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 its own. I am rethinking Kiwi though as I read about its 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 country’s 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 is 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 vitamins 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 downside 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. Look for one that is firm but not too hard. It should yield slightly to gentle pressure when you squeeze it. Avoid kiwis that are too soft, as they may be overripe. The skin should be smooth and free from wrinkles or blemishes. The color should be a rich brown, and the fruit should feel heavy for its size.
How Do You Store Kiwi Fruit to Keep Them Fresh?
If you purchase harder, less ripe kiwis, which will be more astringent and sour, keep them at room temperature until they ripen. Once they are ripe, you can store them in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life. If you have ripe kiwis and want to slow down their ripening process, you can store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for a few more days. If you need to use your kiwi right away and they are not yet ripe, you can ripen them faster by storing them in a paper bag at room temperature.
How Do You Eat Kiwi Fruit?
The first step is to wash the Kiwi thoroughly under running water. You can eat the entire fruit, including the skin, which is edible and contains additional fiber and nutrients. However, some people prefer to peel the kiwi before eating it. To do this, cut off both ends and then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh from the skin. You can also slice kiwi and add it to fruit salads, and smoothies, or used it as a garnish for various dishes.
Can You Juice Kiwi Fruit?
Yes, you can juice Kiwi fruit! Kiwi juice is a delicious and refreshing beverage that highlights the natural sweetness and tanginess of the fruit. Here’s a simple method to make kiwi juice:
- Ripe kiwi fruit (as many as you prefer)
- Water or juice (optional, to adjust consistency and sweetness)
- Wash and peel the kiwi fruit. You can use a knife or a vegetable peeler to remove the fuzzy skin.
- Cut the kiwi into smaller pieces to make it easier to blend.
- Place the kiwi pieces into a blender or juicer. If you prefer a smoother juice, you can strain it later to remove any leftover seeds or pulp.
- Blend the kiwi until it turns into a smooth puree.
- If you find the juice too thick, you can add some water or fruit juice of your choice to achieve the desired consistency. You can also add a little honey or sugar if you prefer a sweeter taste.
- Pour the kiwi juice into a glass, and it’s ready to enjoy!
Kiwi juice is not only tasty on its own, but you can also get creative by combining it with other fruits or vegetables in smoothies or juice blends. Adding some apple, pineapple, or cucumber can be a great way to experiment with different flavors. If you have leftover juice, store it in the refrigerator and consume it within a day or two to maintain its freshness and taste.
So Does Kiwi Help You Sleep?
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’s 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 incorporate it some during the day as well. Will keep you posted.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about kiwi fruit.
Q: What is kiwi fruit, and where does it come from?
A: Kiwi fruit, also known simply as “kiwi,” is a small, oval-shaped fruit with a fuzzy brown exterior and bright green flesh inside. It originated in China, specifically in the Chang Kiang Valley, and was originally known as the Chinese gooseberry. It was later introduced to New Zealand, where it gained popularity and was renamed “kiwifruit” as a reference to New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi.
Q: Where is kiwi fruit grown and cultivated?
A: Kiwi fruit is cultivated in various countries, but the largest producers are New Zealand, Italy, and Chile. New Zealand, in particular, is well-known for its high-quality kiwi fruit and is often associated with the fruit due to the marketing of “Kiwi” as a brand name. The climate of these regions is suitable for kiwi cultivation, making them major exporters to global markets.
Q: What are the nutritional benefits of kiwi fruit?
A: Kiwi fruit is highly nutritious and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, and potassium. It also contains dietary fiber and antioxidants, which can help support the immune system, aid digestion, and contribute to overall health.
Q: What is the nutritional value of kiwi fruit?
A: A medium-sized kiwi (about 100 grams) typically contains around 61 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1.1 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, and 2.1 grams of dietary fiber. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, and potassium. Kiwi fruit also contains antioxidants and other essential nutrients that contribute to overall health.
Q: How do I know if a kiwi fruit is ripe?
A: You can determine if a kiwi fruit is ripe by gently pressing it with your fingers. If it gives slightly to gentle pressure, it is ripe and ready to eat. Avoid kiwis that are too soft or mushy, as they may be overripe. Additionally, a ripe kiwi should have a rich brown color and feel heavy for its size.
Q: Can I eat the skin of a kiwi fruit?
A: Yes, you can eat the skin of kiwi fruit, and it is entirely edible. The skin of a kiwi is thin and contains additional fiber and nutrients. However, some people may prefer to peel the kiwi before eating it due to personal preference or aesthetic reasons.
Q: What are the different varieties of kiwi fruit?
A: The most common variety of kiwi fruit is the green-fleshed kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa), which is the one you’ll typically find in grocery stores. However, there are other varieties as well, such as the gold kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis) with golden-yellow flesh and the baby kiwi (Actinidia arguta), also known as “kiwi berries” or “hardy kiwi,” which are smaller and have smooth, edible skin.
Q: How should I store kiwi fruit to keep them fresh?
A: To ripen kiwi fruit, you can leave them at room temperature until they are ready to eat. Once they are ripe, store them in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life. If you have ripe kiwis and want to slow down their ripening process, you can store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for a few more days.
Q: Can I freeze kiwi fruit?
A: Yes, you can freeze kiwi fruit for later use. To freeze the kiwi, first, peel and slice the fruit if desired, then place the slices in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag. Frozen kiwi can be added to smoothies, used as a garnish for desserts, or enjoyed as a refreshing frozen treat on its own.
Q: Can eating kiwi fruit cause allergies?
A: Yes, some people may experience allergies to kiwi fruit. Kiwi allergies are more common in individuals with allergies to other fruits like bananas, avocados, or latex. Symptoms of a kiwi allergy may include itching, swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips, or throat, and in severe cases, it could lead to anaphylaxis. If you suspect a kiwi allergy, it’s best to avoid kiwi altogether.
Q: Is kiwi fruit safe for pets, such as dogs or cats?
A: While kiwi fruit is generally safe for humans, it’s essential to be cautious with pets like dogs and cats. Kiwi fruit contains actinidain, an enzyme that can cause stomach upset in some animals. It’s best to avoid feeding kiwi fruit to pets, especially the skin and seeds, which can be harder to digest.
Little Known Facts About Kiwi Fruit
Here are some fun tidbits about Kiwi fruit. You’ll be a hit at your next cocktail party with this trivia!
- Kiwi fruit contains almost double the amount of vitamin C found in oranges and more potassium than bananas.
- Kiwi fruit is not only delicious but also visually appealing. When you cut a kiwi in half, the vibrant green flesh dotted with tiny black seeds creates a beautiful pattern, making it a delightful addition to any dish.
- Kiwi fruit is not a berry, as many people believe? In botanical terms, kiwi is classified as a “modified berry” because it develops from a single ovary like a true berry but has a tough outer skin.
- If you’re a gardening enthusiast, you might be delighted to know that kiwi fruit can be grown in your backyard! They are hardy, deciduous vines that thrive in temperate climates, making them a great addition to your home garden.
- New Zealand, known for its stunning landscapes and the adorable kiwi bird, is the world’s leading exporter of kiwi fruit. In fact, they export more kiwis than they can consume locally, which is why kiwi is widely known as a “New Zealand” fruit.
- Kiwi fruit has a unique enzyme called actinidin, which is a natural meat tenderizer. It’s a great addition to marinades for meats, as it helps break down proteins and enhances the flavors.
- If you’re looking for a natural way to tenderize tough fruits like pears or avocados, place them in a paper bag with a ripe kiwi. The ethylene gas produced by the kiwi will help speed up the ripening process.
- Kiwi fruit has a relatively low glycemic index (GI), which means it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. So, it can be a great option for people managing their blood sugar levels or those looking for a healthy snack.