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People are attracted to kiwi because of its brilliant green color and exotic taste. But, the real uniqueness of kiwi comes from its health benefits. Here are 14 health benefits, interesting facts and how to use this amazing powerfood.
1. Helps Your Digestion with Enzymes
Raw kiwi contains actinidain, a protein-dissolving enzyme that can help digest a meal much like the papain in papaya or bromelain in pineapple.
2. Helps Manage Blood Pressure
Kiwi’s high level of potassium helps keep our electrolytes in balance by counteracting the effects of sodium.
3. Protects from DNA Damage
4. Boosts Your Immunity
Kiwi’s high vitamin C content along with other antioxidant compounds has been proven to boost the immune system.
5. Smart Carb for Weight Loss
Kiwi’s low glycemic index and high fiber content means it will not create a strong insulin rush like other fruit with high sugar contents—so the body will not respond by storing fat.
6. Improves Digestive Health
Kiwis are a great source of fiber. This prevents constipation and other intestinal problems.
7. Helps Clean Out Toxins
The fuzzy fiber of kiwi helps bind and move toxins from your intestinal tract.
8. Helps Fight Heart Disease
Eating 2-3 kiwis a day has been shown to reduce the potential of blood clotting by 18 percent and reduce triglycerides by 15 percent. Many individuals take aspirin to reduce blood clotting, but this causes many side effects including inflammation and intestinal bleeding. Kiwi fruit has the same anti-clotting benefits with no side effects, just additional health benefits.
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9. Suitable for Diabetics
Kiwi is in the "low" category for glycemic index, meaning it does not raise your blood sugar quickly. It has a glycemic load of 4 which means it is safe for diabetics.
10. Protects Against Macular Degeneration and Other Eye Problems
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. A study on more than 110,000 men and women showed that eating three or more serving of fruit per day decreased macular degeneration by 36 percent. This is thought to be associated with the kiwi’s high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin—both of which are natural chemicals found in the human eye. Although both fruits and vegetables were studied, this same effect was not shown for vegetables.
11. Create Alkaline Balance
Kiwi is in the "most alkaline" category for fruits, meaning it has a rich supply of minerals to replace the excess of acidic foods most individuals consume. A few of the benefits of a properly acid/alkaline balanced body are: youthful skin, deeper sleep, abundant physical energy, fewer colds, less arthritis and reduced osteoporosis.
12. Great for the Skin
Kiwis are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant known to protect skin from degeneration.
13. Exotic Taste and Look for Food Variety
Kiwis look and taste great. Kids often love them because they are so different from most fruits.
For nutritional balance it is always good to eat a variety of foods. Each food has its own unique qualities and powers. The trouble with most people’s diet is that we eat such a limited number of foods. It increases our chances of not getting enough of important nutrients.
14. Naturally Organic
Kiwi fruit is on the list of foods that are generally safe from a lot of pesticide residues. For 2016 it came in with the top 10 safest foods. While it is always good to support organic when you can as a matter of principle, it’s also good to know whether there is a big danger if organic is not available or viable for you.
Interesting Facts About Kiwifruit
- Kiwi fruit was named after the New Zealand Kiwi bird—an unusual flightless bird—because they are both small, brown and furry.
- Not all kiwi fruit is fuzzy! The most popular species of kiwifruit is appropriately called fuzzy kiwifruit, but there is also golden kiwi with a smooth bronze skin. The golden kiwi is actually sweeter and more aromatic in flavor
- Although kiwis have been native to China for centuries, practically no one in North America knew what they were 60 years ago. They were first introduced to the U.S. in 1962. They caught on fast!
- Although kiwifruit can grow in any temperate climate, most of the world’s kiwi are grown in Italy, New Zealand and Chile.
- Yes, you can eat the fuzz if you want.
How to Use:
- If a kiwi does not yield a bit to finger pressure, it can be ripened by storing it at room temperature away from the sun.
- This ripening can be hastened by putting it in a paper bag with a banana, apple or pear.
- Once a kiwi fruit is ripe, keep away from other fruit (even in the refrigerator) since the kiwi is very sensitive to the ethylene gas given off by those other fruits and it will over ripen.
- The actinidain in raw kiwi makes them unsuitable for desserts and other dishes that are not eaten right away because it can make the dish too mushy or stop it from setting. This applies to proteins but also to other fruits.
Kiwifruit contain a measurable amount of oxalates, a naturally occurring substance in many plants and animals. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. People with kidney or gallbladder problems may therefore want to avoid eating kiwi. There is a lot of controversy about the amounts needed to be significant, particularly from plants.
Kiwis also contain enzyme substances associated with the latex-fruit allergy syndrome. If you have a latex allergy, you may be allergic to kiwi also. Since ripening the fruit with ethylene gas increases these substances, organic kiwi not treated with gas will have fewer allergy-causing compounds. Cooking also deactivates the enzymes.
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Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
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"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
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