Whether simply enjoyed with a spoon or tossed in a festive fruit salad, kiwi, or kiwifruit, is one of the most beloved tropical fruits, with a thin light-brown, slightly fuzzy skin on the outside and green, sweet-tart fruit on the inside. The bright, inviting color of kiwi flesh may give you an inkling of just how good these little fruits are for health.
Ways to Eat and Prepare Kiwis
“Kiwis are extremely versatile and can be included in so many sweet and savory dishes—you can use kiwi to tenderize meats,” says Abeer Bader, MSc, RD, LDN, CSOWM, lead clinical nutrition specialist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center. The actinidin in kiwi—an enzyme that’s been shown to help the body digest various types of proteins— combined with its irresistible tangy, sour flavor make it the perfect addition to marinades for meats. Some other delicious food ideas for kiwi include:
- Adding them to your morning smoothie recipe
- Slicing them for either fruit salads or greens-based salads
- Mixing diced kiwi into a bright a salsa recipe
- Topping overnight oats, hot oatmeal, or yogurt parfait with kiwi to brighten your morning
- Stirring diced kiwi into your favorite muffin or sweet bread recipe
- Perking up your favorite savory sauces with the sweet acidity of kiwi
While they’re seasonal in the fall, you can typically find kiwis all year around in the supermarket produce section to meet your every kiwi craving and culinary need.
No Need to Peel Them: Kiwi Skins Are Edible and Super Nutrient-Rich
While it may not look as inviting from the outside, kiwi skin is packed with nutrients and perfectly safe and healthy to eat—so no need to remove the peel. In fact, according to research published in the European Journal of Nutrition, eating a whole SunGold kiwi including the skin, provides 50 percent more fiber, 32 percent more vitamin E, and 34 percent more folate (aka vitamin B9).
Top Kiwi Health Benefits
The impressive health benefits of kiwi combined with all the ways it can be added to recipes make kiwi a no-brainer, nutrient-dense superfood and one of the healthiest foods you can eat every day. Here are the biggest benefits of eating kiwis.
Kiwis are packed with immune-boosting vitamins C and E.
“This superfood has a pop of sweet, refreshing, and slightly tangy flavor, and is an excellent source of vitamin C,” Bader says. In fact, in one cup of kiwi you’ll get over 250 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. Kiwi is also loaded with vitamin E. Both vitamins C and E are crucial in maintaining a healthy immune system, as they’re powerful antioxidants that help to fight illness-causing free radicals throughout the body. One review published in Nutrition and Cancer even found kiwi to have anticancer properties, especially in relation to colorectal cancer.
Kiwis are filled with fiber for healthy digestion.
Kiwifruit can also keep your gut health in ship-shape as it’s loaded with fiber and enzymes that aid in digestion. Kiwi contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, providing the cholesterol-lowering and regularity-encouraging power of each fiber type. It’s also a prebiotic food, especially for the lactobacilli bacteria family. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that act as food for the healthy bacteria in our gut microbiome, helping them to thrive. Plus, kiwifruit is high in actinidin, an enzyme that helps the body digest various types of proteins, including those found in meat, gluten, nuts, and legumes. This makes it the perfect after-dinner snack, dessert, or digestif, if you will.
Kiwis provide powerful plant compounds.
Kiwi is also chock-full of plant compounds, which really set plant-based foods apart when it comes to nutrition because they’re so rich in antioxidants. “Kiwi is rich in antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation in the body,” Bader says. It’s especially high in the plant compound group carotenoids, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds have been found to boost eye, brain, heart, liver, and skin health while helping to prevent age-related diseases.
Kiwis have vitamin K to support normal blood clotting.
Rich in vitamin K, kiwi can help to maintain healthy blood clotting throughout the body. While too much clotting throughout the body can be dangerous, regularly functioning clotting is vital for the body to recover from injury. Plus, vitamin K also helps us to maintain and develop healthy bones.
Kiwis are high in minerals potassium and copper.
You can find healthy doses of both potassium and copper in kiwifruit. Potassium is an important electrolyte in the body that helps us to maintain healthy fluid balance. This fluid balance means that our cells will have normal fluid levels and our blood pressure will be regulated. While also helping to maintain healthy bones and nerves, copper works together with iron to form red blood cells in the body.
Kiwis help support heart health.
The combination of the positive effect of kiwi’s soluble fiber on cholesterol levels, combined with the fluid-balancing power of potassium makes this tangy tropical fruit an excellent heart-healthy food. Plus, though small, one study found that by eating three kiwis a day, participants exhibited lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure when compared to eating one apple a day. It might be time to change that age-old expression about an apple a day to a kiwi a day!
Kiwis contain serotonin and may promote better sleep.
Kiwi may also help you have more restful sleep. This zingy fruit is high in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s the precursor to melatonin, the main hormone charged with maintaining healthy sleep patterns. Though completed a little over a decade ago, one small study examined kiwi’s impact on sleep in 24 adults over four weeks. Researchers found that eating two kiwis one hour before bedtime was associated with “significantly” improved overall sleep time, sleep efficiency, and ability to fall asleep more quickly (sleep onset).