comes from California. The “kiwi” name came about when it was first introduced to the U.S…to make it more marketable.
A kiwi is a unique fruit, with its oval-shaped fuzzy brown surface and bright lime green flesh and tiny black seeds. Some describe its taste as a cross between a strawberry and a juicy grape. Others think it has a pineapple flavor to it.
Kiwi is available year-round because there are different growing seasons in different parts of the world. For U.S. production, it is considered "in-season" November through April. There are several varieties of kiwi, the most popular and prevalent being the green kiwi.
There is also a golden kiwi, which has a yellow flesh (instead of green), is slightly smaller in size, and is sweeter and softer than the green kiwi. Nutritionally, the two are very similar, with the golden kiwi having a bit more Vitamin C and folate.
We know we always say the Superfoods we highlight are nutritional powerhouses, and the kiwi is no exception!
With only about 54 calories, this juicy fruit packs a huge punch when it comes to health benefits. Not only does it provide more vitamin C than a similar-sized serving of oranges, but it is also loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber!
- Cancer fighter! The abundance of antioxidants in kiwi have been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth, especially for certain types of cancer like colon, liver and lung.
- Healthy skin and eyes! High levels of the antioxidant, lutein, helps protect our skin and prevent eye disease, such as macular degeneration.
- Treats respiratory illnesses - studies show kiwi's enhanced Vitamin C concentration can decrease cold symptoms and relieve a sore throat.
- Builds strong bones! Loaded with Vitamin K, kiwi can improve bone health and help prevent diseases such as osteoporosis.
- Sleep well! Kiwi is packed with serotonin, which has earned a reputation for being a sleep aid. So, if you have trouble sleeping, try eating a kiwi...it just might help!
- Rich in polyphenols, kiwi also stimulates our immune systems.
- Good source of potassium (to counter the effects of sodium) and healthy omega-3.
- Just one kiwi per day can lower your risk of stroke, blood clots, and cardiovascular disease.
How do you choose kiwi?
When selecting kiwi, keep in mind size is not an indicator of quality. It should be unblemished and feel slightly soft, which means it is ripe and ready to eat. If the kiwi is firm, it is not ripe and may taste bitter. Purchasing unripe kiwi is fine if you are not going to use it within a few days. And, you can speed up the ripening process by placing the kiwi in a paper bag...adding an apple or banana will speed up the process even more!
How to you store kiwi?
Kiwi can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They will keep for several days at room temperature and several weeks in the refrigerator. Cut kiwi will keep well for 3-4 days in a covered container in the refrigerator, although it may start to turn soggy after a few days. Sliced kiwi also freezes well -- perfect to add to smoothies!
Haven't we all wondered...can you eat that fuzzy skin?
Yes, you can! The skin is completely edible!
Some say they don't like the texture, but it is safe to eat and actually boosts your intake of fiber and Vitamin C.
If you are going to eat the peel, remember to wash before eating and, to avoid any unwanted chemicals and pesticides, consider purchasing organic kiwi. Just make sure to trim the ends of the kiwi, removing the tough ends of the core, but then go ahead and enjoy the rest...skin and all!
If you don’t want to eat the skin, you can use a paring knife to peel it…or you can cut it in half, or cut the ends off, and then scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Of course, we have lots of ideas on how to use kiwi!
- Natural tenderizer! Because kiwi contains enzymes that help breakdown meat proteins, it works well as a natural tenderizer. Simply mash or puree a peeled kiwi in the marinade such as in our Bulgogi!
- Kiwi adds a mind-blowing deliciousness to the fruit salsa on top of Asian Salmon Cakes.
- Creamy Fruit Salad...it's ideal for a mid-afternoon snack!
- Add kiwi to the Mango Mint Green Smoothie.
- Paired with fresh strawberries, the Sweet and Fruity Spring Rolls are the perfect place to add sliced kiwi.
- Get your green on with the Green Fruit Salad! Impress your family and friends by using a cookie cutter to make your kiwi slices into shamrocks...perfect for St. Patrick's Day!
A few things to consider....
- Some people may have allergies to kiwi. People who have latex allergies or allergies to avocados or bananas should be cautious.
- Those on beta blockers should use caution because of the potential effects of the heightened amount of potassium.
- The nutrients in kiwi can slow blood clotting in some people, affecting those with bleeding disorders.
Take our challenge and enjoy this Superfood during March!
Keep it interesting and try kiwi in different ways so you can find your favorites...and be on your way to enjoying kiwi for life!
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