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The kiwi fruit
I love kiwi, but admit I don’t always think to buy it at the supermarket. Generally, I use it more to add a little something special to a salad than to eat as a fruit on it’s own. I am rethinking kiwi though as I read about it’s sleep benefits. I think it belongs in my fruit bowl with the apples and oranges.
Before we delve into the benefits of this adorable little fruit, here are some fun facts.
Did you know kiwi originated in China? The name Called Yang Tao, t translates to green gooseberry in English. Most people think the fruit originated in New Zealand because the name was inspired by the native Kiwi Bird, the countries official symbol. However, New Zealand changed the name to kiwi fruit as a marketing decision in 1959 to make it sound more appealing than a green gooseberry.
Kiwi is native to mainland China and Taiwan and also commercially grown in New Zealand and California.
Kiwi for sleep?
Kiwifruit might be one of the best foods to eat before bed. Studies show antioxidants and serotonin, which kiwi has in abundance, may be beneficial in the treatment of sleep disorders.
Research establishes a basic link between antioxidants in the body and sleep. Decreased antioxidant levels appear to lead to poor sleep and recovery sleep seems to help restore antioxidant levels. Serotonin, a hormone critical in sleep, helps you both fall asleep and stay asleep during the night. Studies show we can manipulate serotonin levels up or down to promote or inhibit sleep.
We need more research to fully understand the sleep inducing effects of kiwifruit, but the information we have thus far is compelling.
Is kiwi a superfood?
Yes, kiwi is considered a superfood by many. It is a low-calorie fruit that packs a lot of nutrition into its small size. It provides vitamin C, E and K, folate, potassium, folate and fiber, which contribute to a boosted immune system and heart health. Kiwis are also on the Environmental Working Group’s 2022 Clean Fifteen list of foods least likely to contain pesticides. And let’s not forget they taste delicious…there is almost no down side to including keo in your diet.
A word of caution for those on beta blockers or with kidney problems who need to limit their potassium intake – kiwis might not be the best choice. The same is true for patients on blood thinners, such as Coumadin, as vitamin K can prevent these medications from working correctly.
How to buy kiwi
Look for fragrant, slightly soft kiwis at the supermarket as long as you plan to use them fairly quickly as kiwis continue to ripen after purchase. You can store your kiwifruit in the refrigerator to slow down ripening.
If you buy harder, less ripe kiwi, which will be more astringent and sour, you can ripen them faster by storing in a paper bag at room temperature.
The bottom line
We know kiwis are rich in serotonin and antioxidants, and both may improve sleep quality when eaten before bed. As someone who struggles with getting a good night sleep, and does not have any of the contraindications listed above, I will try to eat the recommended two kiwis each night before bed from this point on, and to incorporate it some during the day as well. Will keep you posted.
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